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Two motions to be presented at the SFUO’s Nov. 6 BOA meeting would reduce the power of the GA if enacted. Photo: CC.

U of O student organizes protest over content in motions

The Nov. 6 meeting of the Student Federation of the University of Ottawa (SFUO)’s Board of Administration (BOA) will see motions to reduce the power of the General Assembly (GA), according to an advance copy of the motions made available to BOA members before each meeting, which was obtained by the Fulcrum.

“This motion that is going before the BOA is a sign of a lack of interest in having a better student government at the University of Ottawa,” said Jordan Kent, a first-year political science student at the U of O who was also made aware of the upcoming motions, in an interview with the Fulcrum.

In response to hearing of these motions, Kent has organized a protest that will take place during the BOA meeting. The event page tells students that it’s “time to stand up for our rights, and to tell the SFUO that we will not tolerate our voices being silenced and ignored.” Kent also posted about the issue on his Facebook page.

These motions come a week before the SFUO’s fifth GA, which is set to take place on Nov. 12.

The first motion is to abolish section 3.13.4 in the SFUO constitution, which reads, “General Assemblies act as the highest decision making body of the SFUO.”

The second motion is to amend section 3.13.10.4 of the constitution, which currently reads, “All amendments to SFUO by-laws or policies will require two-thirds (2/3) of votes cast (at the GA) in order to be successful.”

The proposed revision states that “All amendments to the SFUO by-laws or policies that receive 2/3 support of the General Assembly will require ratification by 2/3 of the directors at the Board of Administration in order to be successful.”

This second motion would mean that any motions adopted at the GA would have to be adopted by a two-thirds majority at the BOA.

“This motion is going to kill student engagement at the SFUO level, and personally I find it appalling,” said Kent. “Students should really be taking up the cause and realizing ‘I think there’s a lot at stake if I allow the BOA to vote for this.’”

Section 3.1.10.7.2 of the constitution reads that “Motions seeking the adoption or amendment of a policy or to propose any action require a simple majority support of directors present and voting.” Only motions that seek to adopt or amend a bylaw, or to adopt or amend a budget require a 2/3 majority.

The advance copy of the motions does not say who brought these motions forward. However, both were filed under a broader group called “Corporate Maintenance Report Motions,” which contains a total of 10 motions.

The SFUO did not respond to the Fulcrum’s request for comment by the time of publication.

When any motion is brought forward at the BOA meetings, there is a period of debate, and BOA members will be able to vote on any amendments to the motion, meaning that motions can be changed before they are voted on. The board would then vote on whether or not the motions pass.

The BOA meeting takes place on Nov. 6 at 1 p.m. in SITE C0136. Meetings are open to the public.