“I don’t have nine hours out of my Sunday to deal with the stupidity at this table,” James Daniels said as he resigned from his position on the student federation’s Board of Administration (BOA) at its latest meeting.
Daniels, who represented the Faculty of Arts for the Student Federation of the University of Ottawa (SFUO), said he was frustrated with the BOA, calling it “just a rubber stamp for the executives.” He was referring to the executive team comprised almost exclusively of Student Action slate members, which he said results in “several hours fighting against inevitable outcomes” at the meetings.
BOA meetings regularly last eight hours or more. Daniels said his other time commitments also played a role in his resignation.
SFUO president Anne-Marie Roy pointed out that it was Daniels’ first board meeting.
“I have a hard time feeling bad for the kid right now because he resigned and it was the first time he showed up to a board meeting,” she said.
The current SFUO board had two prior meetings during the summer, which Daniels said he was unable to attend due to prior commitments. He said that scheduling meetings in the summer was a deliberate attempt to limit opposition to the views of the SFUO executive team.
SFUO members have the option of selecting a proxy from their respective faculties to represent them at BOA meetings in the event that they cannot attend, which Daniels did not do during the two previous meetings.
Daniels said he felt uncomfortable expressing his opinion at the BOA.
“It’s not really a comfortable place for opposing viewpoints,” said Daniels. “Certainly, I felt uncomfortable at the last meeting when anti-Semitic views were expressed and Israel was called an apartheid state.”
Roy insisted no such language was used. “It’s dangerous to use language and label individuals who are opposed to the Israeli apartheid as anti-Semites,” said Roy. “I personally take a lot of offence to that.”
The BOA consists of 25 representatives elected by their respective faculties, one special student director appointed by a selection committee of the BOA, and the six executive members of the SFUO.
Five of the six executives are part of the Student Action slate, except vice-president of equity Maya McDonald, who ran as an independent.
“I’m sure that their hearts are in the right place. They clearly care about this school,” said Daniels. “But at the same time they do it in such an aggressive manner and in such a way they have such a disregard for people who express differing viewpoints.”