Live from the Archives

Illustration: Christine Wang/Fulcrum

Dive down the well of nostalgia that are past 101-Weeks

An Afternoon at the races

By Steve MacSween 

Originally published on Sept.22, 1983.

The pit area is the scene of barely suppressed tension as fifteen drivers inhale the oily bluish smoke of idling motors.

“Quinze secondes…fifteen seconds!” yells the grey-haired priest as he prepares to drop the green flag on the sleek racing machines. The black suit he wears contrasts sharply with the white wedge cap on his head which proclaims “Semaine d’accueil-Welcome Week.”

A distinguished-looking man with the salt and pepper beard sits calmly in the lead machine, sun glinting off his helmet. He is sucking his thumb.

“Five seconds…cinq secondes bellows the cleric as he exchanges jokes with the crowd standing on the sidewalk behind him. He turns and makes hand gestures to ensure they will leave him room to jump out of the racers’ way when he drops the flag.

Then the flag is down and the drivers are gone in a cloud of oily exhaust. Pedestrians make their way around bales of straw placed at strategic portions of the university circuit.

Confused?

The smiling clergyman with the flag is rector Father Roger Guindon, and he just opened the most unusual event of Welcome Week 1983 – the University of Ottawa’s first on-campus road race. 

The U of O’s first go-cart grand prix, to be exact.

Billed by the Students’ Federation (SFUO) as the “longest go-cart race course in Ottawa.” The first annual University of Ottawa Grand Prix was held during the afternoon of Wednesday, September 14. An admissions fee of $5 entitled entrants to a two lap run around the streets surrounding the complex bordered by Montpetit Hall, Thompson residence, Morisset library and the unicentre. 

 The afternoon of racing began shortly after the 14h with the rector’s race, in which most of the carts were driven by members of the University administration. Contestants included Peter Lloyd, director of Public Relations for the U of O; Pierre Boulet, director of Students Services; Yvon Richer, head librarian; Robert Charbonneau of the University Development Office; and Vice-Rector Pierre Bourgeault.

Vice-Rector Dr.Pierre Bourgeault was the first administrator across the finish line in the Rector’s Race and was the recipient of the U of O Grand Prix trophy for his first place finish.

Donald Rancourt, a first year electrical engineering student, was the first student to cross the finish line. When asked if he was having a good time, Rancourt replied, “for the past few days, yes!

Other special races held throughout the afternoon included a support staff race, a residents’ race, a Student Services race, and a deans’ race. A winners race was held at the end of the day to bring together the first place finishers from the previous races. 

While the SFUO executive says it is too early to determine how well the go-cart race in particular and Welcome Week, in general, have done financially, Social Activities commissioner Eli Turk notes that the idea behind the event was to provide an alternative form of entertainment to the usual Welcome Week fare of concerts and beer bashes. 

Frosh bosses locked out of residences as Shinorama 1990 turns into disaster for SFUO

By Erik Rath and Andrew Milne

Originally published September 13th, 1990

This year’s University of Ottawa Shinorama was a failure. Housing Services barred frosh leaders from entering the residence after a violation in housing policy was discovered late Thursday, Sept.6. As a result, the leaders were unable to rouse students for the event. 

Shinorama is a benefit for the Canadian Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Housing services had originally granted the federation permission to recruit students from the residences to participate in the event, providing Housing policy was respected. When posters proclaiming a pub crawl (whose existence violated a strict policy prohibiting alcohol advertising were found in residences late Thursday Residence Life coordinator Noëlla Beausoleil informed SFUO VP (Social Activities) J.J Jennex that the federation’s frosh leaders would be prohibited from recruiting in residence.

Jennex said this year’s Shinorama cost the Federation at least $3,300 to organize. Although the final count has yet to be completed, Jennex estimates that only about $2000 of the original $20,000 goal was raised. Jennex was visibly disappointed, and described the event as, “bad, a total failure.”

Said Jennex, “Housing locked us out. We couldn’t get our frosh leaders into the residences and as a result, Carleton was everywhere and we were nowhere.”

Jennex had tried to send some of the frosh leaders into residence despite Housing’s decision. The Stanton receptionist called Protection, who expelled the group. 

Said Jennex, “I had no choice I had to try and get someone out there.” Jennex said that he was only informed of Housing’s decision around 5 p.m. the night before.

Hubert Reiter, Protection’s chief of prevention and investigation, said Protection identified seven or eight people in connection with the incident, which has been listed as a disturbance. 

