SFUO says it’s open to changes
Some students are calling on the Student Federation of the University of Ottawa (SFUO) to reform its clubs system, which has received criticism from some clubs about some communications and funding procedures. The 175 clubs range from rock climbing to starcraft—there’s even a quidditch club.
“There are different guidelines to creating a new club,” said Nicole Maylor, vice-president equity of the SFUO and overseer of the clubs service. Creators must get at least 15 people to sign up, create a constitution, and pay a $35 fee. They must then go through an interview process and clubs training. The training took place over the weekend of Nov. 21.
One of the issues raised was communication and registration times. “It takes longer than I think it should, and there’s never really any confirmation that you’re registered,” said Chris Chan, president of the University of Ottawa rock climbing club, who has gone through the process several times over the past few years.
However this isn’t the case for all clubs, Catherine Morin-Ricard, vice-president communications of the U of O Quidditch club, said they didn’t have trouble registering, although they have had trouble contacting the clubs office.
Maylor said she welcomes these comments and wants to tackle the issue. “I think it’s definitely a valid concern, we’re always working on ways to improve the clubs system to make sure all of them get replied to,” she said.
According to Maylor, the clubs office includes the clubs coordinator, Gwen Madiba, a full-time SFUO employee, a part-time clubs assistant, as well as Maylor herself, who oversees the clubs office.
Another issue is the funding process and reimbursement, which Chan says can take a long time. “It sucks that an individual, especially a student, is in the hole $500 for three months when they were expecting to get it back in two weeks,” he said.
“It takes a long time to get funding, but we usually get the amount of funding we are asking for, so they’re good with giving out funds.” said Morin-Ricard.
Maylor said steps are being taken to reduce the strain on employees of the clubs office, including online room booking, which was instituted last year. “That alleviates the work off of the clubs office, and puts it more into the hands of the students,” she said.
One other issue is what the funding can be used for. “That money can’t be used for anything permanent, I can’t buy any assets,” said Chan. As a rock climbing club member, he says he would want to buy equipment, but the current rules don’t allow it.
Maylor says that the clubs office is aware of this issue. “We actually are right now looking into those rules, and making sure that they’re up to date,” said Maylor.
No specific date was given for any changes to be implemented.