SFUO vows to “operate” with or without agreement

In a statement released on Sept. 26, the Student Federation of the University of Ottawa (SFUO) announced the three executives named in the fraud allegations, SFUO president Rizki Rachiq, vice-president operations Axel Gaga, and executive director Vanessa Dorimain will be vacating their offices as of Sept. 27, 2018.

This comes in response to the U of O’s official notice of termination of the contract held between the SFUO and the university administration, which recognizes the federation as the official representative of the undergraduate body, on Sept. 25.

According to the statement released on the afternoon of Sept. 26, the three executives have also recused themselves of their mandated duties until the report from PWC is presented to the Board of Administration.

The statement expresses disappointment “at the steps that the University of Ottawa Administration has taken in attempts to control and interfere the way in which we govern and deal with our internal matters as a separate entity,” while accusing the University of taking “an anti-union stance on (this) campus.”

“To be very clear, the SFUO is not planning to vacate our offices or halt any of the services/programs we provide to students as requested,” reads the statement.

However, “we will be vigilant in meeting with them in the next couple of months in attempts to come to a mutually benefiting resolution,” even though, “we will prepare ourselves to operate with or without a new agreement.”

The Canadian Federation of Students (CFS) also released a statement on Facebook yesterday expressing their support for “individual members at the University of Ottawa in this troubling time,” while affirming their advocacy “for student union autonomy from external interference,” for a “student association that is financially and democratically accountable to its membership.”

“It is ultimately the prerogative of students, not external influences, to determine this accountability through the democratic means available to them,” the CFS post reads.

The post also notes that the CFS has requested a meeting with U of O’s provost and and vice-president academic, who signed the letters to the SFUO, to ensure continued maintenance of key student services.

Two executives will now remain: Faduma Wais, vice-president social, and Paige Booth, vice-president external who will become acting president.

In absence of alternative arrangements by the U of O administration, the contract between the student union and the university will be terminated on Dec. 24, 2018.

This article may be updated as new information becomes available.