Both the SFUO and the participating frosh leaders claim that the posters were the work of two independent frosh leaders and were not endorsed by the Federation. Said SFUO president Maxime Pednault-Jobin, “because of the two individuals, (Beausoleil) destroyed one of the biggest events of Welcome Week.” Beausoleil, however, cited the existence of at least five groups who attempted to recruit froshers for the pub crawl. The advertising also issued the frosh team names. 

Beausoleil defended her decision. “I can understand that they’re upset but I have the well-being of 2,000 people to look over… For me, alcohol abuse is a major problem on campus and any action I can take to prevent abusive drinking explains my decision,” 

Linda Debono, a coordinator of Welcome Week, feels that a worthwhile cause has been compromised by Housing Service’s actions. “I think it’s a shame that someone would have to exercise their power in such a way that it would harm a community event and such a good cause,” she said.

For his part, frosh leader Stéphane Braün believes that Housing could have handled the matter with more delicacy. This was for a charitable organization,” he said. They jumped right down our throats — it could have been done in a much more civilized manner.”

Beausoleil insists that stifling a good cause was not her intention, and believes that she made the right decision, but there were a number of events which led up to it.”

If the same situation occurred tomorrow, would Beausoleil still make the same decision? “I don’t have any regrets,” she says.

Students disappointed over French Montana FEDStock performance

By: Eric Davidson 

Originally published September 10, 2017

Opinions abound across the University of Ottawa campus following a rocky 101 Week concert featuring Moroccan-American rapper French Montana. A brief performance, tech issues, and confusing admission requirements led to a night that left a sour taste with some students.

The majority of the criticism was directed at French Montana himself. Consistent promotion of hard drug use during the concert and some questionable lyrics have contributed to a public image that some have claimed is not consistent with the values of the Student Federation of the University of Ottawa (SFUO) or the university.

Bethany Fourtin, a participant in 101 Week, questioned what kind of precedent the SFUO was trying to set for first-year students. “There was definitely some whiplash … getting a lecture on consent and personal responsibility 20 minutes before a concert with some dude telling me to do cocaine and downgrade my sense of self-worth,” she said, referencing Take Back the Night, an event on campus rape culture and sexual violence which preceded the show.  

Several other students echoed those sentiments. “I really don’t have a problem with (French Montana)— plenty of guys are worse. But to have a school endorsement is… weird? I really don’t think my fees should be spent supporting a guy who brags about getting shot in the head,” said Sarah Roy-Brown, a first-year biology student.

Others argued that public institutions have an obligation to give back to domestic artists.

“There are a ton of Montreal rappers that you could get on stage for half the price,” said Jonathan Tepay, an attendee. “They could put on a banger of a show, introduce some of the (students) from out west to the Quebecois (music) scene.” He went on to say that flying a rapper in from the United States “doesn’t really inspire a lot of faith in our local guys.”

Others felt that hiring out massive international artists was a frivolous expense, particularly given the SFUO’s ongoing financial difficulty and the increasing cost of tuition.

“It’s like they want to prove the school is cool or whatever. I’ve already paid my tuition. You don’t need to get my attention. Invest in your clubs, because that’s what I am going to remember, not a 20-minute concert,” said Tasha Steinhower, a first-year criminology student.

Beyond a few hiccups, 101-Week has otherwise been a resounding success, introducing new students to the school and the city. Students commended the social opportunities it provided them and said it helped them break out of the isolation and uncertainty that first-year students often experience after moving to a new city.

“A lot of people tell you it’s hard but it doesn’t really hit you until you get here how lonely it’s going to be,” Tepay said, “But I think 101-Week and the residence staff were great in helping people get out of that funk.”

As of the date of this publication, the SFUO has not responded to requests for comment.

Fun facts about these stories

  • The U of O’s Roger Guindon campus is named after Father Roger Guindon, he was rector from 1964-1984. He died in 2012, he would have been 100 this year.
  • Steve Macsween is now a project officer at the Passport Modernization Project Office.
  • Eli Turk, was at the Director of International Relations at McGill form 2012 to 2015, he is now the President of a company that maps the artic with UAVs.
  • Shinorama 2020 will be the first Shinorama to be held online it will take place on Tuesday, Sept.8, 2020.
  • Maxime Pedneault-Jobin is now the Mayor of Gatineau.
  • Stéphane Braün is a Professor who teaches Palstic Surgery at Vanderbuilt University
  • The French Montana incident is referred to as one of the incidents that lead to the downfall of the SFUO.