Independent Student Media Fee

What is the Independent Student Media fee?

Each term, all full-time* undergraduate students** at WLU contribute $11.44 to WLU Student Publications to assist us in the creation and distribution of nine unique student- and community-oriented media publications. Created for and by students, our publications aim to inform students on topics important to them, provide both employment and volunteer opportunities for students and hold the university accountable to its students.

*Part-time undergraduate students contribute only $2.86 per 0.5 credit per term.

**Full-time graduate students contribute only $7.80 per term. 

This means that, over the course of an average undergraduate degree, a student will pay just $89.28 — the equivalent of approximately 27 cups of coffee (or 18 lattes) over a four-year period,  or just 13 cents a day per term — to support our organization and opportunities for students.

We have 9 publications for students to engage in and share their voice. Your contribution ensures students are informed, employed and have their voices heard.

We ask that you take the time to make informed decisions when considering opting out. Consider if you have ever, or will ever access any part of WLU Student Publications, know someone who has, or if you believe in a free independent press on campus.

What does the “Independent” in our title mean?

WLU Student Publications is affiliated with Wilfrid Laurier University; however, we are an entirely autonomous and independent organization. This gives us the freedom to more effectively monitor the actions and decisions of other groups and associations within and external to the university, without potentially being compromised by bias or conflicts of interest.

This means that, unlike other student media organizations across the country, who are directly funded by their student unions, we are able to (more impartially) hold the Laurier’s Students’ Union and the university as a whole more accountable to its students.

About the Student Choice Initiative (SCI) and Ancillary Fees

Ancillary fees, according to a document recently released by the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities (MTCU), are defined as “fee[s] imposed or administered by a given institution, or one of its constituent parts or its federated or affiliated institutions, in addition to regular tuition fees, which a student pays for a service or product.”

There are a number of these ancillary, “incidental,” or “non-tuition-related fees,” which students pay into per term. Some are considered essential, such as the Waterloo Student’s Union Building Fee, which financially supports the operation and maintenance of the Fred Nichol’s Building that houses the Students’ Union, or the Laurier Athletics and Recreation Fee. Students will be unable to opt out of these fees.

Other fees, such as the Independent Student Media fee (which supports WLU Student Publications) are considered “Third-Party” fees and “non-essential”. Although our fee was originally created through student referendum (voted in by students), this new procedure has removed that decision made by students.

With the changes being made to the funding structure of student-run organizations at universities, introduced by the Student Choice Initiative (SCI), the Ontario government has outlined the new policy which governs how students will pay into either compulsory or optional ancillary fees.

More information on the current breakdown of student fees, on both the Waterloo and Brantford campuses, regarding student organizations, administration, programs and faculties, and third-party organizations (like us), can be found here.

More information on these ancillary fee changes, and how will be implemented in the coming year, can be found in Section 6 of the MTCU’s document, or through Laurier’s Student Choice Initiative FAQ page.

About our organization

WLU Student Publications is a volunteer-based, not-for-profit media group based out of Wilfrid Laurier University. The Laurier student body makes up our membership and pays fees levied through the university, which go towards running our eight publications, online radio station, and accompanying websites.

This small fee is distributed amongst our various student-operated media organizations, including The Cord, Laurier’s official, student-run weekly newspaper; Radio Laurier, a campus and community radio station; Blueprint Magazine, a quarterly literary arts magazine; The Community Edition, Waterloo Region’s monthly, community-focused newspaper; The Sputnik, Laurier Brantford’s official monthly newspaper; Keystone and The Carnegie, Laurier Waterloo and Brantford’s official yearbooks; and Laurier Student Poll, a market research group.

All our publications are free to access and can be found on stands across campus, as well as online. The Independent Student Media fee directly funds these publications, in addition to employing and providing volunteer opportunities to students and alumn.

The Independent Student Media fee ensures the existence of independent student media at Laurier. Without your support, Laurier will not have an autonomous press reporting on important student issues. This fee informs students and employs students.

WLU Student Publications is the only organization of its kind in Canada. Alumni of Student Publications have gone on to work in international newsrooms and with well-known companies such as The Globe and Mail, Coca-Cola, Universal Music, and many more.

If you have an interest in developing real-world, on the job skills in media, marketing and journalism — please get involved. Students, at all levels, who support Student Publications via this fee are welcome to volunteer and work with any of our publications.

The Cord was first published in 1926. We’ve been providing trusted coverage for over 90 years. We can’t imagine Laurier without a student newspaper, radio station or the seven other great publications we offer — and you shouldn’t have to either.

About our products

Our organization covers a variety of topics and issues, related to the student experience, that are important to Laurier students. Every publication at WLUSP offers something different to the student body and surrounding community:

The Cord is Laurier’s official student newspaper. Covering matters such as reporting on the Students’ Union, university budgeting, student life, athletics and breaking news. In the past, the Cord has reported on important issues such as:

Radio Laurier has one of the largest volunteer teams on the Laurier campus, and prides itself on being a professional campus and community radio station. Radio Laurier currently has 26 shows, each contributing their own unique voice and value to the community in their diverse programming schedule. Radio Laurier’s studio is open and welcoming to Laurier students who are interested in starting their own radio show or getting into audio mixing and production.

Blueprint believes in the power of creativity, and strives to showcase amazing and imaginative pieces in their magazine. They accept contributions from students, community members, and people around the globe. Their content, which accepts pieces internationally, ranges from art and photography, to poetry, prose and more. 

So, why should you care?

Students involved or employed in our organization gain valuable experience in journalism and media production including, but not limited to: writing, photography, graphic design, radio and audio production, event management, finance management, illustration, interview skills, advertising and marketing.

If you have ever:

    • Picked up a copy of The Cord
    • Listened to a football or other sports game called on Radio Laurier
    • Watched the St. Patrick’s Day video
    • Taken or will take grad photos
    • Gotten involved in clubs and associations featured in the yearbook
    • Had your writing published
    • Been featured in a newspaper story
    • Read creative pieces in Blueprint Magazine
    • Believed universities and their student’s unions should be held responsible and accountable to their students

Or someone you know has, then it is in your best interest to support the Independent Student Media fee.

Please support Laurier student media, and help us make the Laurier student experience even more exceptional.

Further Questions and Information

If you have any more questions, concerns, or need to know anything else about the Independent Student Media fee, feel free to let us know below.

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