This March, UVic students voting in the UVSS elections will see a question on their ballots asking if they are willing to establish a fee of $1.50 per full-time student per semester and $0.75 for part-time students to fund open educational resources (OERs) — or open-source textbooks.
Jonathan Granirer, UVSS Director of Outreach and University Relations, is the official proponent of this referendum, and aims to reduce the cost of course materials and make education more accessible.
“If this referendum passes, it will save students money by decreasing textbook costs,” said Granirer. “Many students have to choose between textbooks and groceries. By making textbooks more affordable, fewer students will have to make these hard decisions.”
He went on to explain that expensive textbooks create a barrier to education for low- and middle-income students and families.
“Students’ financial standing shouldn’t affect our ability to achieve academic success,” Granirer said. “Funding the creation of open-source textbooks will save students money and allow us all to be able to get closer to achieving our full academic potential regardless of our financial situation.”
OERs are intended to replace paid course materials. They would be available online, and possibly in print, although students would be responsible for printing.
“Open resources can be accessed by anyone at any time, so even if students aren’t assigned these materials, they will still be able to access them,” said Granirer. This means that even if a student is not enrolled in a particular class, they would still have access to open-source textbooks.
Voting for the UVSS elections will take place from March 4 to 6. The Martlet and CFUV are co-hosting two election events, the All Candidates and Referenda Forum on March 2 and the Lead Directors Debate on March 3, both at 2:30 in the Vertigo lounge.