“No” vote will affect services, programs, hours


Students will not have access to health professionals at the Student Health Services(SHS) office on evenings or weekends, starting in September.

The office already knows it will have to cut these hours as a result of the “No” vote on a proposed health fee increase in the MSU referendum held this month.

Julie Fairservice, clinic director, says she is “very disappointed” that the student body did not approve the increase. “We will have cuts (to services and hours) and we will have to look at new sources for generating revenue.”

Currently, revenue comes from the $36 fee collected from each full-time student and from ministry of health medical billings. McMaster students were asked to approve an $8 increase – the first such increase in 11 years.

The increase is needed to assure that current services are maintained and to meet the costs of relocating to the University Centre. Student health services will be responsible for capital costs totalling $850,000 and annual costs of $100,000, payable to the MSU.

Fairservice is concerned that the majority of those voting may not have made an informed decision. “The MSU would not allow us to have a preamble on the ballot that would explain what the increase was and why it was needed.” Despite the fact that recent referenda had set a precedent by including such information statements, Fairservice says the MSU printed the ballots containing only the question.

Student voters also refused to endorse an increase in the annual fee for use of the facilities and services of the Department of Athletics & Recreation. The department was proposing an increase of $10, bringing the fee to $85.50 per full-time student.

Director Therese Quigley says she is “puzzled” by the vote. “Seventy per cent of the student body use the facility. (The vote) is not consistent with what students are asking for, which is an increase in programs.”

She says the result will be taken to the President's Committee on Athletics & Recreation, which meets at the end of the month. “There will be an impact on services.” Everything from programming to hours to increasing user fees will have to be considered, she says.

Numbers obtained from Sonia Gupta, the MSU chief returning officer, indicate that of the 10 poll locations, only the one in the Ivor Wynne Centre registered an affirmative result for both referendum questions.

The final results are: on the question of a health services fee increase – 1,279 Yes, 1,552 No; on the question of a Department of Athletics & Recreation fee increase – 1,272 Yes, 1,680 No.