With one BOA candidate, SFUO executive unclear on filling VP social position

Voting for the Student Federation of the University of Ottawa (SFUO)’s fall 2017 by-election takes place Oct. 17-19 beginning at 9:30 a.m. Here’s everything you’ll need to know about the candidates and referendum questions on the ballots.

While there are five unfilled seats on the Board of Administration (BOA): One each for the Faculties of Arts, Medicine two or the Faculty of Health Sciences, and one special student seat.

Only one of those seats, for the Faculty of Health Sciences, has a chance of being filled this election.

According to Qussai Abu-Naqoos, the SFUO’s Chief Electoral Officer, the other seats either had no one nominating themselves or  candidates did not meet the requirement to fulfill their  nominations.

Vacant Positions

There are currently two vacant positions on the Board of Administration (BOA) for the Faculty Health Sciences. In the running for one is Simran Aggarwal, a third-year health sciences student.

According to Aggarwal’s platform, her “main goal is (to) try to further facilitate student involvement with the BOA.” If elected she hopes to facilitate student voting and collaborate with the various governance committees and the student body, in order to establish policies which best represent the goals and needs of students in her faculty.

“My platform focuses around promoting student involvement with the BOA,” said Aggarwal. “Being a part of the BOA would allow me the opportunity to collaborate with the students and their representatives in contributing to the positive development of the (U of O) community,” said Aggarwal.

“As someone who always seeks to improve themselves and wants to get involved and learn more, it would also be an excellent opportunity for self-development.”

Aggarwal believes the most important quality of leadership is honesty. “Students should be able to trust the person they are choosing to represent themselves and their interests. (Health Sciences) students can trust me to look out for their and (the U of O)’s best interests.”

Referendum Questions

Students will also be able to vote on two referendum questions, which are as follows:

Referendum 1: Are you in favour to contribute $1.25 per full-time student and $0.65 per part-time student per semester in order to fund the development of a Multi-Faith Centre on campus as a Student Federation service?

Referendum 2: Do you agree to contribute $1.50 per full-time student and $0.75 per part-time student per winter semester for the University of Ottawa Student Emergency Response Team (UOSERT) in order to maintain a high level of first aid care on campus?

In an interview with the Fulcrum, Hadi Wess, president of the SFUO and a member of the board’s elections committee said, “my job is just to make sure the referendum questions are proposed and approved by the Board of Administration.” Wess is also responsible for ensuring that the questions are straightforward and not persuasive.

In March of this year, a member of the board and several members of the U of O’s Muslim Students Association proposed a motion for the creation of a multi-faith centre on campus.The motion passed, with the board having made a decision for students to vote on the centre during the fall by-election.

According to Wess, “a lot of students sometimes feel attacked, feel that their voices are not heard they don’t have a resource center to go to,” and need “a place where they can come and meet someone to guide them spiritually and support them.”

The second referendum question is for a winter levy to help fund the University of Ottawa Student Emergency Response Team (UOSERT).

Every service that the SFUO manages has to pass a referendum. Money allocated for a certain service must only be used for the chosen service, and any money leftover is then put towards 101 Week, philanthropic initiatives, or other events held by the SFUO. But until the academic year is over, that money cannot be allocated to other services.

The  referendum in question was put in place following concerns that UOSERT needs more funding to be able to function adequately.

“As a student federation we believe in the process of consultation, the referendum itself is a process of democracy,” said Wess.

When asked about the vacant position of vice-president social, the SFUO did not clarify how it will fill the seat given that no one is running for it in the by-election.

“It’s important to go out there and vote,” said Wess.

Results of the by-election will be released on Oct. 20 on the SFUO’s Facebook page and the Fulcrum’s website.