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Letter expresses full support of SFUO contract termination

The student representatives on the University of Ottawa’s Board of Governors and Senate announced their support for termination of the agreement with the Student Federation of the University of Ottawa (SFUO), and called for an online vote to decide which student government will be subsequently recognized.

This Oct. 18 statement follows a recent Board of Administration (BOA) meeting, in which nine motions relating to governance and accountability were passed. However, the letter recognizes that “these actions were taken in light of the recent termination of the agreement.”

The letter highlights a series of recommendations for a new student union: a constitution that can only be amended at an annual General Assembly with a majority vote, elections managed by an independent third party, a model of governance which includes mechanisms for punitive action should trust be breached, and accountability to its membership.

Ultimately, the letter calls for an online vote which would give students the choice of which student government would be recognized following the termination of the SFUO contract. In addition, they ask that the vote should include the SFUO, regardless of their ongoing negotiations with the university, and all other all student unions who have satisfied negotiations with the administration. Following the vote, the representatives state their desire to have the university assist in the first election of the board members and executives of a student union.

Further, the letter claims the federation showed a “lack of interest on behalf of the Board of Administrators to keep executives accountable to the general membership of the organization,” citing the BOA’s choice to keep the forensic audit private, the vote against suspending the executives named in the allegations, and the retention of signing authority by Axel Gaga and Vanessa Dorimain.

The student representatives also raised issue with Gaga sitting on the constitutional committee which determined the scope of the audit, and Dorimain chairing a portion of the August BOA meeting.

The representatives reiterated their firm support for student representation, and stated that they hope to see no time period without a formal student government. However, it expresses confidence in the university to establish adequate temporary measures in the event of a period with no recognized federation.

The letter confirms that the scope of the ongoing forensic audit does not include executive spending and that the U of O first learned of the allegations in June  2018.

The letter was written and signed by the following  student representatives: Jamie Ghossein, Saada Hussen, Kevin Kwok, Emily Prieur, Alex Harrison, Varis Gupta, Mark Ingham, Sarah Affany, and David Gallo.