A King’s University College referendum to fund the Student Refugee Program through a $5 student fee passed with 85 per cent student approval.
The King’s University College Students' Council put forward the motion to fund the SRP, a program run through the World University Service of Canada.
The KUCSC participated as a WUSC local committee for the first time in the 2018-19 academic year and requires student support to continue running the SRP in following years.
The referendum received 519 student votes out of a total of 638 during King’s voting days on Feb. 4 and Feb. 5, passing the threshold for minimum number of voters by 18 votes.
“It feels absolutely great that it’s legally binding,” said Claire Linley, KUCSC vice-president of student affairs. “It means that the students are also excited and passionate about it.”
Linley also partially credited the referendum’s success to the significant efforts on part of the KUCSC to educate students about the program and the referendum during the elections period.
She was glad their efforts paid off, as she emphasized the significance of the SRP.
“It provides an opportunity to an individual that has experienced a great amount of suffering that they otherwise wouldn’t have been able to access without programs such as WUSC,” said Linley.
She explained the fee will cover the refugee's everyday living expenses, including clothing, textbooks, medical expenses and any other expenses that might come up over the course of their studies at Western.
More significantly, Linley highlighted the fee may be part of students’ ancillary fees next year, considering the provincial government’s recent changes to the educational framework.
“It's incredibly important that people choose to opt into the fee,” she emphasized.