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The statement comes three days after El Huda's letter of resignation. Image: Rame Abdulkader/Fulcrum.
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Ines Nour El Huda “raised concerns of misogyny and Islamophobia” in her letter of resignation

The executive committee of the University of Ottawa Students’ Union (UOSU) released an official statement in response to former operations commissioner Ines Nour El Huda’s letter of resignation on Thursday afternoon.

On Monday night, El Huda announced that she was stepping down from her role on the UOSU executive in a letter sent to the Fulcrum by email. El Huda cited differences with other UOSU executives and mental exhaustion as the reasons behind her resignation. 

In her resignation letter on Monday, El Huda detailed a number of alleged incidents that led her to resign including her being allegedly “alienated from the executive committee” as well as allegations of being excluded from meetings and “concerns of misogyny and Islamophobia.”

“I had raised concerns of misogyny and Islamophobia to the attention of the UOSU, following problems in a set of different meeting settings,” wrote El Huda in her three-page letter to the Fulcrum. “For example, there was pressure and the expectation of us working above the expected hours as stated in the constitution, even on religious events and holidays throughout Ramadan and even on Eid.”

In the official statement signed collectively by all members of the union’s executive on Thursday, the union recognized El Huda’s struggles.

“Before we go further, we wish to acknowledge Nour’s viewpoint and lived experience. Regardless of the reason, burnout is terrible,” wrote the executive committee of the UOSU in their letter to the U of O undergraduate student body. 

“The work of student governance is incredibly stressful, especially given the crisis on campus of systemic racism that is a reality for too many members of our uOttawa community. It is especially dangerous for racialized members of the community who face added barriers and challenges in navigating our institutions, often facing a lack of support and of resources.”

“Nour was elected as an executive of the UOSU based on her capabilities and the wide range of experiences and perspective that she brought to the table. We, however, understand that her health is paramount and should be given priority in this unprecedented health crisis.”

As a result of the public allegations, the union said it “will retain a neutral third-party investigator” to investigate the allegations detailed by El Huda in her letter. 

“Nour is absolutely right to state that a toxic workplace environment, misogyny and Islamophobia should not be tolerated within any workplace, let alone within the UOSU.”

“We have heard Nour’s serious concerns about the conduct of some executives of the UOSU. While we part ways with the recitation of the facts of various incidents, we take the allegations seriously.”

“Effective immediately, the UOSU will retain a neutral third-party investigator. The role of the neutral third-party investigator is to (1) investigate the allegations of discrimination, harassment, or lack of governance, (2) provide an unbiased opinion as to whether the allegations occurred, and (3) provide recommendations as to what can be done to remedy the misconduct if found.”

“We agree with Nour that the UOSU’s work environment ought to be investigated to provide recommendations and ensure that all present and future executives can safely perform the functions that they were elected to do.”