Migration to Microsoft suite and busy schedule to blame says Gulliver
Keen observers of the University of Ottawa Students’ Union (UOSU) may have noticed the Union has not updated its Google Drive since the end of the 2020-21 academic year. Students have not been able to access any public documents pertaining to the UOSU’s 2021-22 Board of Directors (BOD). This includes meeting minutes, subcommittee minutes and Executive Committee members’ officer reports which were public in the Union’s first two years of existence.
According to Tim Gulliver, the UOSU’s president, the Union has migrated to Microsoft suite to follow suit with the university’s transition to Outlook in 2020-21. Technical challenges when it comes to embedding the suite with the Union’s website and a busy schedule for Gulliver have delayed the process.
“We have been working on ensuring that the Microsoft suite products can be embedded well into our website, so the documents that the board has can be published,” said Gulliver in an interview with the Fulcrum.
“There have been some challenges, but it’s a live file which I haven’t fixed for the past couple months, and so we’re really hoping that in the next few weeks, at least for the next board meeting, the documentation will be fully shared fully transparently.”
“The initial timeline [to make the documents on Microsoft suite public] was for the meeting that just happened on Sunday [Sept. 26]. It didn’t happen and that’s my fault. I just got busy. But I’m hoping to have that by the next meeting.”
The UOSU’s next BOD meeting is scheduled to be held on Sunday, Oct. 24. At the time of publication, the documents are yet to be embedded on the Union’s website. Gulliver says the union does not plan on publishing any new documents in the near future on Google Drive.
“We’re not using Google Drive for pretty much anything. So that means they haven’t been updated,” said Gulliver.
In spite of this, Gulliver said he and the union are committed to transparency and good governance.
“It’s one of the things that I campaigned on and it’s a very important issue for me. If students give us a few more weeks. I think they’ll find that it’s more organized than it ever has been and more accessible than ever. It just needs to be embedded into the website,” said Gulliver.
The fact remains that without the public documents, it is hard for students who have not attended BOD meetings or met directly with their representatives to keep up with the work the union has done since May. How can you hold your representatives accountable for their work, if you don’t know what they do?
Hailey Kang is a fourth-year communications student at the University of Ottawa and she believes this is problematic. She says it is important for her to know what the people she voted for are doing and advocating for.
“I think the student union should be making these kinds of things accessible to everyone and we should have been made aware about it,” she told the Fulcrum.
She is not the only student to be worried about the unavailability of these documents. First-year biochemistry major Roman Marnere also expressed frustration with the Union.
“I’m in my first year so I don’t know too much about what the Board of Directors does and I didn’t know about this issue until recently. I guess I just assumed that this is something the Union would have been doing all along and not something that would need to be addressed. I hope they start uploading them soon, I would look at them,” said Marnere.
Responding to these student concerns, Gulliver said that the documents can be made available to them if they reach out personally to him or the chair of the BOD.
“Students are free to reach out to the chair, Paige Holland. We’ll be happy to share any and all documents. They’re fully available for the public record, it’s just a matter of getting them on the website physically, but everything there is freely shared so there’s no issue,” said Gulliver.
Those wishing to attend the UOSU’s next BOD meeting can also reach out to Gulliver or Holland for an invite. There, Gulliver and the rest of the UOSU Executive Committee will deliver their officer reports, present motions and deliver points of discussions for the BOD.