Board of Directors sets GA for Dec. 7, outlines agenda for meeting
The University of Ottawa Students’ Union (UOSU) passed a motion at their Board of Directors (BOD) meeting on Thursday to host a special General Assembly (GA) next month to decide whether they will allow an anti-abortion club to receive funding and support through the union.
U of O Students for Life (UOSFL) has been at the centre of controversy over the past month after they were regranted preliminary club status by Campus Vibez uOttawa (CVUO), the organization that coordinates clubs under the student union.
UOSFL was stripped of this status in November 2017 when the school’s former undergraduate student union, the Student Federation of the University of Ottawa, passed a motion blocking them from accessing resources, funding, and space on campus through the federation.
The UOSU voted unanimously to take a pro-choice stance on abortion at their Oct. 27 BOD meeting, also passing an amendment that said an equity code will be presented to the board at their Nov. 24 meeting “outlining what it means to be a pro-choice organization among other equity stances.”
A draft of the equity code shown at the Oct. 27 meeting included a section that said the union may withhold recognizing an organization if their activities meet a set of criteria in the eyes of the BOD and the GA.
That includes activities that are likely to be unlawful, violate U of O policies, constitute discrimination under the Ontario Human Rights Code, impede legitimate, lawful activities of U of O students, or have “a substantially negative impact on a significant number of U of O students.”
No clubs have received funding from student levies as of yet, according to the union, but they could still access a number of services under CVUO, including room and table booking, photography and editing services, and promotion on social media.
The BOD meeting on Thursday night was sparked by a petition to the UOSU with over 500 signatures rallying against the anti-abortion club’s official status, started by student Bridget Dueck last month. Under the UOSU constitution, GAs can be called by a requisition backed by at least 500 students.
The students who signed the petition are calling on the BOD “to adopt a policy under which anti-abortion activities and groups cannot receive funding or other forms of support (through the union),” the motion reads. They also call on the BOD to “deny official club status to UOSFL”
Under the UOSU constitution, notice of a GA must be sent out 21 days before the meeting takes place. Advocacy commissioner Sam Schroeder brought a motion for the GA to be held on Dec. 7 at 1 p.m., location to be announced. The motion passed with one abstention.
Quorum for a GA is 300 students, according to the UOSU constitution, at least 150 of whom must be attending in person.
The board then looked to ratify the agenda of the upcoming GA, which will centre around the motion brought by Dueck. The motion was passed, with two abstentions.
Ratification of new BOD members
The BOD also ratified new members elected in the UOSU’s fall byelections held last week.
Four empty seats on the BOD were filled, meaning five seats still remain vacant.
Timothy Gulliver won the seat for the faculty of social sciences. He received a total of 408 votes, while his sole opponent, Gershon Tsirulnikov, received 192.
Daniel Kuhnreich edged out a narrow victory over David Ricardo Menendez Ortiz for the seat for the faculty of law (common law section). Kuhnreich received 69 votes, while Ortiz finished with 63 votes.
The two vacant seats for the faculty of engineering were filled by the election’s sole candidates, Nicholas Morin and Thomas Scott Fulton. Morin garnered 104 yeses and 23 noes, while Fulton received 64 yeses and nine noes.
The five remaining vacant seats on the BOD are as follows: one for the faculty of education, one for the faculty of health sciences, one for the faculty of science and two for the faculty of arts. None of these seats received any candidates.
— With files from Aaron Hemens