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The UOSU will be replacing the SFUO. Photo: UOSU.

The incoming union has been running with an interim executive

The University of Ottawa Students’ Union (UOSU) is now accepting nominations for their first election. Nominations are open until March 15, for both the Executive Committee and the Board of Directors.

The UOSU has been running under an interim executive since their founding in February’s referendum for a new student union.

The UOSU’s new administrative structure is fundamentally similar to the structure used by the outgoing Student Federation of the University of Ottawa (SFUO) but maintains several reforms laid out in the UOSU’s charter.  

The traditional executive will be replaced with five commissioners, each of which maintains its own narrow portfolio.  Mik Vattiata, a coordinator for the UOSU, told the Fulcrum that “(the union) wanted commissioners that were all set on their own portfolios, but without one being above the other.” They claimed that the commissioners were similar to the traditional executive system but reduced the risk of the executive consolidating power by preventing a hierarchy from forming.

The Board of Administrators  — a body of elected students representing the various faculties — will  be replaced with the similarly structured Board of Directors consisting of 21 elected members. The board will be responsible for managing the finances and general direction of the union, but will not be able to override decisions made by a popular vote at the General Assembly (GA).

The UOSU has also implemented several structural reforms to improve accountability and distribution of power within the new union. The union has banned slates (alliances of candidates similar to parties)from running in all UOSU elections. The union will also be using an online voting system similar to that used in February’s referendum in a bid to improve voter turnout.

The most notable differences from the SFUO’s constitution are several protections for voting and executive procedures that can only be altered by a majority vote at the GA. The SFUO previously implemented several changes to the union’s administrative structure that eroded the authority of the GA over the executive.  

The continuation of all student services that were previously voted in by referendum will also be held to a vote. Students will need to vote to continue all student services through an omnibus referendum question on the ballot. Student services will be unable to collect any student levies without a successful ‘yes’ vote.

Candidate applications are open until March 15. Candidates must be currently registered in an undergraduate program at the University of Ottawa and pass an administration administered bilingualism exam.

Additional information on nominations and election protocol can be found on the UOSU’s website.