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SFUO referendum win adds service at cost of 75 cents per student per year

Photo courtesy of UOSERT

The University of Ottawa Student Emergency Response Team (UOSERT) will officially become the 12th student federation service after winning a referendum during the midterm by-election.

The referendum, presented to Student Federation of the University of Ottawa (SFUO) members in the Oct. 29–30 by-election, passed with 2,350 in favour and 410 against.

The new service will cost full-time undergraduate students 75 cents per year, and part-time students 40 cents per year, which will be adjusted according to inflation.

Starting in January, UOSERT will be dispatched 24/7 to respond to student emergencies. The team needs the extra funding in order to provide the service, said the club’s president, Imroze Shaheen, in an earlier interview with the Fulcrum.

“It’s really important we become a service, since we’ll be really busy come January, with or without the student levy,” Sheheen said.

In a statement UOSERT said they were “thrilled” with the outcome.

“We are well aware that the voter turnout for this referendum broke the record for a first-semester referendum and truly believe that this demonstrates that (U of O) students care about their safety,” read the statement.

During the two-day vote, 7.7 per cent of the undergraduate student body cast a ballot, the highest turnout ever for a first-semester referendum. Last year a referendum held in the fall semester proposing to implement general assemblies failed because it didn’t meet quorum (though it later passed in the SFUO general election). For a motion to pass, at least five per cent of the student body must vote.

The general election in February saw an 11.6 per cent voter turnout.

The SFUO’s Board of Administration (BOA) also welcomed a group of new members on Oct. 31. Sofia Morales beat out Emily McBain-Ashfield by a single vote to win the Faculty of Arts seat.

Morales’ plan is “to get all the voices that make up our faculty heard,” she said. “I want to hear what the students need and wish for, I don’t want anything ever dismissed off for a later time.”

Morales said she will lobby for increased funding for the Faculty of Arts and an analysis of the SFUO budget to ensure student dollars are put to good use.

The Faculty of Engineering elected Veronica Carpani, who ran unopposed. Julianna Scramstad, also unopposed, will represent the Faculty of Education. The Faculty of Medicine seat remains vacant.

Students also elected Philippe Giguère from the Faculty of Law to the Senate. Giguère earned 105 votes, more than James Trougakos and Brandon Silver.

“My first order of business is get everyone at the table and find ways to build a stronger relationship between both the civil law and common law sections,” said Giguère.

The Senate, which comprises both student representatives and faculty members, administers educational policies. Engineering and education faculty seats remain vacant.