SFUO will not stream Olympics, but all other motions pass
The Board of Administration (BOA) convened on Dec. 1 to discuss General Assemblies (GA), live streaming the Olympics, the undergraduate seat on the Senate Appeals Committee (SAC), toilet paper reform, and a new scholarship.
General Assembly referendum
While the overwhelming majority of students voted in favour of implementing GAs and making them the highest decision-making body on campus in the Nov. 26–28 referendum, it did not pass because voter turnout did not reach its five per cent quorum.
Student Federation of the University of Ottawa (SFUO) president Anne-Marie Roy put forth a motion to ask students to vote on a GA referendum for a second time during the February general elections. The motion passed by a vote of 19 in favour and six against with two abstentions.
A motion to live-stream the 2014 Winter Olympics was defeated. Daniel Stojanovic, BOA representative for the Faculty of Health Sciences, proposed to stream the Olympics and pair it with a booth that would discuss the homophobic issues taking place in Russia.
Vp university affairs Chris Hynes was against the motion. He said “a simple table isn’t enough,” and that it was not the proper setting to discuss homophobia with students. He said streaming the Olympics would also raise issues of equality because the SFUO would want to stream the Paralympics as well. He said the SFUO has “a responsibility to our most vulnerable members.”
Vp equity Nicole Desnoyers was also against the motion. She said she would not be doing her job as vp equity if she didn’t oppose the motion.
“We are not going to validate a government that will promote this stance,” she said. “An info table isn’t enough,” she said. “Many LGTBQ+ communities face and experience the same kind of hatred happening in Russia even here on campus.”
Alex Boettger, BOA representative for the Faculty of Arts, was in favour of the motion. As a member of the LGTBQ+ community, he said he wants to support Canadian athletes. He said he feels “bars aren’t a safe environment” and that he doesn’t like to be around alcohol.
“Instead of smashing down the idea, let’s propose something more than a booth,” he said.
Vp social Pat Marquis abstained from the vote and said the board “made a good decision” in defeating the motion and that “it was unfortunate the Olympics were in Russia this year.”
Hynes put forth Policy 46, which also passed during the meeting, ensuring the student seat on the SAC would be selected by the SFUO.
The SAC is the highest appellant body regarding academic decisions. Currently, the Senate’s executive committee chooses all candidates within the SAC. In November, the SFUO accused the Senate of violating the nomination procedure by appointing a representative to the SAC without their consultation.
Hynes said that while the policy might not supersede current by-laws, it would give the SFUO more weight and leverage in selecting the undergraduate students’ seat on the SAC. Hynes previously called the Senate’s decision “really unfair” to the SFUO.
A need-based grant also passed. This year, Marquis’ 101 Week expenses came in under budget, and it was proposed the remaining funds go to the students.
“We don’t have this opportunity often,” Stojanovic said. “We should take advantage while we have it.”
Not all were in favour of the grant. Roy didn’t want to set forth the precedent of “creating a scholarship fund based on bad funding.” She believed the fund was inconsistent and the SFUO would “not be able to give away the money.”
Roy proposed the SFUO commit money aside for an emergency grant, which would go toward international students and those who can’t apply to the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) but are in need of extra funds.
Hynes agreed with Roy and said a “need-based fund would be more pertinent and dependable.”
There were discussions of creating a permanent need-based grant later on, but the motion passed only for this year.
Toilet paper reform
Stojanovic brought forth a motion for toilet paper reform at the U of O, which passed.
The board had some laughs during the discussion, but Stojanovic wanted to “increase the comfort of the average student” and cited hygienic issues to be a point of concern for students. He mentioned the “Shit uOttawa Says” YouTube video during his presentation. The video infamously made fun of the school’s low-grade toilet paper.
Desnoyers asked questions on behalf of Nicolette Addesa, BOA representative for the Faculty of Arts, with regards to the toilet paper reform. She asked what constitutes two-ply and said toilet paper quality differs depending on the building.
The toilet paper motion saw no debate and went straight to a vote before it was carried.