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Updated on Sunday, July 20

#19499

OMG:
I'm going to try and do a PSA about the WPIRG fee, maybe the mods will let it go through.

WPIRG is a separate corporation from Feds. Similar to Feds, every undergrad student pays a fee to them, with two differences: 1. WPIRG fee is only about $5. 2. Students can get a refund on this fee.

The WPIRG fee is different than say, the UPASS, because it isn't a Feds administered fee. For the UPASS, your fee goes from you, to the university, to Feds, then to paying the UPASS contract. Feds buys it with your money. Hence, Feds-administered fee (Feds doesn't keep ANY of this money, btw).

WPIRG fee goes from you, to UW, then directly to WPIRG. Nowhere is Feds involved. So why do people talk about a Feds referendum involving the WPIRG fee? Well, because it is really easy for Feds to hold a referendum, more so than WPIRG (Feds has yearly elections will similar setup). But a Feds referendum (heck, any kind of referendum) would only act as a recommendation to UW's Board of Governors (they control all student fees). UW's Board would do exactly what the result is of the referendum (believe it or not, they do listen to student opinion about student fees--especially since this fee doesn't affect them).

If you want a referendum on this subject, there are three realistic ways it can happen via Feds:
1. Make a motion at a Feds GM (next one in October). This was brought up last year, and failed.
2. Get a requisition of signatures of 10% of the student population (lots of work)
3. Convince Feds Student Council to call one (most likely option)
There are other ways to call one (Feds Board or Feds President can), but they won't happen.

And that is what you need to know about the way the WPIRG is administered.

37 comments

  1. Here is not to get a refund of your WPIRG fee for undergraduate students:

    "A refundable fee assessed to all full-time on-campus students, payable at the term due date, to support environmental and social research. Refunds may be requested in person by visiting the WPIRG office within three weeks of the start of lectures for each term."

    I don't think it's appropriate to require students to visit the office in person to receive their refund. There are a whole host of issues with this (especially since they no longer have an office in the SLC).

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    1. If you have a problem with that, talk to Feds. They're the ones that kicked WPIRG out of the SLC.

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    2. 1.a: Finally something smart that Feds has done!

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    3. I feel like 1 had a problem with having to go to the office, even when it was in the SLC.

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    4. 1c As they should. What a ridiculous concept having to get your fee refunded. The only reason people who are pro-WPIRG want to keep it this way is because they know a large portion of the revenue comes from the naïveté of students who would otherwise never fund such an organization.

      WPIRG is a parasite preying on students to fuel their own warped vision of what society should be. No thanks, I like my markets and choices free, not under the control of Orwellian politically correct overlords.

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    5. D. Let's form a club.

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    6. d, the only way things are set up this way now, is because students have, on multiple occasions over the years, voted in favour of this system.

      Hopefully there'll be a referendum soon. If you don't want your fee auto-collected anymore, then vote "no."

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  2. What is the WPIRG fee even used for?

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    1. nobody knows really

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    2. Propping up communist regimes. lol no jk. That's only the Conservatives when MP Braid taught them how to steal money from students to give to the federal Conservatives.

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    3. 2b f*** you, Peter Braid is a great guy. He's singlehandedly done more for charitable giving in Canada than you'll probably do in your entire lifetime.

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    4. If you really want to know, go to their website and check their financial statements

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    5. 2c, Funny how he works for a government which is cracking down on charities that don't agree with their agenda. Wonderful things his party is doing for charities across Canada

      http://www.thestar.com/opinion/editorials/2014/07/21/charity_chill_raises_alarm.html

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    6. 2e as if there's anything credible about an article from the Toronto Star.

      This government has brought us economic stability despite the worst recession in a century. Next year, they'll balance the budget, and deliver us a smaller government (proportionally) than Washington for the first time in more than half a century.

      Here's hoping they get re-elected next October, instead of "I am angry at everything" Mulcair, or "let's smoke up brah" Trudeau.

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    7. you're delusional

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    8. Harper Conservatives are just losers banding together because they couldn't make it in the real world and formed their own union.

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    9. 2g, f is not delusional, he/she is just stating the facts.

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    10. @2i the thing with facts is that they can be backed up with proof. please cite where one can find this.

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    11. Harper's Conservatives like to take credit for the economy surviving through the recession without things like bank failures, but can they really take credit for that? Our strongly regulated banking system is the product of decades of evolution, spanning governments both Liberal and PC. It is unfair for them to take credit for a system that they had little part in building.

