This past weekend, the Board of Administration (BOA) voted to approve a set of new by-laws and regulations that take away the power that the General Assemblies (GA) have traditionally had here on the University of Ottawa campus.
Until now, the GAs have been the superior voice. Students have had the ability to come out and present motions to the members, vote on them, and then make decisions that are in the interests of students on campus. While students have traditionally not met quorum at these GAs, perhaps it’s time we do.
With the Student Federation of the University of Ottawa (SFUO) changing the rules to suit their own agendas, while stating that this is to “conform to the law,” students should be asking the tough questions: Why was this legal issue only noticed this year? Why implement this new regulation six days before a GA? Why has the SFUO executive failed to properly put the time and resources behind promotion of the GA?
And the real kicker: Why have a GA if the will of the students will neither be heard nor respected? At Sunday’s vote, there were a lot of BOA members who approached me and said that they felt like a gun was put to their heads. This is unacceptable.
Why weren’t the members of the BOA and the members of SFUO at large given this information a week ago? Why wasn’t the lawyer representing the SFUO in the room to present the report and to answer questions from a legal perspective? And finally, what can be done to continue to provide students with a voice?
The students want and deserve answers to these questions. Now, the ball is in the court of the SFUO. Will they answer these questions? Probably not. But it’s good to have this out there for people to have the ability to judge for themselves. Remember that if we all unite to fight this, we will win the battle.
—Jordan Kent, first-year political science student at the U of O.