Editors' Blog

Editorsblog: Canteen referendum voided

Well team, we have to vote all over again.
What’s the problem? See this post.
The short story: The referendum question listed the three years of the levy in question as this year, next year and the year after, only it’s impossible to collect a levy this year, because a lot of us have already paid our fees, and it’s just too darn late to add a levy. That means the levy question becomes void, because it means the KSU is asking about something impossible.
Dave Etherington, as chair of the KSU, is the one who hears constitutional challenges. He heard the challenge (passed on to him by a union exec), and ruled that the question needed to be asked over. He made the right call. The question doesn’t make sense. It isn’t just a typo — it changes the meaning of the question. I don’t think I was the only person at King’s who thought the idea actually was to collect a levy this semester. And it was, at one point, but since the negotiations with the admin took so long last semester, there was no referendum in November.
Important to note: This isn’t Etherington’s fault. The question council approved for the referendum needed to be changed. And no one caught it. If he’d let this slide, the union would have contradicted its own governing documents. Etherington is certainly not one to let things slide.
Council has the ability to overturn a ruling of the chair, by a 3/4 majority. Noah White, day student rep, brought a motion to challenge the ruling on Sunday, minutes after Dave announced his ruling. In a close vote (which had the record-breaking four journalists in the room up on their feet), council upheld the chair’s ruling.
So now we vote again on a new question. Within Etherington’s ruling, he said this is part of the same referendum (which separates the referendum and the question which makes no sense to me because isn’t a referendum a question? But I’m not a constitutional expert), council didn’t need to approve a new question, just correct the old one. Leaving themselves open to another constitutional challenge? I doubt it. But we’ll see.
Even though it’s the same referendum period, we have to do the pro/con talks again. That’ll be tomorrow night in the Wardroom. I motion we just reread the minutes from the last one that Phoebe Mannell took (they were good notes).
What’s different about the process this time? Nothing. Vote Wednesday and Thursday and Friday. The question will have corrected dates. And, can I vote for no material at the voting station and no discussion of the subject by election committee members? Seems like common sense. Send the kiddies to a website to read up on their own.
Questions? Comments?

By David J. Shuman

David is the current editor-in-chief of The Watch and writes on student issues and events. Find him on Twitter: @DavidJShuman

4 replies on “Editorsblog: Canteen referendum voided”

To clarify, I announced a new referendum, legitimized by the existing mandate given by council to the general membership to be the final say on this question.

Good article! Hope to see you on Tuesday evening.
Quick correction, though: voting will happen on Thursday and Friday this time (not Wednesday and Thursday), to accommodate for time needed to advertise the vote.

The voting will take place on Thursday January 19th and Friday January 20th. Please make proper corrections as to avoide confusion. It is listed in the TWAK, KSU website and the Facebook event, as well as all around the school.
As for maaterials at the voting booth, those were requested by someone at the discussion last week and will remain at the table again following what is done at elections where the candidates have their plattforms available.
In regards to the committee speaking on behalf of the Yes vote, they are simply the most informed people on the subject, don’t you want everyone to make informed decisions? The call to have people speak for and against the referendum several times with no responses.

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