Obviously, I’m biased in the upcoming SFU Graduate Student Society elections regarding the referendum question that asks whether grad students want to continue funding the Peak, but I think anyone has to consider the following referendum phrasing to be misleading and biased against continued support:
Do you agree that the Society discontinue collecting the special membership fee for the Peak Publication Society, effective Fall 2010, resulting in a reduction of $4.90 per full-time student and $2.45 per part-time student per term in the Graduate Student Society Activity fee?
Notice the negative phrasing, i.e. to support the Peak you have to vote “No,” and the unnecessary inclusion of the cost per term in the question.
So, I submitted the following grievance to the GSS election committee, except their provided email address firstname.lastname@example.org is a dead link and instead I had to type in the proper email email@example.com. I advise you to do the same if you’re an SFU graduate student and care about honest and fair elections. Feel free to copy my letter verbatim or modify it as you see fit:
Graduate Student Society Election Committee,
I would like to submit a grievance with the wording of referendum question 3:
"3.Do you agree that the Society discontinue collecting the special membership fee for the Peak Publication Society, effective Fall 2010, resulting in a reduction of $4.90 per full-time student and $2.45 per part-time student per term in the Graduate Student Society Activity fee?"
I feel it is dishonest and unfair to phrase the question in the negative and biases the referendum against continued support of the Peak. I further feel that the discussion of the cost per term is unnecessary and further meant to bias respondents against the Peak. Can the election committee explain the rationale behind this phrasing? Further, will the committee rephrase the question in a more neutral stance such as:
"Do you support the continuation of the Society collecting the special membership fee from every graduate student for the Peak Publication Society beyond Fall 2010?"
Treasurer, Physics Graduate Caucus
MSc. Physics Student at SFU
I got a reply from the GSS Election Committee, and the wording of referenda fall under the control of the GSS President and Council. Email you concerns to Josh Newman at firstname.lastname@example.org, also email your councillor.