LAST SUNDAY, THE Board of Administration (BOA) passed a motion changing the Student Federation of the University of Ottawa (SFUO) executive for 2013–14. Many significant constitutional changes were made—including to the executive positions—without any consultation of the new executive or students.
Because students elect faculty representatives to the BOA, they don’t get much individual say in the tabled motions. The only way they can have their voice heard is by going to see said representatives and making their opinion clear.
But the BOA was not advertised anywhere, the motions to be tabled aren’t available to the public, and the general student population has little to no chance to contribute to the discussion—how can you talk about something you don’t know exists?
The BOA meetings aren’t even on the calendar so proudly displayed on Sfuo.ca. If I wasn’t the news editor of the Fulcrum, I would have no idea when the meetings take place, what will be discussed, or how I can get involved. And that is unacceptable, especially because students have expressed a desire to be more involved in student politics through the four per cent rise in voter turnout this year.
The SFUO is not using its Zoom video service to livestream the BOA, there is nobody—save for student publications—live-tweeting the meetings, or sending out emails with the agenda or meeting reminders to students. How can students be expected to be involved if they don’t know how they can participate in a huge part of the democratic process overlooking the student federation?
Be it through changing the mandate of BOA members, reaching out to students, or involving new media technologies to promote and include students in meetings and motions, something has to be done. For the most part, we have a positive, well-run organization, but we need to add more transparency and inclusivity if we’re truly going to be one of the best.