SFUO cites bylaw issue as reason for dismissal
The Student Federation of the University of Ottawa’s (SFUO) General Assembly will feature six motions—up from none at the last one—but there’s one motion that didn’t make the cut.
Justin Patrick, a third-year political science and history student at the U of O, along with others who asked not to be named, submitted a motion to abolish the SFUO executive coordinator position. He said when the group learned about the position, they grew worried by what they found.
“It got more and more mysterious, and it seemed worse and worse,” said Patrick, who is concerned that the position is not elected, calling it “undemocratic.”
Though no description of the position is available on the SFUO website, vice-president services and communications Roméo Ahimakin described the executive coordinator’s duties, saying their role is mainly supporting the executives, and being an “institutional memory” for the team.
The executive coordinator position is currently held by Jesse Root, who was formerly the vice-president education at the Ryerson Students’ Union. He took over this year for Amy Hammett, a former vice-president of university affairs at the SFUO.
“He was there when we started our mandate, and he’ll be there for the next executive team as well,” said Ahimakin. “He can bring continuity.”
The motion cited concerns that details about the position are “inaccessible to students, being absent from the SFUO constitution,” and that the holder of the position is not required to be a student.
The executive coordinator position is mentioned once in the SFUO’s constitution, but no explanation of its responsibilities are given.
The motion cited other concerns as well, saying that the executive coordinator has control of hiring and that their role could be carried out using “alternative means that are less costly,” but the Fulcrum was unable to verify them in time for publication.
The motion resolved that “the executive coordinator position be abolished, and all its powers be deferred to the SFUO executive.” It also stipulated that this be done by a Board of Administration (BOA) committee, “with the inclusion of as many uOttawa students as possible.”
Although the motion was submitted on time with the required number of signatures, it was denied by the SFUO because it conflicted with a bylaw in their constitution.
Patrick was sent an email by Katherine Giroux-Bougard, chairperson of the BOA, stating that the motion was out of order, because the constitution delegates “all aspects on the management of all employees of the federation” to the executive. She stated that a motion about human resources would first have to change that bylaw.
“There is an email sent to the student submitting the motion explaining why the motion is not in order, and they can do the work of making sure to address it at the right body, or correct any details that are not right,” said Ahimakin.
Patrick said he’s accepted the decision. “We can’t really do a whole lot,” he said. He declined to comment on whether or not he would bring the concern forward again.