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GCC students vote out MASSPIRG

GREENFIELD — Greenfield Community College students have voted to stop funding a local chapter of the nonprofit state advocacy organization Massachusetts Public Interest Research Group (MASSPIRG).

During the annual Student Senate elections this week, 185 students voted to remove a $9 waivable fee that appears on students’ bills each semester, while 91 voted to keep the fee.

MASSPIRG officials said the fees pay for campus organizers — who rally students to participate in political efforts and petitions — as well as lobbyists who campaign for students’ interests at the state and federal level.

Over the past 30 years, students have voted 15 times to continue paying MASSPIRG. But a “vote no” campaign by student senators, who argued that the organization has had an inconsistent presence on campus since 2011, was enough to sway students this year to end MASSPIRG’s chapter.

A Recorder article on Wednesday gave incorrect statistics about the number of students who paid a $9 fee to MASSPIRG this semester.

Information relayed to The Recorder from the college’s bursar office correctly said that 36 percent of GCC students waived the $9 optional fee to MASSPIRG this semester.

But it was not made clear that only 18 percent of the student body elected to pay it, leaving about 46 percent that neither waived nor paid the fee.

The college automatically waives the fee for these students if no action is taken by mid-March, said Bursar Glenn Howe. The fees that will be sent to MASSPIRG this semester total just over $3,000, he said.

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