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Photo: UOSU/Facebook

No postering, class talks, in-person voting or candidates’ forum will take place due to COVID-19 concerns

The candidates for the University of Ottawa Students’ Union’s (UOSU) general elections have been announced. Over half of the available seats on the Board of Directors (BOD) will be vacant following the voting period from March 25-27, as well as the executive role of equity commissioner.

Current student life commissioner Jason Seguya and faculty of social sciences director Babacar Faye are looking to be the UOSU’s first president, a position introduced at a BOD meeting earlier this semester. 

Ines Nour Al Huda is running unopposed for the operations commissioner role, while Amina El Himri is running unopposed to be the UOSU’s first student services commissioner, a position that was also introduced earlier this year.

Zineb El Ouazzani is running unopposed to be the UOSU’s next student life commissioner, while current operations commissioner Rony Fotsing, Marissa St-Amand, and Daphnée Veilleux-Michaud are all running to be the next francophone affairs commissioner.

Omar Alioune Samake and Timothy Gulliver are vying to be the UOSU’s next advocacy commissioner. 

No candidates are running for the equity commissioner position. The newly elected BOD will have the power to appoint an interim equity commissioner until byelections will be held in the fall semester.

Fourteen of the 22 seats on the UOSU’s BOD will be vacant following the vote. Empty seats on the BOD can be filled in the fall byelection as well. 

Current faculty of social sciences director Zaina Abusayma is running for her seat again, along with Henry Mann, Jayde Lavoie, and Serge Patenaude, filling all the seats for the faculty.

Sam Yee is running unopposed for a faculty of science BOD seat, meaning two seats for the faculty will be unfilled. 

Sarah Aly and Demetra Sainas are running for faculty of health sciences seats on the BOD, meaning both of the faculty’s seats will be filled. 

Tian Kun Chen is running unopposed for a Telfer School of Management seat on the BOD, meaning two seats for the faculty will be unfilled.

No candidates are running for seats tied to the faculties of education, law (both common law and civil law sections), medicine, arts, or engineering, meaning at least 14 spots on the BOD will be vacant after the vote. 

Jon Wiseman, the chief electoral officer (CEO), announced in a ruling on Saturday that the general elections will move completely online. The ruling came after the U of O administration cancelled classes this Monday and Tuesday and shifted the remainder of the semester online on Wednesday due to concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic.

As a result, there will be no postering, class talks, in-person voting, or candidates’ forums for the general elections, according to Wiseman.

Former CEO Tiyana Maharaj and bilingual elections officer Francesco MacAllister-Caruso resigned last week, due to what they described as circulating concerns from UOSU board members and employees over their former work as co-founders of the union.

Maharaj and MacAllister-Caruso finished their work with the union at the end of May 2019 after the current executive committee was elected and put in place. They did not run for executive positions. 

“We are saddened to leave our positions just as the campaign period is set to begin next Monday, but we felt it to be the only appropriate measure moving forward to ensure the integrity of the electoral process and to retain the confidence of the board,” Maharaj and MacAllister-Caruso wrote in their resignation letter.

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Editor’s Note (March 16, 12:10 p.m.): This article has been updated to remove the name of a candidate for student services commissioner, Mar Khorkhordina, who was included in the CEO’s official candidates’ list in error.

Editor’s Note (March 17, 4:22 p.m.): This article has been updated to clarify that Tian Kun Chen is running unopposed.