Union also sets date for fall General Assembly, supports promoting climate crisis protest-strike
The Board of Directors (BOD) of the University of Ottawa Students’ Union (UOSU) met on Sunday afternoon where they appointed a second interim equity commissioner, set the date for the fall General Assembly, and supported promoting an upcoming climate crisis protest-strike.
Less than five students attended the meeting in Tabaret Hall, which got started just after noon.
First on the agenda was a motion from advocacy commissioner Sam Schroeder to appoint a new interim equity commissioner after the first person to hold the position, Arielle Lavallee, resigned in August for undisclosed reasons.
Candidate Judy El-Mohtadi, a criminology and women’s studies student, spoke briefly about her vision for the position before the motion was voted on.
“I will do my best to learn and unlearn the things I know to ensure my contributions to society and this position will be as equitable as possible,” she said.
El-Mohtadi added she would prioritize widespread anti-oppression training in the wake of the carding and handcuffing of a Black U of O student by campus security this summer. The BOD unanimously appointed El-Mohtadi with applause.
El-Mohtadi will serve until the union’s first byelection, which will take place sometime between Oct. 15 and Nov. 15, unless no other candidate runs for the position. If other names are on the ballot, El-Mohtadi can also run in the byelection.
The BOD then passed a motion from francophone affairs commissioner Natasha Roy to partner with the student movement La Planète s’invite à l’univeristé – Gatineau/Ottawa (LPSU) to promote a protest-strike on Sept. 27 at 10 a.m. outside Tabaret Hall.
The protest is seeking action from political candidates and elected officials on the climate crisis, including decarbonizing the economy, expediting the transition to renewable energy, and electrifying transportation. In solidarity with 16-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg, protestors from the U of O will march toward Confederation Park to meet with others and then head toward Parliament Hill, according to the motion.
The protest has the support of the Association of Professors of the University of Ottawa, who has asked professors “to not penalize students who (wish) to participate in the protest,” according to the motion.
Next, the BOD passed a motion from operations commissioner Rony Fotsing to create a full-time position for the union’s administrative coordinator. The person in the position will “assist the executive committee, the front desk and the board of directors,” the motion reads.
Last on the agenda was a motion from Schroeder to set a date for the union’s fall General Assembly (GA). The motion proposed the GA be held on Nov. 14 and if the date was picked, Schroeder said, the University Centre auditorium was booked. He then brought an amendment to set the time for 6 p.m.
Fotsing brought a second amendment to push the GA’s start time to 7 p.m., due to his overlapping class, but it ultimately failed. The board raised concerns the later time would mean fewer students would attend, and the original amendment to set the time for 6 p.m. passed.
A final amendment to push the meeting forward a week passed, along with the amended motion for the fall GA to be held on Nov. 7 at 6 p.m.
In his report, student life commissioner Seguya said the UOSU will host a Panda Game tailgate party in the Sandy Hill Arena and 45 Mann Residence parking lots, with shuttles to the game on Oct. 5. Seguya said the event will help reduce backlash from the Sandy Hill community due to the infamous Russell Street pre-game party. The tailgate also aims to lessen the strain the street party places on the city’s resources.
Advocacy commissioner Schroeder added in his report that the union had hired a communications director, meaning “a lot more” communication will be coming from the union.
The UOSU BOD will meet next on Oct. 27, location and time pending.
Editor’s note (17/09/19, 1:53 p.m.): The original version of this article included a wording error on the amended motion to set a date for the fall General Assembly. The amended motion that was passed pushed the meeting forward a week, not back a week. Additionally, the next BOD meeting will take place on Oct. 27, not Oct. 20.