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Photo: Eric Davidson.

Other motions include additions to SFUO constitution

The Student Federation of the University of Ottawa (SFUO) held their monthly Board of Administration (BOA) meeting on Sunday, Feb. 18 following the 2018 general election.

2018 general election report

Members of the SFUO elections committee gave updates on the elections report in detail. They discussed updating the website to allow for complaints and proxy voters to submit information directly online. They also touched on elections rebranding, incentivizing students to vote through competitive pledges and free coffee at Cafe Nostalgica, and mentioned that this year’s election saw the second highest voter turnout since 2012.

They also talked about their choice of paper ballots as a commitment to transparency, as they ran into some issues with electronic voting in the past, as well as the introduction of a Meet and Greet event for candidates to talk to students prior to the election debates.

The committee further discussed issues such as running out of ballots at certain polling stations, and the steps they took to try and fix these problems, including a system to replace ballots.

The elections committee further took measures to “restore faith in the elections office,” like making sure ballots were stored in a locked storage room off campus and that multiple people were counting each ballot.

Faculty of Social Sciences representative Philippe Garcia-Duchesne, who ran unsuccessfully for to be SFUO president on the Solutions slate, raised some concerns with the report, such as polling stations being moved without 24 hours notice as per the SFUO constitution, polling stations being opened two hours late, candidate profiles not being visible on the SFUO website, and questioning whether or not names on the ballot were in alphabetical order.

Qussai Abu-Naqoos, the chief electoral officer (CEO) responded that the names on the ballots were listed alphabetically by last name, clarifying that polling stations were not moved to different buildings, rather in more accessible locations within the same buildings, and that the website designer was sick and therefore unavailable to update the website with candidate profiles. He also mentioned that certain polling stations like those at Roger Guindon Hall were opened later than others to better accommodate students.

Hadi Wess, current SFUO president, commented on the “levels of ignorance” within the student body regarding the elections process. He also stated that members of the SFUO contribute to the misunderstanding and bullying by commenting on elections posts on the SFUO Facebook page. He also made it clear that if anyone “(thinks) there is election fraud going on then (they) have three options,” which he listed as follow:

  1. Send an email to the elections office and ask questions at elections@sfuo.ca
  2. Send an email to the elections committee at chairperson.elections@sfuo.ca
  3. Show up to the BOA meetings and ask questions

Vice-president finance Rizki Rachiq, also incoming SFUO president, spoke on the issue of cyber bullying, referring to a Facebook page called Beloved SFUO overlords, which posts memes about members of the SFUO and the 2018 election. Rachiq claimed that Protection services is aware of the page and of some board members who he says are involved and engaged by liking posts on that Facebook page. He also mentioned feeling attacked on the page due to certain posts which published photos from his personal social media accounts.

“If requested, Protection will come to the board and talk to members involved,” he said. “You’re not going to take my photos and meme them like I’m your Sunday night show and laugh at me.”

Following this, the BOA voted in favour of the motion to accept the election results and destroy the ballots.

Motion to update the SFUO constitution

Wess proposed a motion for a change to be added in the SFUO constitution as bylaw 11.22 regarding training for federated bodies. The motion, which states that its purpose is to maintain a “productive and constructive relationship with federated bodies”, consists of adding a section to the constitution called Leader Action regarding mandatory training for federated bodies of the SFUO in an effort to improve their relationship with executives.

Wess also clarified that this motion would exclude medical and education fed bodies as their elections take place later on in the year.

An amendment proposed by Faculty of Social Sciences representative Cori Trandafir to have the motion read “and SFUO executives are mandated to attend this training,” was passed.

Faculty of Social Sciences representative Matthew Boulden also proposed an amendment to include “be it further resolved that incoming BOA members are allowed to participate in Leader Action,” into the motion. After some debate, this was adopted, as was the final motion initially proposed by Wess.

Executive updates

Wess mentioned that the next General Assembly will be taking place on March 13 at 6:30 p.m. in alumni auditorium.

He also apologized for the lack of presidents and social roundtables that he said he was unable to host for the past few months due to work pressure, and said he will be hosting them again shortly.

Vice-president services and communications Kathryn Leblanc also talked about elections rebranding which was done to be more appealing to voters, and she said it was inspired in part by Carleton University’s Student Association.

Moumouni-Tchouassi addressed the success of various Black History Month events such as the Black Hair Workshop. She also mentioned upcoming events like the annual Black History Month Gala which will take place on Feb.27, a panel on being black in post secondary institutions on Feb. 28, and the black market which will take place on March 15 and March 20. She mentioned rescheduling games night and the potluck that was planned for Black History Month as well and said it will now take place in March.   

Moumouni-Tchouassi also said she heard from students about the need for more black femme discussion groups, and said she’s working on creating weekly workshops.

For clubs, Moumouni-Tchouassi said that she has a backlog of bank letters to sort through and she has been trying to keep up with the online system which hasn’t been working. She also said that she will be extending the clubs semester into the summer semester to make up for some lost time.

Another part of Moumouni-Tchouassi’s update mentioned the “elections post from hell,” referring to the SFUO’s Facebook post releasing the unofficial results of the 2018 general election.

“Things happen, events happen and we react… one thing that has come up a lot is the overtly negative and sometimes anti-identity comments,” she said, adding that the SFUO is looking into making better policies to combat cyber bullying.

Following vice-president university affairs Axel Gaga’s report, Rachiq gave his updates regarding requests from federated bodies for their second audit, and getting updated numbers ready for the General Assembly in March.

He also discussed working with companies like Greenshield to improve the health program and to get a Gardasil vaccine to be included in the student health plan.

Rachiq then mentioned the Fulcrum’s article regarding complaints from SFUO employees about their working conditions. Rachiq said that “HR was exposed in a way that wasn’t relevant,” and that “it came forward during a sensitive moment which was the elections.”

He also added that human resources staff go through training and that “if anyone is disciplined or fired, (they) go over a process…and sometimes ask lawyers if (they’re) doing the right thing.”

“If you have any questions regarding the HR process, or any training we went over, you can send me an email,” Rachiq concluded.

A live-stream of the Feb.18 BOA meeting can be found on the SFUO’s Facebook page.