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The last General Assembly held in November was attended by less than 50 people. Photo: Marta Kierkus.

Second GA of academic year to be held on campus, feature six motions

The Student Federation of the University of Ottawa (SFUO) will be holding a General Assembly (GA) in Marion Auditorium on Tuesday, March 15 at 6 p.m. where students will have the opportunity to vote on motions around accommodating students, decertificaiton of misogynist groups on campus, and tougher bilingualism standards for SFUO executives.

This is the fourth time the SFUO will be hosting a GA over the past two years, but they have yet to meet quorum.

If quorum—one per cent of the undergraduate student population—is met, the GA will feature an update from SFUO executives, a budget update, question period, reading and voting for motions, and the announcement of the ratification of the SFUO election results.

If quorum is not met, the GA will feature only an executive update and a budget update before the meeting is closed.

According to the SFUO’s constitution, the General Assembly is the highest decision-making body in the SFUO.

For the first time, the U of O Senate ruled that students will receive academic amnesty—exemption from penalties related to missing class—to attend the GA. However, students who have tests, or assignments scheduled at that time will not receive academic amnesty.

Motions

There are six motions listed on the SFUO’s website that will be discussed and voted on if the GA meets quorum. This is up from the previous GA—which took place in November of last year—which saw no motions submitted.

1) Adoption of a centralized policy regarding accommodations and disability:

This motion would obligate the SFUO to campaign and petition the Board of Administration (BOA) and Board of Governors of the university to implement a “comprehensive, centralized policy regarding disabilities and accommodations for the student body.”

2) Dining hall regulations:

This motion calls on the SFUO to lobby Food Services and the U of O administration to “eliminate barriers to entry at the new dining hall, including but not limited to, re-entry at meal-time changes, banned bags and backpacks, and limited access to students without meal plans.”

3) Emergency student hardship fund:

This motion states that “circumstances may arise where students require emergency financial assistance.” To respond to this, it calls for the vice-president finance of the SFUO to create an “emergency hardship fund”. It also stipulates that the money for the fund be allocated during the August meeting of the BOA.

4) Motion for mandatory BOA attendance at General Assemblies:

This motion stipulates that members of the BOA be required to attend GAs, and that an absence from the GA be treated the same as an absence from a BOA meeting. After two unexplained absences from these meetings, BOA members would automatically be removed from their positions.

5) Motion for the decertification and removal of misogynist groups on campus:

This motion calls on the SFUO to help “ban of male supremacist groups (including so called ‘Men’s Rights Activists’) from organizing on our campus, both as clubs recognized by the SFUO and unaffiliated clubs using campus buildings for meetings.”

It mentions one group in particular, the Canadian Association for Equality, which has been banned from the Ryerson University campus.

6) Promoting bilingualism among SFUO executives:

This motion would amend the SFUO Constitution and alter the eligibility criteria for the positions of vice-president finance, vice-president equity, and vice-president social, so that the candidate must be “bilingual, that is to say, achieves a grade of three (3) out of four (4) on the reading test and five (5) out of five (5) on the oral test in both official languages.”

Currently, these positions require a two out of four on the reading test and a four out of five on the oral test.

This last motion comes after questions arose over French testing standards for SFUO executive candidates, after some candidates for executive positions had noticeable problems speaking French in the election debates.

Meeting with the Revolutionary Students Movement

At the end of the last GA, the SFUO said it would meet with the Revolutionary Students Movement (RSM), the group which introduced the referendum question that brought  about GAs in the first place, about ways to improve the GA.

According to Danik Dozet, member of the RSM, the meeting was centered on promoting the GA, though he thinks more could have been accomplished.

“I’m pretty disappointed with the amount of effort they’ve put into it considering the resources and staff they have,” he said. “GAs will only work if students bring forward motions and get involved, but for that to happen they need to know about them.”

The SFUO could not be reached for comment before publication.