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These questions all concern proposed fees designed to support new student services regarding advocacy, health, and legal representation. Image: UOSU/Provided
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Questions ask students to agree or disagree with new proposed fees

In addition to asking students to elect their new representative in the various bodies of student governance, this week’s student election will also ask students to vote on three referendum questions. 

These questions all concern proposed fees designed to support new student services regarding advocacy, health, and legal representation. 

UOSU Legal Support Services Fee

The first referendum question asks students whether they agree to establish a new fee of $62.50, to be charged in the fall semester, for funding Legal Protection and Sexual Violence Care Programs. 

Students would be able to opt-out of this fee in the same fashion as the University of Ottawa Students’ Union (UOSU) Health and Dental Plan. Students starting their studies in the winter semester would be charged a pro-rated fee of $41.67. 

The fee would enable all members of UOSU to access legal representation for housing, employment, and academic disputes under the Legal Protection Program.

Under the Sexual Violence Care Program, the fee would enable all members of UOSU who are survivors of sexual violence to access legal support and representation for criminal proceedings, civil action, defamation defense, and provincial compensation program disputes. 

International students could also access these funds for consultation on matters of immigration law. 

Student advocacy levy

The Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance (OUSA) is an advocacy group that represents 150,000 students across eight student associations in the province. The group’s mission statement is to provide “an accessible, affordable, accountable and high-quality post-secondary education in Ontario.” 

In practice, this means lobbying decision-makers in order to influence policy. The UOSU argues that OUSA’s relations with the government — and the principle of strength in numbers — would put the U of O’s students in a position to better influence policy and legislature at a governmental level.

UOSU is therefore asking students whether they agree to a new ancillary fee of $1.99 per semester. The referendum states that this money would fund both OUSA membership and other improvements to advocacy efforts.

Compass levy

The last question asks students to agree to a new ancillary fee of $0.84 per semester in order to fund online health and wellness portal Compass.

The adoption of the new Compass online portal is one of the initiatives taken by the University since the mental health crisis of 2019-20. It is in an attempt to broaden and streamline accessibility to mental health services.

Compass aims to provide a comprehensive list of health and wellness resources available to students at the U of O. It also uses assessment tools to direct students to the resources they need. 

Voting for the UOSU General Elections opened this morning and will close on March 11.