Anne-Emilie Hebert was officially named the new president of the SFUO at the Board of Administration (BOA) meeting on Nov. 15.
The Board voted 14-6 with one abstention to ratify the results of the second by-election, where Hebert was elected on a “yes-no” ballot by a count of 100-86. The second by-election was called solely for the president position, since the first one didn’t offer a “yes-no” ballot for Hebert, who was the only candidate in the running.
“We received a report at the previous BOA that they wanted to have a second by-election, and the board voted yes to that,” said vice-president services and communications Roméo Ahimakin. “Every measure and requirement that the constitution requires was put in place so that the president position could be voted on by all students all over campus.”
Those who voted “no” voiced concerns over the low voter turnout, and lack of accessibility for certain faculties.
“When you only have 100 people out of almost 40,000 students voting for their student federation, each one of those votes makes a big difference,” said Emile Hashem, BOA representative for the Faculty of Medicine, during the meeting.
He said this combined with a lack of accessibility for medical students led to them having less of a voice in student politics.
Proponents of ratification argued that every effort was made to accommodate all students.“The turnout was what it was, but I think it’s fair to say that the students who went out and voted made a clear choice,” said Ahimakin. “It’s important to realize that was a democratic vote.”
Despite the debate, Hebert said she is excited to start her new job.
“I am very happy to join such an amazing team and continue the great work that have started,” Hebert said in an email. “I am hoping to bring valuable input to the discussions around the table and also support my fellow executives as best as I can.”
In addition to swearing in the new president, the board ratified the results of the failed health-care referendum.
Also on the agenda for the meeting was updating the constitution of the University of Ottawa Student Emergency Response Team (UOSERT), an on-campus first aid service made up of students.
There was also a motion to abolish slates, groups of candidates running under the same banner, in SFUO elections, but it was defeated.
Another motion sought to update the SFUO constitution to include a mandate to research and eventually establish online voting in SFUO elections.
The motion was tabled until the next BOA meeting, on Dec. 6.