Eli Ridder | Report
IGNITE on Friday delivered approximately 5,000 postcards signed by students standing against the optional student fees coming into play this fall, the student union said on social media — before removing their original post.
President Monica Khosla was pictured holding a box of postcards addressed to Premier Doug Ford in front of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, before the post was taken down and a new one was posted without Khosla.
Khosla is running for re-election against current Board of Directors member Margarita Bader with voting that starts on Monday.
The post said the postcards were delivered on Friday, however, at a Board of Directors meeting on Feb. 13, IGNITE Executive Director Ercole Perrone said they had already been delivered to security guards at Queen’s Park.
The Students Choice Initiative announced by the Ontario government earlier this year will allow students to choose what services and certain aspects of campus life remain funded, presenting what many see as a financial threat to the existence of student unions, clubs and campus publications across the province.
The postcards had students complete a sentence on the card that read “the student choice initiative risks my”. Many students wrote about how services, clubs and events they use and enjoy would be at a serious risk.
University of Guelph-Humber and Humber College students pay a fee to IGNITE that typically costs around $75 to fund a budget of approximately $10 million.
Over 50 per cent of the student union’s budget goes back into health and dental services, which will not be part of the optional fees as the services are “essential”, according to Ontario government officials.
There is so much uncertainty around how optional student fees will be carried out that the Board of Directors took the unprecedented step to essentially push back the fiscal budget approval process back to later in the year.
Student Amelia Savoie, who ran for an IGNITE position in 2018, commented on the original post, questioning whether the student union should be featuring one presidential candidate over the other in the midst of an election.
“Although this is a great initiative, I am concerned that you have a current presidential candidate on IGNITE social media platforms,” Savoie wrote, adding that “this is unfair to those running against the current president and actually breaks IGNITE elections policy.”
The policy Savoie is referring to is a rule where a current elected IGNITE official or staff member is not allowed to represent or work for the student union during an election period if they are running.
Link: IGNITE Elections Policy
A candidate can only receive exemption from this rule if it is granted by an elections administration team. The Avro Post has reached out to IGNITE for comment and to clarify that Khosla has been approved for exemption and, if so, why.
Images from IGNITE.