UMSU continues to collect fees for paid-off loan

For the past 12 years, the University of Manitoba Students’ Union (UMSU) has been annually collecting a student fee to pay for space in the nursing building (Helen Glass Centre).

The “Annex Fee,” as it is called, collects $5.50 per undergraduate student per semester.
As of Jan. 1, 2010 UMSU finished paying off the loan for the UMSU Annex. However, this past November UMSU approved a motion to continue collecting the UMSU Annex Fee, along with amalgamating the fees collected for the various UMSU capital funds.

The UMSU Capital Fund now collects a single $9 fee per undergraduate student per semester, by combining the UMSU Capital Fee, the Capital Sinking Fee and the UMSU Annex (nursing building) Fee.

Therefore, student fees at the Fort Garry Campus will not increase at all, while students at the Bannatyne Campus will see a $5 decrease, as they have been paying $11.50 per semester in fees. Two percent of the annual levy revenue of the UMSU Capital Fund will go to Bannatyne students, titled the “Joe Doupe Fund.”

According to Sid Rashid, UMSU president, when University Centre was constructed in 1970, UMSU paid for 34.5 per cent of the building cost, and received that same percentage in building space. However, since the fifth floor was built in 1971 and other expansions were made, UMSU now has only 18 per cent of building space.

The UMSU Capital Fund has existed since the time of University Centre’s construction date, but the Annex Fee was adopted in 1998 to pay for student-owned space in Helen Glass.

Rashid said the UMSU Capital Fund is to be used to pay for capital costs in UMSU space, such as purchasing or repairing fixed assets in UMSU space, along with the long-term goal to acquire more student-owned space on the Fort Garry, Bannatyne and inner city campuses.

Rashid said, “The need for student-owned-and-operated space is essential for any students’ union, and has been a goal of UMSU for many years.”

He continued, “In order to provide these [services, support and cost-saving measures], it is often essential to have our own physical space and presence. The more space we acquire, the more we can do, create and provide for students.”

According to John Danakas, public affairs director at the University of Manitoba, UMSU student-owned spaces have been in Helen Glass since the construction of the building for the Pan Am Games.

“The lower level of Helen Glass is, for the most part, student-owned in that many student groups have their offices there.”

Former ICS administration officer and program coordinator assistant and current campus buddy and volunteer English practice program volunteer, I.B.K. Akin-Agunbiade, said, “Being very involved in student groups on campus, I realize how fortunate and necessary it is to have student and student group space on campus.”

Akin-Agunbiade said that being able to use UMSU Council Chambers or the Student Resource Center to hold events has served him well in the past.

“I feel like UMSU can continue to charge to get student-owned spaces. I would just really, really appreciate to see the results of their actions by seeing more spaces becoming available to student groups.”

Rashid said, “Looking forward, it will allow students in the future to have the resources to acquire student-owned space on campus, with the possibility of one day acquiring our own student union building.”