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Candidates are needed for a number of administrative bodies. Image: Dasser Kamran/Fulcrum

Nomination period ends March 7 at 11 p.m.

The University of Ottawa Students’ Union (UOSU) hosted a town hall on March 4 to address questions about the Union’s upcoming election and to encourage students to run for positions in student government. 

For those who wish to submit their candidacy, the nomination period ends on March 7 at 11 p.m. There are four bodies candidates can hope to join; the UOSU Executive Committee, the UOSU Board of Directors (BOD), the University of Ottawa Senate and the University of Ottawa Board of Governors (BOG). 

The recent meeting had four speakers; student services commissioner, Amina El Himri; francophone affairs commissioner Marissa St-Amand; equity commissioner Jason Seguya; and newly appointed chair of the elections committee Tian Kun Chen, who is currently representing the Telfer School of Management on the UOSU’s BOD.

All four speakers shared their experiences of being involved in student government. 

Seguya encouraged students to get involved in student government, saying that “Yes, these positions have been difficult but they have been really rewarding.” 

Speaking to the qualms some might have about running, Seguya shared advice to prospective candidates. 

“If you are here, if you are engaged, you would be the right pick for a position.”

El Himiri echoed Seguya’s encouragement. “If you care and you want to make change this is for you. It’s only easy for those that don’t care,” she said. 

“We’re students, just like you. The union needs students that are going to give it their best shot,” El Himiri shared, “you are never alone, no one throws you to the wolves. You get help from outgoing staff and your colleagues.”

Positions on the UOSU executive are full-time roles that require students to be enrolled in part-time studies at the University of Ottawa unless their program doesn’t allow this.

El Himri emphasizes, however, that the UOSU is willing to adjust to heavy student schedules. 

“We are conscious of the fact that you folks are students, you are hired because you are a student. So if you have an exam or academic requirement we are accommodating of that,” said El Himri.

As the election gets underway, the Election Committee’s work is increasing. As chair of the Election Committee Chen’s role includes preparing the bilingualism test which everyone is required to pass to qualify for candidacy.

In an interview with the Fulcrum following the town hall, Chen shared that the administering and grading of the bilingualism test should be completed by March 10 and results posted three days later. 

Chen also shared that the Election Committee is presenting a memorandum to the university in hopes of working with the schools administration for future elections.

Chen claims that the elections for the university senate and BOG are a “total mess.”

Overseeing the election is Chief Electoral Officer Oishee Ghosh, an art and science student at McMaster University, whose term lasts from mid-February until the end of March. 

Ghosh shared that she was “hired as an external employee responsible for organizing and administering the UOSU’s elections in an impartial manner.”

The responsibilities of Ghosh’s role include “approving nomination forms, campaign materials, communicating with candidates, organizing the voting system, and hosting the candidate debate [and to] work closely with the Chair of the Electoral Committee and the UOSU administration.”

“My primary goal is to ensure that the election is fair and equitable for all candidates,” said Ghosh

With the nomination period still open, Ghosh shared “I would encourage students to be involved with the election, by voting or running as a candidate if they are interested in a position!”

In contrast to previous years, the election period has been set back a week from its usual dates which UOSU president Babacar Faye attributes to the hectic nature of a year largely conducted virtually. 

The official list of candidates will be out on March 13 with the campaign period running from March 14-22. After a silencing period, voting will take place from March 24-27. 

Students can apply by emailing their nominations to ceo@seuo-uosu.com