High rate of abstentions affected all available positions
The results of the University of Ottawa Students’ Union (UOSU) elections are in. The elections were held this week from March 9 to March 11, with results being released early on the morning of March 12.
Armaan Kheppar was elected president of UOSU by a wide margin of 80.9 per cent “yes” to 19.1 per cent “no.”
However, of the 3,024 votes cast, 1,183 — or 39.1 per cent — were abstentions. A similarly high rate of abstention characterized all of the Executive Committee positions, ranging from 37.8 to as high as 48.6 per cent.
The rest of the executive committee will be made up of Anjolina Hamel as Francophone affairs commissioner, Erin Atkinson as student life commissioner, and Chelsey-Lynn Rousselle as advocacy commissioner.
Incumbents Sana Almansour, Nouria Sawadogo, and Zach Flahaut retained their positions as equity commissioner, operations commissioner, and clubs and services commissioner respectively.
“I felt relieved from all the stress of waiting for the results but also happy that the students believed in me and my ideas to continue building a better student union,” said Sawadogo, who defeated challenger Ethan Coudenys by over 600 votes.
Of the three referendum questions presented as part of this election, only one was successfully passed.
The question regarding a new ancillary fee that would provide funding to the online mental health and wellness portal Compass was endorsed by the student body.
While the fee to join the Ontario Undergraduate Students’ Alliance (OUSA) was rejected by a majority of nearly 60 per cent, the legal support services fee was rejected by a narrow margin of only 1.2 per cent.
Outgoing president Tim Gulliver expressed his disappointment in a statement on Instagram, stating, “access to legal aid for students and survivors is a huge systemic barrier, and it’s difficult to see an initiative that would have ensured more of us had access to it fail on such a small margin.”
In total, 3,024 students filled out a ballot, an 8.5 per cent turnout. This was a nearly identical turnout to last year’s election which had only 8.4 per cent of students casting a vote.
Board of Directors
Nour Elmestekawy and Kate Gilliland were elected to the health sciences seats on the Board of Directors (BOD).
Fabiola Galvao was elected to the civil law seat on the BOD.
Nicolas Michael was elected to the arts seat on the BOD.
Emma Ballantyne, Akachukwu Ekwueme, and Bowen Xue were elected to the engineering seats on the BOD.
Buse Loçlar, Iman Kashmir, and Roshana Pattikedward were elected to the science seats on the BOD.
Armando Mayelly Obrou, Nora Al-Akwaa, and Monica Mugabekazi were elected to the Telfer seat on the BOD.
Ty Bradley, Emma Pellegrini, Sherouk Elasfar, Bushra Khadra, and Carlos Pawendataore Oubda were elected to the social science seats on the BOD.
Banafsheh Shamdani was elected to represent the faculty of arts on the University Senate.
Lexie Elbaum was elected to represent the faculty of education on the University Senate.
Lauren McDermaid was elected to represent the faculty of engineering on the University Senate.
Michelle Liu was elected to represent the faculty of law on the University Senate.
Alex Young Soo Lee was elected to represent the faculty of medicine on the University Senate.
Lina Sanaallah was elected to represent the faculty of health sciences on the University Senate.
Michelle Charlotte Liu was elected to represent the faculty of law on the University Senate.
Tarasha Sharma was elected to represent the faculty of science on the University Senate.
University Board of Governors
Jessica Tchida was elected as the new undergraduate representative to the University Board of Governors. Former UOSU clubs and services commissioner Amina El Himri finished second in the ranked ballot election.