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The Q&A. Screenshot: Charley Dutil/Fulcrum
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Rousselle is running to be UOSU’s next advocacy commissioner

The Fulcrum began its four-day series of student election conversations and debates last night with a Q&A with Chelsey-Lynn Rousselle.

Rousselle is entering their fifth year in political science with a minor in Francophone studies. They have been involved with recognized student governments (RSGs) throughout their studies, and served as president of the International, Political, and Policy Studies Student Association (IPPSSA) this year. After years of learning the gauntlet of student governmental institutions, they see the advocacy commissioner position as an opportunity to give back to the U of O community at large.

Health care

Throughout the Q&A, the issue discussed most was the accessibility to health care. 

“With the whole uncertainty with the health clinic and how the Byward health clinic, starting in May, will no longer be attached to the University of Ottawa and uOttawa planning its own health clinic/systems, I want to be on the foreground [sic] with addressing certain issues, especially in the field of mental health, that we’ve noticed and have been noticing and have been complaining about for years now. I want to make sure that those mistakes and discomforts that students feel aren’t recreated with the new health systems,” they said in the Q&A. 

Particular initiatives that they plan to advocate for include the reduction or, ideally, abolishment of medical notes. 

With the return to campus set to be complete by the fall term, Rousselle also thinks that the University needs to show more leniency and support for sick students by eliminating mandatory and graded attendance. Rousselle adds that these policies are discriminating against marginalized groups on campus, and especially students with disabilities and chronic illnesses.

In light of pandemic measures, Rousselle is in favour of mask mandates and hopes to lobby the University to provide masks as well as rapid tests in the new academic year. They are also in favour of continuing vaccine mandates on campus, but in line with provincial guidelines, they would like to see capacities in classrooms lifted.

Engagement in student governance 

As an RSG veteran, creating a greater engagement between RSGs and UOSU is also one of Rousselle’s priorities.

“There’s a lot of political science kids who like to get involved. And I think that’s great and very important, but I want to make sure that just because I’ve been used to my little faculty of social science people that I’m not ignoring other faculties and other student governments, so from the get-go, I want to touch base with the other student governments.”

They note that round tables will be essential to streamlining the communications between the different levels of student government. 

Code of Conduct

One aspect of UOSU’s advocacy that Rousselle thinks fell short this year was with regard to the controversial Code of Conduct

“We were within UOSU able to advocate strongly for an ad hoc committee 50 per cent comprised of students that would oversee how this committee was handled, which I was very happy and excited about,” said Rousselle. 

“But I think that it was a little disappointing, knowing that this has been an issue that has come up a couple times and that we were not able to squash it completely. The University still went forward with the Code of Conduct that only serves to further police students.”

Francophone affairs

As an Acadian, Francophone issues are close to Rousselle’s heart, and factor heavily into her priorities, dating back to their first position with IPPSSA as vice-president Francophone affairs. 

If elected, Rousselle intends to address the language disparity in terms of courses offered and professors hired.

“Something that I’ve often heard from faculty levels and the University administration is that they want to see the data of this disparity, so from the get-go, I think having surveys out to students is essential to bring those numbers back and be like, ‘Here’s the disparity, let’s figure out a solution for this.’ ” 

Their proposed solution involves greater student consultation in the hiring of professors, as exists in some departments across the University. 

Rousselle added that they intend to release their platform today. The voting period for this year’s student elections will stretch from March 9 to March 11.

Stay tuned for more election coverage.