The Mount Allison Students’ Union council debated subsidizing both  bus tickets for students to Hamilton, Ont. and $1,000 of student money to a viewing party for Nov. 22’s Mitchell Bowl. Ultimately, council supported neither proposal.

North Side Councillor Madeline Stewart was the one to propose the fan bus subsidization.

“Fan support is hugely important and it does make a huge difference to the players on the field,” Stewart said.

No-one motioned to support a bus ticket subsidy.

“I’m disappointed that [it] didn’t even make it to a motion and was just shot down,” Stewart said.

“There wasn’t enough demand from the students,” said MASU’s Vice-President, Campus Life Andrew Johnston. Without any subsidy, bus tickets to Hamilton cost $207, excluding accommodations. “The amount of money we would have to put in to get the price down to a reasonable level was just too much.”

The bus’s capacity was limited to 47. The  small number of students who would have benefitted from the subsidy was the biggest deterrent.

“It would have been a financially irresponsible decision to give 47 students a subsidy to go to the Mitchell Bowl,” said Arts Senator Piper Riley Thompson.

The fan bus discussion ended without a motion and council’s focus shifted toward an alternative idea, for MASU to support the Mitchell Bowl by sponsoring The Pond’s viewing party. A motion was proposed by Andrew Johnston, MASU’s vice-president campus life, to give him discretionary power over $1,000 of the union’s surplus money to plan the event.

“It wasn’t clear what the thousand dollars were going to,” said Kyle Nimmrichter, MASU’s vice-president academic affairs.

Johnston listed possibilities that included the subsidization of drinks, decorations and pub food for the event.

“My problem with this motion was that it was essentially party planning,” said Riley Thompson.

“It’s right to say that we aren’t a party-planning committee,” Johnston said after council, “but we do plan parties.”

While MASU holds multiple parties a year, supporting sports teams can be a grey area for the union.

“It’s also not clear what a students’ union mandate is when it comes to supporting sports,” Nimmrichter said, referencing the recent success of the football team. “It’s simply an issue that we haven’t had to deal with in the past.”

Stewart saw the problem as an opportunity.

“This is the first time in the history of Mount Allison football that we’ve had a perfect regular season,” Stewart said. “This is a good time for community bonding in our shared celebration.”

Third-year sociology student Caroline Kovesi expressed frustration over the council’s priorities. Kovesi pointed out that football may not be the most important expenditure that every student wants to see.

“Students must pay $100-$150 to see a qualified psychologist on campus but the MASU strongly considered subsidizing the cost of partying and alcohol to see footballers play in another province?” Kovesi asked.

After approximately 40 minutes of debate, the motion was killed following a recommendation by Ryan Harley, MASU’s vice-president communications, to use the entertainment budget instead of the surplus.

“I didn’t see how the viewing party was any different from any other entertainment event,” Harley said.

“Ideally, [MASU’s] surplus should only be used for projects that will have a long-term impact on Mount Allison students,” said Vice-President, Finance and Operations Josh Outerbridge. “Using money from the entertainment line versus the surplus really concerns whether or not council considers this an event that will impact campus culture for a long time.”

MASU was left with a $97,830 surplus after last year.

“If we are constantly drawing from this large surplus that the MASU has, we’re not thinking about the future of this organization,” said Riley Thompson.

Riley Thompson criticized the lack of inter-organizational communication that led to the problematic motion.

“The MASU is made up of many portfolios and committees,” Riley Thompson said. “They have to work together to create the strongest possible organization.”

“Last year, the [executive] was highly criticized for perceived attempts to steamroll an agenda through council and to monopolize the debate,” Harley said, in response to questions from the Argosy about his not speaking up earlier in the debate. “I didn’t feel it was my place to limit the direction in which that motion could potentially go.”

After the council debate, Johnston said, “I guess because it’s not something where students want to see their money go, we likely won’t be able to do too much financially.”

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