Platforms focus on lower tuition, transparency, accessibility
The 2016–17 Student Federation of the University of Ottawa (SFUO) by-elections for the fall term are currently underway, with voting closing on Thursday, Oct. 20.
As displayed on the SFUO website, there are nine candidates running to be on the Board of Administration (BOA) and nine vacant positions. The contested seats are in the Faculty of Law’s civil law section, with one available seat and two candidates running, and the Faculty of Engineering, with two available seats and three candidates running. The Faculty of Education and the Telfer School of Management both have one vacant seat each, but saw no candidates running for these positions.
As of the date of this publication, only three candidates’ platforms have been posted on the SFUO website—Ellen Galupo and Anh Minh Duong from the Faculty of Health Sciences, and Thierry Tremblay-Filion from the Faculty of Engineering.
The Fulcrum subsequently reached out to all candidates to obtain their platforms, but as of this publication has only received responses from candidates Charles-Antoine Côté De Lagrave, Jeffry Colin, and Tristan Lamonica, from the Faculty of Law’s civil law section, Faculty of Engineering, and Faculty of Arts, respectively.
Online promotion for the by-election began on Oct. 11 through a Facebook event. There were some concerns raised over the lack of promotion for the by-election, with one comment on the Facebook event criticizing the SFUO for posting the event online only a week before the by-election.
The platforms show that while each candidate has their own concerns, certain issues traverse faculties.Transparency is a large focus in many of the candidates’ platforms—this comes after concerns were raised about transparency and democracy in the student federation at the first two BOA meetings of the academic year.
Galupo, Duong, and Côté De Lagrave all highlight accessibility as part of their platforms, to accommodate students with disabilities.
Duong and Tremblay-Filion’s platforms both discuss advocating for reduced student fees. Tremblay-Filion promises to do this by fighting to lower tuition and SFUO fees, while Duong wants to reduce student fees by having a more affordable U-Pass.
Faculty of Engineering
Three candidates are vying for two Faculty of Engineering seats—Arsalan Ahmed Khan, Jeffry Colin, and Thierry Tremblay-Filion. The Fulcrum was not provided with Khan’s platform by the date of this publication.
Colin is in his fifth-year at the Faculty of Engineering, and says he has had his “fair share of experience sitting on boards like the BOA.”
“I want to address the gap in service quality that engineering students often feel. I want to work on resources for engineering students like staplers in SITE and board games rentals,” Colin told the Fulcrum. He also mentions reducing student fees, having a fast-paced consultation process when working with engineering students to resolve an issue, and working towards an online voting platform.
Tremblay-Filion also wants to fight for online voting and e-petitions, and reduced student fees, as well as ensure students receive information about SFUO spending, budget cuts, and employment practices. Tremblay-Filion will also work towards establishing a peer help partnership, so that upper-year students can help younger students “reach their academic goals and ambitions.”
Faculty of Law, civil law section
With only one open seat in the Faculty of Law’s civil law section, two candidates are in the running to fill it. Charles-Antoine Coté De Lagrave and Safie Diallo are the candidates, however the Fulcrum did not receive Diallo’s platform by the time of this publication.
Coté De Lagrave’s focus is on preserving a positive image of the civil law section within both the university and the legal community. His platform also states that he would like to ensure SFUO services are maintained, and ensure the U-Pass remains available to students.
Faculty of Health Sciences
There are two open seats for the Faculty of Health Sciences, and two students—Ellen Galupo and Anh Minh Duong—have declared candidacy. Health Sciences candidate Galupo mentions in her platform that she would like to ensure a higher quality of student life at the U of O through the “inclusion and encouragement of minority groups and clubs, as well as cultural days to showcase the diversity (of) cultures at the university.”
Duong, also a health science candidate, wants to ensure there are more opportunities for students to have one-on-one interactions with professors and students to encourage participation in research. Duong’s platform also mentions advocacy for more shuttle bus services, so that students can move between Lees campus and the main campus at a faster pace.
Faculty of Arts
There is only one seat available in the Faculty of Arts, and Tristan Lamonica is running unopposed for the position.
Lamonica is a fourth-year communications student who is currently serving as vice-president philanthropic for the Communication Students’ Association. He says he wants to “bring a fresh perspective on the many issues surrounding the SFUO—compared to the others who have been elected for many years now.”
“I’ve helped deploy and share various online fundraising events targeted at specific causes with the help from digital currency communities and biotech/pharmaceutical sector investors. I’ve also been able to organize events and raise money with an extremely limited budget—and I think the SFUO could adopt the same strategies.”
Lamonica also notes that his background in finance will help him examine where the SFUO spends money and where potential cuts can be made. He also would advocate for online voting and more communication around SFUO executive spending.
Faculty of Medicine
Alexander Liam Pearson is the only candidate for the one open seat in the Faculty of Medicine. As of this publication, the Fulcrum could not obtain Pearson’s platform.
There is one day left to voting in the by-election. Voting locations can be found in the by-election Facebook event page. The Fulcrum will update candidate information as it is received.
—With files from Graham Robertson.