BOARD OF ADMINISTRATION (BOA) members returned to the table Feb. 26 to hear reports from the executive of the Student Federation of the University of Ottawa (SFUO) and introduce motions regarding discrimination and accessibility to the SFUO constitution. All motions presented were approved for further readings.
On board with the meal plan
Sarah Jayne King, vp finance for the SFUO, announced students can now purchase items using the university meal plan from student-run businesses, 1848, Pivik, and Café Alt.
“It has been a process we’ve been trying to figure out over the past school year and were able to implement for this semester,” said King. “It was supposed to be ready for the start of the semester but there were issues with installing the equipment.”
The meal plan and Flex dollars, for snack items, can be used toward certain items at the SFUO businesses. Items like alcohol and lottery tickets cannot be purchased with the card.
Implementing the program was expensive for the SFUO, but King believes the change will boost businesses while creating greater ease and accessibility for students purchasing items.
Proposal for permanent committee
The BOA considered a motion to create a permanent committee on accessibility to address barriers to inclusion, training employees, holding round tables, and implementing policies for the SFUO. The current committee, established last July, exists on an ad-hoc basis.
“Our first task that we wanted to work on was [complying with] the Accessibility of Ontarians Disabilities Act (AODA), because it is mandated for us to comply with that as of Jan. 1, 2012,” said Kyla Harkins, representative for the Faculty of Health Sciences and member of the ad-hoc committee who presented the motion. “We’ve created the policy and now we are working on the procedure part.”
The motion to create a permanent committee was presented to deal with long-term policies mandated by AODA that need to be implemented by the SFUO.
“There are five standards under this policy and the last one comes out in 2015,” said Harkin. “That [last policy] we have until 2025 to implement, so we will be working on this specific policy until that time and other policies that the SFUO should be implementing such as an accommodation policy.”
Harkins said there will be a large student consultation this month on how to make the campus more accessible that will include different groups and services on campus.
101 Week constitutional changes
Accessibility, discrimination, and support services were subjects brought forward in motions on behalf of the ad-hoc accessibility committee to constitutionally ensure 101 Week participants have a safe and accepting experience.
“I think it is important to recognize that not all 101 Weeks have been accessible or in the process of becoming accessible,” said Amalia Savva, president of the SFUO. “I think putting changes into our constitution is necessary to reflect realities of students and reflect the fact that the SFUO should be as accessible as possible.”
If the proposed motions are accepted on third reading, the constitutional changes would require safety ambassadors, guides, and SFUO executives to receive training such as support and accessibility training and becoming Smart Serve certified.
“I think it is important that everyone who plans or takes part in 101 Week has the tools they need to ensure that events for 101ers are as inclusive as possible,” said Savva.