CUSA talks FundQi, fossil fuel divestment in November council meeting
The Carleton University Students’ Association (CUSA) discussed student concerns over FundQi in its Nov. 26 council meeting, addressing the effectiveness of the service and how many students have opted out of the service this semester.
Executives also shared updates on the association’s emergency hardship fund and a campaign for the university to divest from fossil fuels.
FundQi is a service that matches students with scholarships, bursaries and internships. A referendum on a $9.99 per-semester levy for FundQi passed in January.
Students who do not use FundQi still automatically pay the levy, but can opt out and receive the $9.99 back.
CUSA student-at-large Greg Dance started a petition in September for CUSA to hold another FundQi referendum and be more transparent on the opt-out process. Dance also launched a GoFundMe page to fund “anti-FundQi” social media advertising, although the page has since been deleted.
In response to a question from Dance, CUSA president Kathleen Weary said she is aware of concerns from some students over the FundQi levy. Weary said she met with FundQi on the day of the council meeting to discuss the best way forward.
“They’ll be providing more information and adjusting their processing for the next semester in order to make their opt-out process much more visible,” Weary said.
Weary said that because FundQi is in its first year, “it’s hard to put together concrete numbers” on whether the service has succeeded in matching Carleton students with significant funding.
FundQi founder Zuberi Attard also attended the meeting. Attard said FundQi succeeded in connecting students to around $500,000 in scholarships and other funding last year.
In response to a question from Dance, Attard said around 1,000 students opted in to FundQi and roughly 1,000 students opted out.
Attard also accused Dance of harassing students on the Carleton subreddit who said positive things about FundQi.
“Why are you trying to attack students for using a scholarship service?” Attard said. The council chair then told Attard that claims must be verifiable and the question period should not be used to attack others.
Dance spoke to the Charlatan after the meeting about his exchange with Attard.
“It was pretty shocking that he was there and he was there prepared—not even to answer my questions, but prepared to try to discredit me in front of council,” Dance said.