Board votes to approve budget, motions
The Board of Administration (BOA) interrupted their summer vacation for the monthly gathering of the board on July 17. In what some members called the most efﬁcient meeting of the year, several motions were discussed and passed. The Fulcrum wraps up the top motions and policy changes into one convenient package.
2011–12 budget approved
SARAH JAYNE KING, the Student Federation of the University of Ottawa’s (SFUO) vp finance, presented the projected budget for the upcoming academic year. The presentation also detailed actual spending from the previous fiscal year. After some discussion, the budget was approved by the BOA.
One of the largest discrepancies between projected and actual spending last year was 101 Week expenditures. Although about $85,000 was allocated for 2010–11, $230,000 was spent.
“101 Week is definitely one of the budgets that generally goes over. It’s a huge undertaking,” said King. “This year it went over by a considerable amount more than it should have, mostly due to a lack of following of approval processes by the last vp social.”
King said more planning, organization, and cost-cutting will take place in preparation for this year’s 101 Week, with $148,000 set aside for the week’s events.
The SFUO also plans to devote more resources to advertising and campaigns, despite under-spending in these areas by about $30,000 last year.
“Last year was a one-time under-spending [on campaigns] in terms of the last many years,” said King. This year’s campaign spending will focus on provincial elections, business promotions, and other ventures.
Another priority for the SFUO is increasing the revenues of student-run businesses Café Alt and 1848, both of which finished the 2010–11 year off in the red. Campus bar 1848 will try to reel in customers with an improved menu and more drink specials, while Café Alt will focus on catering opportunities.
Although the budget was approved, Brendon Andrews, BOA representative for the Faculty of Social Sciences, abstained from the vote.
“Overall, I could not vote for a budget that involves exuberant spending, especially concerning the Drop Fees campaign,” wrote Andrews in an email to the Fulcrum. “I feel student money could be spent more effectively.”
The budget will be published on the SFUO website in the upcoming weeks, said King.
Bilingualism a priority for SFUO
IN A UNANIMOUS vote, the Board of Administration passed a bilingualism motion put forth by VP Communications Paige Galette. She hopes the motion will reflect current SFUO initiatives.
“I noticed that in our own constitution there is nothing making the SFUO have an official stance on inequalities on campus when it comes to post-secondary education,” explained Galette. “[This motion] is mostly keeping the university accountable to all of the marketing processes it makes to all of the students.”
Galette has been on the receiving end of many bilingualism complaints, specifically issues regarding quality of education, language of textbooks, and course selection. Another outlet for language complaints is the SFUO’s Bilingualism Centre, a service critical in ensuring this motion is put into action.
“Within the Bilingualism Centre itself, we started with the campaign against linguistic discrimination,” reported Galette. “The response was very positive last year; it was more about creating awareness on campus. This year, we’re taking action—how we’re going to do that, we’re not quite sure yet.”
Although a concrete plan detailing how to make the motion a reality hasn’t been worked out yet, Galette remains optimistic.
“In terms of the SFUO, the BOA meeting just happened—we haven’t had the chance to sit down and see what are the action plans,” said Galette. “Hopefully moving forward, [we can] build solutions for not only the SFUO, but also can find solutions we can propose to the university.”
The SFUO motion put forward three stances: they are in favour of equal access to all students to study in their language of choice; they are in favour of working with professors on this issue; and they are not in favour of textbooks assigned in a language different from that in which the course is offered.
Affiliations during elections allowed
ONE OF THE motions on the table dealt with affiliations, or slates, in the SFUO elections. Put forward by Tasha Peters, BOA representative for the Faculty of Social Sciences, the motion enables students to campaign together during elections.
“For people to say who they want to work with is really important,” said Peters.
According to the motion, candidates don’t have to affiliatehttp://fulcrum.hotink.net/images/blank_file_icon.png?1290486395. Affiliated or not, candidate names will appear individually on the ballots, and finances cannot be shared among group members.
“The [Graduate Students’ Association] uses this system,” said Peters “It’s something that’s a widespread practice.”
A similar proposal was voted down by the BOA last year; however, the motion carried despite some concerns raised about the financial details of the policy change. Andrews brought up the issue of cost splitting, a practice that could give affiliated groups an unfair advantage over independent candidates.
“Cost splitting is something along the lines of ‘I’m going to get a poster with you and I’m going to save tons of money because we’re going to split the cost equally,’” said Andrews during the meeting.
The BOA decided to leave the details of the motion, including concerns regarding cost splitting, up for interpretation by the electoral committee, who deals with election rules and regulations.