Students have spoken

By Вen Li

Students said it loud and clear: no, no, and no.

Voters decided emphatically against both the Health and Dental Plan and Career Services levy increases in the Students’ Union General Election.

"I was surprised by the result," said SU Vice-President Operations and Finance Natasha Dhillon. "A lot of costs are being incurred on the health and dental plans right now, and we thought that the services weren’t being offered at the level that was necessary."

The $12.50 health and $2 dental fee increases were intended to offset increasing costs to the SU to provide the service to full-time students who have not opted out. Without the fee increase, some health benefits may be reduced or eliminated, according to Dhillon.

"There was a whole campaign run for Health and Dental," said Dhillon. "I don’t think providing more information or increasing advertising would have helped. I honestly think it’s too bad that students didn’t vote in favor of an increase, especially when they can opt out."

Students cannot opt out of the Career Services levy increase and voted against it.

"I think that because the vote was overwhelmingly against, it’s quite clear," said Operations and Finance Commissioner Mark Counsell. "Students have spoken. I may be involved in the review board appeal. I may sign my name to that."

Counsell brought the levy before the Students Legislative Council earlier this year to increase funding for Career Services to improve service and ease their relocation. The levy would have been raised to $12 from $2 per semester per full time student and $6 from $1 per part time student per semester with the elimination of the levy in 2004.

"I don’t have a strong reaction one way or the other, it was a student who proposed it," said Career Services Director Craig Fortner. "From a Career Services point of view, the current levy will continue and we’ll use the current resources to provide service to students and employers."

Career Services will continue to receive $75,000 per year through existing levies collected by the SU. According to Fortner, had the levy passed it would have provided a short term boost to marketing, investments and promotions.

"We could have done more things faster if the levy had passed," said Fortner. "Overall, I think it was positive and the referendum gave a greater profile to Career Services. I think that’s good for everybody in terms of exposure."

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