In regards to last week’s article on Collective funding, I wanted to add a few more points that were not addressed, as well as state my opinion on the matter, being a member of the current Women’s Collective.
To begin, from what I’ve seen, BUSU has made various rationales as to why they want to cut the Women’s Collective funding. Originally it was to move money into club funding, but as we see here this is not happening. Now it is to create a new collective. It has also been because they are tight on money, but I believe that the clubs and collectives are where most students are actively involved, compared to many other areas where BUSU’s funding goes, so funding should not need to be cut from one of these collectives in order to be added to any club or other collective’s funding. I personally think that BUSU can come up with $2,000 for an Aboriginal Collective without cutting $3,000 from the Women’s Collective.
In regards to the reasoning being that we rarely spend over $2000, I do not believe that this is true. The Women’s Collective has invested a lot in an extensive library (all of which was lost in the fire), speakers, and events in past years. Even if the Women’s Collective has rarely spent the full budget, BUSU did not seem to acknowledge that we created a budget for $5,000 this year, that the new Collective has excellent ideas for the future of the Women’s Collective, and that we are building up from the bottom, since all of our belongings were lost in the fire last year. We have some great plans for events and services – such as free pregnancy tests, textbooks for Women and Gender Studies courses for students who can’t afford them to borrow, free tampons and pads, DivaCups for sale for sustainable menstruation, self-defence classes, information on resources for women in Brandon, fun nights, et cetera – and it’s only a matter of getting everything funded and started, and then future Women’s Collectives can simply carry on the work we began and build on it. For BUSU to cut funding during a year where a full $5,000 budget was created, saying it is because the Women’s Collective never spends all of its money, just does not make sense.
As far as fundraising goes, I am very much opposed to this. Clubs fundraise because they are serving their own interests. I am in no way opposed to clubs, but collectives have a different purpose. Collectives exist to address the needs of a demographic. We are a Collective, which means we address issues and supply services for women on campus that we deem to be a necessity for the university to have. Our actions do not serve our own interests, but rather the needs of all female students. To fundraise would take away time and energy that could be spent on addressing these issues related to women. And trust me, planning services, events and speakers takes up a lot of time.
I’d also like to say that I do not believe that the Women’s Collective is more ‘important’ than the LGBTTQ* Collective or the Aboriginal Collective and that this is why we need more money than they do – rather, we serve a higher number of students and so need more funding for more students. Also, the Women’s Collective’s members include Aboriginal women and LGBT women as well, in addition to all other women of different ethnicities, sexualities and class. We want to start to address issues that affect them in regards to their gender, and the other two collectives can address issues that affect them more because of their ethnicity or sexuality. I do not want to take money away from either collective, instead I believe BUSU can find the $2,000 that is proposed for the Aboriginal Collective from somewhere else in the budget, and leave the $5,000 with the Women’s Collective.
Treasurer/Secretary of BU Women’s Collective
Republished from The Quill print edition, Volume 103, Issue 14, December 4, 2012.