I have been listening on the blogosphere as UMSU members vent their confusion and frustration about the mystery $5 UMSU fee.
The mystery fee is actually a $5 increase to UMSU fees that was passed by UMSU Council in March. The increase is a reflection of the increased cost of event insurance that UMSU has to pay for all student groups on campus. Insurance rates have skyrocketed since 2001 yet UMSU fees had remained the same. The choice that Council had to make was between having insurance and increase UMSU fees by $5 or no students events could occur that had alcohol served. Council debated this at length and every other alternative was explored. There was no other way that would not have hurt other UMSU services or would not have resulted in cuts to UMSU events. As such, Council tried to find other ways, took as long as we could to decide to increase fees, and because the decision was made at the end of last regular session the fee increase was put into the University registration fee system at the last minute resulting in the confusion that exists now.
In short, the $5 was passed by Council and it is entirely going to help cover the increased costs of insurance for student events.
Lastly, for the record I voted in favour of this increase after consulting my College Student Association and hearing there was very strong support for the continuation of student events on campus.