Voting is currently open for the UOSU’s General Elections and will close at 11:59 p.m. tonight. Image: Hailey Otten/Fulcrum
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Three events were held on March 5: Here’s what you missed

The Fulcrum continued its four-day series of student election conversations and debates on March 5 with debates for the positions of operations commissioner and student life commissioner on the University of Ottawa Students’ Union’s (UOSU) Executive Committee. 

Saturday’s events then concluded with a question and answer session for the Francophone affairs commissioner position. 

Operations Commissioner

Nouria Sawadogo, the current operations commissioner, is seeking re-election to “finish what she started.” She is running a platform she titled “STRONG,” highlighting her six priorities: support, transparency, reliability, optimization, innovation, and growth. 

“There are so many things to do at the student union, and I think one year for me wouldn’t be enough to be able to bring all the changes that I want to see,” Sawadogo said. 

Ethan Coudenys, a second-year student in political science and history, is seeking to replace the incumbent. He currently holds the role of vice-president of finance for the History Students’ Association, as well as a position on the current Board of Directors of UOSU.

Coudenys’ main points in presenting his platform were fiscal responsibility and transparency, as well as better services for students, recognized student governments (RSGs), and student associations. 

Public apologies were made by Coudenys for false allegations made in his platform and on blog posts, concerning UOSU’s audits. The facts were misrepresented regarding the number of years missed in audits, and Sawadogo chose to inquire about this when she was given the opportunity to ask a question to her opponent.

“I acknowledged those complaints on Instagram and on my website and want to take a moment to again just apologize to the union and to the elections committee for those mishaps,” Coudenys said.

“In terms of the false information, I did write a blog post that was rather inflammatory and played a little bit loose with the facts. No excuses, it was a mistake to write that, and I wrote it in an impassioned moment and it probably shouldn’t have gone up on my website. Again, I apologize for that Nouria,” he continued.

Sawadogo’s goals for transparency include providing accessible information to students about where their money is going within the union. She hopes to continue her work to provide comprehensive budgets and emphasized her efforts in completing two audits between the beginning of her mandate and March 20, 2022.

Additionally, Sawadogo spoke to her current efforts in streamlining the communications between RSGs and associations. 

She also brought attention to her decision to move the VP finance’s audit deadline to a time of the year which is less crowded with academic deadlines in an effort to better accommodate the students. 

“My first point on my platform is support, and this goes in a big way to the student governments,” said Sawadogo.

Coudenys also wants to make himself accessible to the RSGs. He suggested monthly roundtable discussions every month with the respective VPs of finance.

“I think engaging specifically VPs of finance in the money roundtable is incredibly important every month. The main point of my platform on this subject is making sure I am accessible to student governments,” he said.

Student life commissioner

Erin Atkinson and Riccardo Saikali are the two candidates running for this role in the upcoming election. 

Saikali is a fifth-year science student, who currently holds the VP social affairs position in the Science Students’ Association. He previously held the vice-president philanthropy position.

Atkinson is in the final year of her studies in international development and modern languages. She currently is the vice-president of philanthropy at the International, Policy and Political Studies Student Association (IPPSSA). 

Atkinson has three main priorities in her platform: a hybrid format for events, philanthropy and support for students. 

Her platform focuses on how the pandemic affected the ability to socialize. She expressed a desire to accommodate both students who are not yet comfortable coming back in-person and those who may be ready in social events. 

“I’ve been really enjoying still being able to bring students some form of joy and some valuable experiences and connections, even though we are dealing with these really hard world things,” Atkinson said.

Saikali outlined five sections of his platform: philanthropy, collaboration with clubs and RSGs, self-improvement events, 101 Week, and having fun. He emphasized a more normal year for those who missed out due to the pandemic. 

“Essentially 101 Week is such a big and important thing for first years and I really want to go big next year if possible. And, the main thing I really want to focus on is getting the second and third years involved because those are the people that never got to have the university experience that everyone else did,” said Saikali.

Francophone affairs commissioner

Anjolina Hamel joined the Fulcrum for a one on one interview on Saturday evening. Her opponent Ratisbonne Mukadi Kazadi did not attend the session. 

Hamel highlighted her main priorities of decolonization of the French language on campus, expansion of resources for Francophones and the creation of a Francophone gathering area for students.

She touched on her experiences working in the union this past year on the Board of Directors, where she sat on many committees that she believes give her proper insights to begin in this new position. Hamel sat on the advocacy committee, the Francophone affairs committee, a temporary committee on communication and engagement, and the executive oversight committee. 

“To have that kind of balance between all the four committees I was a part of, and to have that experience is definitely going to help me develop as a Francophone affairs commissioner,” she said.

Additionally, she spoke to her personal experiences as a Francophone, who has lived in more than one province with a Francophone minority, and has been in many Francophone leadership positions. Hamel spoke on how this allows her to see the issues faced by students of different backgrounds. 

“To have those experiences and be a Francophone in a French school first hand, it also showed me the weight that the provincial government has on education in Ontario. And to recognize that it’s not only a pre-university level issue, but a university issue. It is important and I hope to translate that into my candidacy and my platform,” she said.

Hamel says she is ready to collaborate with RSGs and student associations to aim for a better experience for all Francophone Gee-Gees. 

Voting is currently open for the UOSU’s General Elections and will close at 11:59 p.m. tonight. 

Stay tuned for more elections coverage.