SFUO vice-president finance uncertain if he will remain in position
The recent Student Federation of the University of Ottawa (SFUO) Board of Administration (BOA) meeting took place on Sunday, Aug. 13, which saw discussion on the Charlottesville protests, 101 Week, and the position of the vice-president finance.
The meeting began as usual with updates from the executive members. A new online clubs registration system was put in place, and has been in effect since Aug. 10. All existing clubs must register again, and follow new the guidelines by the federation.
U-Pass distribution has also been revamped, where students can reload their 2016-17 cards using one of the machines located around campus. The system is set to be in full effect on Aug. 21.
Motion on Charlottesville protests
A proxy for Caroline Lu, a representative for the Faculty of Sciences, brought forward a motion for the SFUO to “publish an official statement condemning the hateful and violent acts that have occurred in Charlottesville, Virginia” to show solidarity with those impacted by the protests.
Vice-president equity Leila Moumouni-Tchouassi proposed an amendment stating that “the SFUO look into providing the solidarity Cville anti-racist legal fund with a donation of an amount determined by the SFUO.”
The motion was seconded by president Hadi Wess.
Some members of the board raised concerns about where the money would be coming from—specifically, if it would be out of students’ pockets. However, Wess said that there is “an allocated section of the budget for stuff like this.”
The board then moved to vote on the motion with Moumouni-Tchouassi’s amendment, which passed.
2017-18 priority report
Wess proceeded to discuss the SFUO’s 2017-18 priority report, which lists the short- and long-term goals for the federation.
Some items on the report include:
Rebranding with the new logo, which has seen its first change in 50 years; Advocating for town hall meetings, a forum for students to meet the execs and ask questions;
Advocating for free feminine hygiene products to be available across campus;
Enforcing essential training for first-year to protect against sexual assault;
Mental health awareness and sexual violence campaigns to take place in the fall;
A mural on campus representing the U of O’s Indigenous community;
Advocating for a bigger prayer area to accommodate for the growing Muslim community on campus.
The board passed the priority report, which will be posted on the SFUO’s website.
Budget and position of vice-president finance
The budget, which was set to be presented to the board at this meeting, was pushed forward due to concerns by Faculty of Arts representative Tristan Lamonica that it was not brought to the finance committee ahead of time. Standard procedure is that the budget must be reviewed and approved by the finance committee at a meeting prior to its presentation to the board.
According to Lamonica, the board also received the budget one hour prior to the meeting, and not with the original motions package.
A subsequent meeting has been scheduled for Wednesday, Aug. 30 for the budget presentation.
Vice-president finance Rizki Rachiq then brought forward a motion regarding the eligibility of his position, and that it be changed from a one-year elected position to a three-year fixed-term contract and appointed by the board. He also said he was unsure of how he would proceed with his role.
“I don’t know what will happen to me, if I resign in September or October before by-elections,” said Rachiq.
The motion will have to go through two readings before being voted on, and due to time constraints, was moved to a later meeting.
101 Week took up a significant portion of the meeting, with bracelet cutting as one of the first items. Guidelines were set regarding the various circumstances under which a bracelet is cut, which are as follows:
- for a 101er: they may no longer participate for the remainder of 101 Week, but may participate in future 101 Weeks as a Guide once completing guide trainings.
- for a Guide: they may no longer participate for the remainder of 101 Week and in future 101 Weeks.
- for a Federated Body Executive, Safety Ambassador, and/or 101 Crew Member: they may no longer participate for the remainder of 101 Week and future 101 Weeks. These members may also not be eligible to run for SFUO or Federated Body elections pending the decision of the 101 Council.
- for a UOSERT Member, penalties shall be the at the discretion of the UOSERT Advisory Board.
- The 101 Council may add disciplinary measures to the above-mentioned penalties but may not reduce.”
According to the SFUO constitution, Take Back the Night is a mandatory event for federated bodies to attend, and in order to promote a high turnout, Moumouni-Tchouassi proposed a motion which reads:
“Federated bodies and other groups approved by the SFUO may not schedule events that would conflict with the mandatory events listed in 10.2.2.2 and must ensure that any other events during their 101-week schedule do not prevent the maximum number of students from participating in the mandatory events. Fed bodies that fail to do this will subject themselves to a 25% penalty on their first levies after a unanimous vote of the executive. Federated bodies excused in paragraph 10.2.2.2.1 are not subject to this paragraph”
“This isn’t meant to penalize students, it’s meant to ask fed bodies and their executives and their guides to take this event seriously,” said Moumouni-Tchouassi, as Take Back the Night raises awareness on gender-based violence.
“This is a very serious issue that continues to be very dangerous to students … and a lot of the time they are not given the resources, knowledge, or tools to properly take care of themselves or each other,” she continued.
After much debate the motion was passed.
The board then saw a motion brought forward on meeting quorum, which is currently set at fifty per cent of directors plus one. The new clause adds that in exceptional circumstances,“the Board of Administration which has quorum can vote on reducing the quorum to forty percent (40%) plus one for the remainder of the session.”
The motion passed.
“This is not a band-aid solution,” said Kathryn LeBlanc, vice-president of services and communications, who went on to explain that it is difficult to meet quorum during exam days and on days when board members are generally unavailable.
The next BOA meeting will take place on Wednesday, Aug. 30 for the budget presentation. Meetings are open to the public.
Note: A previous version of this article stated that the motion on Charlottesville protests was brought by Shawn Philip Hunsdale. It was actually brought by a proxy for Faculty of Sciences representative Caroline Lu. We regret the error.