To get good insightful answers, how the question is framed matters. I missed an opportunity on Thursday
I have been informed that John Popham, MSU President, is moving a motion to give McMaster University the sum of $500,000. There has been no committee to recommend this handover of money, no long term planning or anything. It is happening in 16 days. There will be no consultation hearings at any committee and there will be no town hall for students to speak about this. There will be no referendum either. For someone who claimed a new found commitment to democracy, by calling a non-binding “referendum” on OUSA membership, this is no surprise. The MSU President will not be holding General Assembly until the test ban or exam period intentionally preventing students from attending, so this will not be an opportunity for students to have a say on this.
Why is this being done? Simple, Popham has done next to nothing all year. He wants tons of awards of high honour. Giving the University $500,000 buys him a legacy and a few awards. Many student politicians seem to do this, spend student money on legacy projects they get to brag about doing, when actually not doing much.
A lot of this money is going to go into
Creation of the “MSU Plaza” in the Ronald V. Joyce Stadium:
Ronald V. Joyce Stadium will be a great bridge to the community and an outstanding venue for outdoor sports. It will offer something for everyone from university athletes, to high school students in city and regional competitions, and eager fans ready to sit back and enjoy the game.
The outdoor plaza at the north end of the stadium, across from Les Prince Hall, will be a multifunctional space. “Hardscaped” with coloured asphalt, the plaza will be lined and equipped for recreational basketball. It will also be a play area for children attending sports fitness camps. On game days, the plaza will be the spot for end zone hospitality tents. Marauder games build campus memories that last a lifetime and this space will be part of those happy times.
Of course, students will not be allowed into this space during the summer days because of the day camp. The hospitality tents will be for VIPs, meaning that students will never be able to see a game from there. To top that, there is the parking garage under the stadium that students are paying a large part of and will never be allowed to use.
If the MSU wants to give the University $500,000 of student money, they should at least get something in return. How about a commitment to not make students pay for more underground parking they will never get to use?
$500,000 in sudden, unplanned spending of student money should go to a student referendum. There should be a long student consultation. There is a lot that $500,000 could do. How about supporting student clubs? Creating more student space? Maybe having a floor in the new student services building? There is a lot that it can do, more than buying Popham a legacy.