      On the other hand, Canada's anemic job numbers post-recession can't even match the US's job growth and recovery. The TSX cannot match the Dow, and Canada would be continuously dipping in and out of recession if it wasn't for the expansion of the oil fields in Alberta. Are the Conservatives going to take credit for digging up some oil -- all while failing both domestically and internationally to build a single pipeline to further their own goals?

      The fact is: anyone could have given the order to dig up more oil. It's like handing them economic growth on a silver platter. But what about the other problems that don't have easy solutions? What about the poor growth in Ontario and the miserable economy of Atlantic Canada? Or the international challenge of actually exporting the oil you dug up? Harper's government hasn't really addressed any of those issues, and in fact has taken steps backward on many of them.

      The truth is that the merits of the Conservative government are few. They take the path of least resistance: dig up oil, build more prisons, make personal attacks on the opposition -- all while failing to implement all the parts of their agenda they can't force through parliament.

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    12. Poor growth in Ontario is the Ontario Liberal's fault. Conservatives are delivering a balanced budget for the first time in a long time.

      Next they will pay down the federal debt, lower personal income taxes, and possibly cut consumption tax again. We'll be living in a low-tax, small-government economy with plenty of freedom for growth.

      True, like any government they'll have to be changed at some point, but hopefully by that point not even Trudeau will be able to screw things up.

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    13. Conservatives only like non-profits who do their bidding. If you speak out against them they audit you.

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  3. OP here: I want to add a couple more things:

    1. A successful referendum followed by approval by the UW Board would not mean the WPIRG membership fee would be eliminated. Rather, it means you would not automatically pay the fee with your tuition. You could still pay the membership fee if you wish (UW can't control the membership fee of an independent corporation).

    2. I tried not to talk about WPIRG itself, but rather the way the fee exists. But since 2 is asking, I'll link to their most recent audited financial statement http://wpirg.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/FY2012-2013.pdf . As you can see, the bulk of their expenses go to salaries and wages, followed by projects, networking, and programming.

    3. Getting a refund on the fee will be different come Fall. I'm not sure what they intend to do: maybe set up a refund booth for a couple days on campus in September; maybe mail refunds; who knows? But they *must* provide a reasonable way to give reimbursements to students (if they don't, I expect UW Board to revoke the mandatory fee with or without a referendum).

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    1. Also, I made a typo; the last line of my original post should read: "the way the WPIRG fee is administered." I don't have extensive knowledge about how WPIRG as an organization is administered.

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    2. For a charity, that's a lot of overhead. Just counting salaries, administrative costs are 50% of the budget, and program expenses only account for around one third of the total expenses. This is considered quite low for charities, even small ones.

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    3. 3b WPIRG isn't a charity, it's a not-for-profit. Not the same thing.

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  4. wpirg = useless hippies

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  5. OP, thanks for this! It's nice to see a post that actually shares useful information, instead of pushing an agenda out there.

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    1. agreed, this is a much nicer post than the other one

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  6. I went to get my refund two years ago because I don't believe that forced charity counts a charity, and because wpirg is absolutely not the kind of group I'd donate to anyway. They were very pushy when I went to get my money. They made me sit as they told me all about how great they are, as though only a monster could want money back instead of saving the baby seals or whatever they do. At they end they exasperatedly asked me again if I wanted my money. When I said yes, I've never received such judgmental looks before. I have only derision for wpirg now.

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    1. I could only imagine - Making students go in to get a refund is genius on their part, as I specifically wouldn't go because I know they'd make me feel bad.

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  7. Where can we go to get the refund now? Can we get it at any time? I'd like to know. I think my five dollars would be put to better use on some delicious nutritious milk.

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    1. OP again: You can only get the refund up to three weeks from the beginning of lectures. This is a very common policy for fees that can be opted-out of (see: various endowment funds, student refugee program, health and dental).

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    2. Sooooo where do I go to get my money back? Where is their office now?

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    3. 7b that question is irrelevant until the Fall term. In September, they'll have a new office secured somewhere, and that'll be where you go to get a refund.

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    4. Send an email to student accounts and demand that this crap be removed. Fuck. It disgusts me that I'm being hosed with these donations which, if they asked me to donate to I gladly would have, but now, they can fuck themselves, they're not getting a single penny from me

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    5. ^ No you wouldn't. Don't lie.

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    6. 7d it's not up to student accounts whether or not you get charged the fee.

      These are student ancillary fees. You don't want to be assessed them? Then get Feds Council to call a referendum on those fees. If you vote the fee out, then the UW Board of Governors will remove the fee.

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