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Execs highlight need for unions, explain transition

The Student Federation of the University of Ottawa (SFUO) sent out their final newsletter on April 10, alerting students that their doors have officially closed, and bidding students farewell.

This comes after their farewell fair last week, where the SFUO offered students services such as free haircuts, food, and LinkedIn photos.

While the University of Ottawa Students’ Union (UOSU) is slated to take over on May 1, the newsletter states that the SFUO’s Board of Administration voted unanimously on March 31 to appoint an equitable court receiver who will handle the SFUO’s transition until that time.

The newsletter further directs students to contact the UOSU for all upcoming student needs.

As previously established, the University of Ottawa administration is taking over the distribution of the U-Pass, starting this summer.

The Agora Bookstore, which was not previously sought after by the UOSU according to the SFUO, will now also be revisited by the UOSU, who will be making an official statement regarding their decision this week.

The SFUO will continue with this past year’s health plan coverage by making payments to Green Shield until the end date of Aug. 31. However, they ask students to direct questions about next year’s health plan to the UOSU after April 30.

The newsletter, signed by Faduma Wais, acting vice-president of the SFUO, and Paige Booth, acting president of the SFUO, also stressed the importance of student unions and their prediction of unions’ future in light of the Ford government’s implementation of the Student Choice Initiative.

“With the recent announcement of the Ford government regarding the (Student Choice Initiative) we are seeing the direct attack our provincial government is taking on student unions and individual student autonomy,” they wrote.

“On this campus we witnessed (university) dministration split our student population apart with a forced uninformed referendum causing the loss of student jobs, businesses, services and student spaces.”

Wais and Booth further expressed their fear of losing student services.

“If we don’t pay close enough attention, we will keep losing very important student supports. We will continue to see huge increases in our tuition fees for both domestic and international students. We will see longer wait times (to) access mental health and counselling services. We will see increases in the prices of textbooks and fewer accommodations for exams.”

“This will all happen soon,” they claim.

Finally, the executives took the opportunity to thank students and volunteers.

“We love and thank all the students who supported the SFUO and those who criticized us,” they wrote.

“To the incoming executives and board of UOSU — best of luck! Your journey will not be easy but from experience it will be worth it.”