This election season, a whopping six societies—including the student union itself—are
putting forth referenda to try to raise the amount of money they get from students. Here
is what you need to know about each question, the society, and what they plan to do with
Note: each of the official questions includes “Whereas…” statements, which introduce
the society’s reasoning for putting forth a referendum, preceding the actual question.
In the interest of conciseness (one question includes six “whereases”) and relevant
information, those clauses have been left out. The explanations below the question have
attempted to include all the omitted information, in context.
Click here to find the full statements.
The Dalhousie Student Union (DSU)
Do you support a Dalhousie Student Union membership fee increase of $4 per semester?
What is the DSU?
The DSU is Dal’s student union, theoretically encompassing all its campuses. The union
owns the Student Union Building and funds all student societies, lobbies at all levels of
government for student interests and plans campus events like O-Week. It has been a
legally incorporated body since 1966.
The $4 levy increase will largely go toward fixing the shortfall in this year’s
budget. The DSU switched food services in the SUB this year and took on all start-up
costs in the process, leading to an anticipated $185,000 deficit. VP (finance and
operations) Edgar Burns said at the Feb. 20 council meeting that if the increase does not
pass, the union will need to find other ways to cover the imbalance, such as selling
The last successful levy increase for the DSU was in 1993. VP (internal) Aaron
Wolfe said at the March 13 referendum presentation that rising costs and inflation over
those 20 years are another factor in the need for more money.
The Dalhousie Gazette Publishing Society
Do you support a fee increase of $1.25 per semester per full-time student and part-time
student for the Dalhousie Gazette Publishing Society?
What is the Gazette?
The Gazette is Dalhousie’s campus newspaper and online publication. Currently, full-
time students pay a $5 levy per year and part-time students pay $3.50. The Gazette is
mandated to provide a student voice on campus, to provide training for young journalists,
and to provide a forum for ideas and debate.
This levy increase, if passed, will go toward improving the Gazette’s website and
online coverage, as well as extending the number of print issues each year. The society is
asking for a levy increase in part because of low advertising revenues, and in part to be able to grow its online presence. The Gazette last received a levy increase in 2003-2004.
Nova Scotia Public Interest Research Group (NSPIRG)
Do you support a fee increase of $1 per semester per full-time student and a $.50 per
semester per part-time student for the Nova Scotia Public Interest Research Group?
What is NSPIRG?
NSPIRG undertakes research and activism concerning environmental and social justice
issues. The non-partisan group is responsible for helping to start up projects such as the
Loaded Ladle, which are now standing on their own. The society functions primarily to
provide support and funding for social justice causes.
At the March 13 referendum presentations, board member Geoff Kershaw said
NSPIRG is looking for a levy increase in order to keep up with inflation, maintain their
current space and expand into new projects. The last time NSPIRG campaigned for a
levy increase was 2011-2012, and it fell by a close vote of 52.7 per cent against the
proposed $1 per year increase. Their last successful levy increase was in 1992.
CKDU FM Society
Do you support a fee increase of $1 per semester per full-time student and $.50 per
semester per part-time student for the CKDU FM 88.1 Society?
What is CKDU?
CKDU is Dal’s campus radio station with a mandate to play alternative music and spoken
word content. It is Halifax’s only alternative station and prioritizes local and third-
language music and spoken word. CKDU’s levy currently sits at $9 per year for full-time
students and 2$ per year for part-time students.
The last time CKDU received a levy was 1985. Production coordinator Jordan
Roberts says the society needs an increase to cover for the inflation in production costs
As with most levy campaigns this year, the society also wants to be able to
expand their programs. Roberts says they are hoping to be able to pay student freelancers
again and to offer more summer positions.
The Loaded Ladle Food Co-op
Do you support a fee increase of $2 per semester for full and part-time students for the
Loaded Ladle Food Coop?
What is the Loaded Ladle?
The Loaded Ladle is a two-year-old student-run food service provider on Dal campus.
Their current levy is $2 per year for full-time students and $1 per part-time student. The
group uses their levy to provide locally sourced meals in the SUB every Tuesday and
Wednesday free of charge.
The Ladle has not received a levy increase since its initial ratification in 2010-
2011. In 2011-2012 the Loaded Ladle needed to be re-ratified after dealing with health
permit and insurance issues, but has been running successfully this year.
This levy increase, if passed, will go toward expanding the Ladle’s programs.
On March 13 Ladle representative Holly Lobsinger said the society is looking to create
a CSA box program, which would deliver local food to students, and continue to
collaborate with other student societies.
Faculty-Specific Referendum Questions
Dalhousie Nursing Students Society (DUNS)
Do you support a fee increase of $1 per semester per part-time student for the Dalhousie
Undergraduate Nursing Society?
What is DUNS?
Only nursing students pay the DUNS levy. The academic society uses its levy to put on
events for those students and to cover the operating costs of the society.
DUNS received a levy increase of $10 per year in 2011-2012, and its total annual
levy is now at $40. This levy would only be paid by part-time students.