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Midnight Kitchen and QPIRG McGill Need Your Help!: Vote YES for QPIRG

What is QPIRG?
The Quebec Public Interest Research Group (QPIRG) at McGill is an independent, student run and consensus based non-profit organization. QPIRG’s mandate is to bridge students and the university campus with the wider Montreal community through the social and environmental issues they have in common. They offer a wide range of services – including research opportunities, meeting spaces, a library, funding and training. Since QPIRG was founded in 1989, the organization has always been at the forefront of social change; for example, QPIRG brought recycling, fair trade coffee and the safe space campaign to McGill. They are one of the only groups on campus to bring students and Montreal community members together towards common goals, whether to campaign for the rights of migrant workers, empower young women to respond to gender based violence, organize a grassroots newspaper or advocate for more green space in the Milton-Parc neighborhood. QPIRG valued a diversity of opinions, building a more democratic campus, and are opposed to all forms of discrimination on the basis of class, religion, gender, race, sexual orientation, and dis/ability.

QPIRG’s Plight
QPIRG is running a referendum to continue to exist and to collect student fees. In addition, QPIRG’s question asks for their fee to become “non-optoutable” on the Minerva online system. When the McGill administration unilaterally imposed the online system in 2007, all independent student groups on campus (including the Midnight Kitchen!) suffered from uninformed, blanket opt-outs and unregulated opt-out campaigns. QPIRG’s goal is to implement an open and accessible in-person refund system at QPIRG offices and at a location on lower field campus, similar to the one they operated successfully for 19 years. QPIRG is striving to make the refund process informed, accessible and under student control, and in so doing to foster a more open and democratic campus environment.

The question reads as follows:
Do you support QPIRG continuing as a recognized student activity supported by a fee of $3.75 per semester for undergraduate students, which is not opt-outable on the Minerva online opt-out system but is instead fully refundable directly through QPIRG, with the understanding that a majority “no” vote will result in the termination of all undergraduate fee-levy funding to QPIRG?

Why does Midnight Kitchen endorse QPIRG?
This referendum marks a critical moment for QPIRG’s history and continuing existence. The Midnight Kitchen officially stands in solidarity with QPIRG by publically endorsing their question. We do this for many reasons. At Midnight Kitchen’s inception in the early 2000s, QPIRG provided resources, space, people and monetary support to get us first on our feet. QPIRG continues to provide organizational, educational and political support to Midnight Ktichen (and us to them!) and as a result, our strength and sustenance are directly related to the survival of QPIRG. In other words, Midnight Kitchen exists in large part because of QPIRG! While Midnight Kitchen and QPIRG carry out our politics in different ways, we share a mandate that promotes social and environmental justice. In fact, much of the programming and working groups that come out of QPIRG support our volunteers and students in understanding and participating in Midnight Kitchen’s work. If you love and support Midnight Kitchen, vote YES for QPIRG!!!

Who? How? When? Where?
The polling Period for referendum questions runs from Friday, November 4th to Thursday, November 10th, 2012. You can vote online at http://ovs.ssmu.mcgill.ca or http://www.vote.electionsmcgill.ca. Votes can be cast in person at polling stations across campus. Any undergraduate on the downtown campus is eligible to vote!

Campaigning: YES Committee
If you are an undergraduate student and would like to be part of – or find out more about – the YES Committee, email qpirg.yes@gmail.com!!!!

With love,
The Midnight Kitchen Collective

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