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SU Elections 2024 Q&A: The Gateway Referendum

The Students’ Union 2024 election will allow students to decide on creating a fee for The Gateway.

NOTE: The Gateway is running a DFU campaign in the 2024 Students’ Union Elections. We will be covering our campaign in a strict environment that strives to promote impartiality, transparency, and fairness. If you’d like more information, please see our statement or Conflict of Interest Plan.

The Students’ Union 2024 election is giving students the opportunity to decide on creating a fee for The Gateway.

The Gateway’s dedicated fee unit (DFU) goes toward reporting on campus news at the University of Alberta. The proposed fee is $2.64 per fall and winter semester, and $1.32 per spring and summer semester. Augustana students would not pay the fee. Students would have the option to opt-out. The fee would start from fall 2024, and continue for a five-year term.

Representing The Gateway in this Q&A is Emily Williams, a fifth-year honours political science student and current board chair of the Gateway Student Journalism Society.

The following interview have been edited for brevity and clarity.

What is this referendum trying to accomplish?

Emily Williams: The past few years have been a period of unprecedented change at the U of A. And we know that it’s students who are feeling the consequences. Throughout that time, The Gateway has been by your side reporting on the issues that matter to you. 

The Gateway is running to secure the future of that commitment through an optional student levy. This will allow us to continue to do our essential reporting on topics like tuition increases and campus protests. And as our university continues to grow at a rapid pace, it also allows us to expand our reporting to ensure that we are there to cover.

For students who don’t know, what is The Gateway?

Williams: The Gateway is your official campus news source. Since 1910, our student-run organization has been reporting on our campus community. Throughout that time, The Gateway has been a go-to source for information on things about changes to your tuition, building maintenance, and provincial budget cuts. But, we also have been an outlet for students to write about arts and culture, sports, share analysis, and try their hands at things like photography and design.

If this referendum passes, how much will students be paying and how was that cost determined?

Williams: The Gateway is excited and ready to continue our essential work for another five years, fuelled by a $2.64 student levy that will always be fully opt-outable. There will also be an opt-outable spring and summer levy that’s $1.32, to support the reporting that we do during those months of the year as well. The amount is reduced from our historic $3.54 levy, after we took a hard look at our operational costs and found efficiencies to make sure everything counts.

Will all students be paying this fee?

Williams: All students on North Campus and Campus Saint-Jean (CSJ) will have the option to pay the opt-outable levy. It will not apply to Augustana students.

Why do you think students should care about the work being done by The Gateway?

Williams: The U of A is like a small city. It needs a truth-powered, student-driven news source that produces strong, independent journalism that’s not beholden to anybody but the students that we serve. In that way, The Gateway is a really powerful source for platforming student voices and holding powers to be accountable, whether that’s the university, student politicians, or provincial government. We’re also a space that fuels connection through community outreach events, like our Gateway to Cinema. Lastly, we provide hyperlocal news that you cannot find anywhere else.

With files from Dylana Twittey.

Aparajita Rahman

Aparajita Rahman is the 2023-24 Staff Reporter at The Gateway. She is in her second year, studying Psychology and English. She enjoys reading, and getting lost on transit.

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