A portion of the ancillary funds are planned to be reinvested into a hardship fund for students
The University of Ottawa Student’s Union announced they will be collecting its ancillary fees for the 2020 spring/summer semester, in a press release on Tuesday.
“We recognize that this may be a difficult time for many students as they try to complete their studies, look for jobs for the summer or simply try to survive, which is why we want to assure students that all funds will go directly back to students,” explained UOSU president Babacar Faye in a message to the Fulcrum on Thursday, following a UOSU Executive Committee meeting.
“Funds collected will be reinvested in a hardship fund for students, as well as to ensure our dedicated team of employees continue providing services and assisting students remotely.”
The UOSU indicated that collecting partial fees would be impossible, and was given the choice between collecting no ancillary fees at all for the 2020 spring/summer semester or collecting all of their regular ancillary fees by the University of Ottawa. The UOSU chose the latter option.
“Ancillary fees collected by the UOSU are used to ensure the operation of UOSU and its services, and are also collected on the behalf of external groups to the UOSU, including Recognized Student Governments and student media,” said the UOSU in their press release on Tuesday.
In the same press release, the union announced the creation of a hardship fund with the goal of helping to alleviate the financial strain that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused to many U of O students.
“Particular attention will be given to international students who often face additional hardships and aren’t eligible for government aid,” wrote Faye to the Fulcrum.
The hardship fund would be part of a larger action plan to be implemented by the UOSU Executive Committee. The plan, according to the UOSU, would also “provide additional relief to students throughout the summer in support of their studies, financial, housing, and general needs.”
“We’re actively working on a series of actions to assist students who’ve been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and address the various needs created as a result. We will continue to update students as we progress,” explained Faye.
However, there is still no concrete date for when this plan will be implemented. For now, the UOSU asks students to fill out this survey to learn more on how it can better understand the challenges students are facing and evaluate the approach and measures needed to address them.