Executive updates show SFUO went over budget on 2017 ELE fest

On Tuesday, Nov. 14, The Student Federation of The University of Ottawa (SFUO) held their fall General Assembly (GA) at the alumni auditorium in the University Centre. This GA did not meet quorum, with roughly 135 students in attendance. Quorum currently sits at 0.75 per cent of the student population, or around 230 students.

The GA started at 7 p.m. with a letter by the executives read by SFUO president Hadi Wess. The letter welcomed students to the GA and outlined some of the SFUO’ accomplishments so far.

The cut off date to propose motions was Oct. 31, and the SFUO shared to their Facebook event page that no motions were proposed. However, a few hours before the GA, a new post stated that two motions were in fact proposed and could potentially be voted on.

Despite not meeting quorum, chairperson and former SFUO president Anne Marie Roy agreed to read the motions that were sent in, at the request of multiple students. The first motion detailed caps on SFUO executive salaries, which was met with applause by many in the room, and the second outlined the need for student involvement in course curriculums.

However, without quorum the motions could not be debated, and the SFUO executive went on to give their updates.

Budget presentation

Vice-president finance Rizki Rachiq offered his update in the form of a budget presentation. The presentation outlined expenses from the overall budget since the start of the school year, as well as clubs, services, the health plan, the U-Pass, SFUO funds, the Board of Administration (BOA), marketing, the University of Ottawa Student Emergency Response Team, and events such as 101 Week and the Everybody Love Everybody (ELE) Fest.

For the most part, the SFUO’s total costs remained within or below their budgets, barring ELE Fest, which ran a deficit. The budget for the event was $135,036, but the total amounted to $220,278, resulting in a loss of $85,242. Rachiq and Wess attributed this to the city permits necessary for the event to take place, and the added expense of police officers on the premises—something they hadn’t budgeted for.

Executive updates

Vice-president university affairs Axel Gaga offered insights into a new sexual violence campaign being launched by the SFUO called Change the Culture. He also addressed issues regarding mental health on campus, and detailed progress on the U-Pass front, with lines being much shorter this year, saving money, and the possibility of combining the U-Pass with the university student card.

Vice-president equity Leila Moumouni-Tchouassi added that sexual violence prevention and mental health services at the U of O have a long way to go, and she plans on integrating a sexual violence prevention network to help survivors of sexual assault before the end of her term, and that conversations about sexual violence need to be intersectional.

She also talked about her role in the well being committee and the peer help centre, which she said can provide affordable tutoring, and a mental health phone line for those in need.

Moumouni-Tchouassi also expressed concern about accessibility on campus, and mentioned that the Centre for Students with Disabilities is working on improving the situation.

She also touched on upcoming events like Know Your Rights for international students, Woke Wednesdays, which will see different activities on campus like trivia nights to open discussion on equity issues, and a Trans Clothing Swap by the Pride Centre.

According to Moumouni-Tchouassi, the winter registration period for clubs starts on Monday, Nov. 20.

Vice-president services and communication Kathryn LeBlanc discussed the SFUO’s online growth, rebranding, and website optimization, as well as the introduction of blogs on the website.

Wess, who is still filling the vacant vice-president social portfolio said that this year saw one the safest 101 Weeks in history, with the least amount of ambulances called.

Wess further mentioned the social justice fair, and the SFUO’s work with the World University Service of Canada to sponsor student refugees, of which there are six this year.

He also talked about townhall meetings, which is a new initiative put forth by the SFUO to answer questions students may have about their executives.

Wess added that an Indigenous mural is in the works and will be placed in the University Centre.

Question period

A 20-minute question period saw students voice many of the same concerns that they had at the previous BOA meeting on Nov. 5.

Members of the pro life club asserted that their voices were being silenced, and repeatedly asked Moumouni-Tchouassi why their club status was revoked, to the same answer from Moumouni-Tchouassi, regarding other students’ concerns over disturbing images and doll parts displayed during their tabling.

One student asked if they could “have their $190 back” and no longer be part of the federation due to their club status being revoked and their loss of freedom of expression.

Other questions centered around the seeming lack of promotion for the GA, the budget, and plans for Black History Month.

A full GA report can be found on the SFUO website.