It’s been a busy year in university and student politics. From tuition increases to controversial GAs, there has been a lot going on. However, student and university politics don’t stop just because the school year does.
Unfortunately, it turns out some pretty big things can happen during the summer. For one, the university’s Board of Governors (BOG) passes its new budget. This is important for many reasons, as it lays out a plan for how teachers and academic resources will be employed in the coming years.
It’s also the time when the BOG votes on whether or not to increase your tuition. What are the chances of that happening? Well, tuition for U of O students has been increasing for the last eleven years, especially for international students. And in an interview with the Fulcrum this year, U of O president Jacques Frémont has stated that it’s likely the university will be hiking tuition yet again.
It’s an important issue for students to get involved in and pay attention to, unfortunately, it happens over the summer, when no one wants to think about school.
And then there’s student politics. The Student Federation of the University of Ottawa (SFUO) does, of course, hold meetings of its Board of Administration (BOA) during the school year, along with events like the General Assembly (GA).
However, they can also hold BOA meetings as April winds down, when exams start to take over the minds of students. This happened just last year. At a last-minute meeting on April 26 of last year, the BOA voted to increase the salaries of its executive, after a similar motion was defeated at the earlier GA. They also voted on other matters that students care about, like increasing the amount students paid for their health plan, and voting to withhold pay from the outgoing president.
Over the summer is also when the new executive and new board members start their terms, so it’s worth keeping up to date with how the transition is going. Again, last summer serves as a good example.
Before summer had ended, the newly-elected vice-president social of the SFUO had resigned after frictions with the other members of the executive.
The end of the summer can also be when the board starts to debate the federations budget for the year. This includes how much funding clubs will get, as well as the finances for social events like 101 week, as well as the federation’s businesses services.
The faculty representatives on the board are there to support the students in their faculty, and they’ll be better equipped to debate the budget if they have feedback from them, even if it does have to come in the summer.
So how do you keep up with all of this? And how do you make your voice heard?
Of course, the Fulcrum will have up-to-date news on campus happenings. But what if you want to get more involved in the process? You can talk to your representatives.
The university’s BOG page lists all of the board’s members, including the two undergraduate student representatives and the one graduate student representative. They can bring issues and even motions to the board on your behalf, and answer pressing questions you may have about university policy.
And the SFUO site lists all the members of the board of administration broken down by faculty, so you can find out who your faculty directors are. Just like the BOG reps, they can bring motions and answer your questions.
It won’t take much of your time to keep up with student and university politics over the summer, and it will pay off to stay in the loop for important issues.
And who knows, getting angry about the university raising tuition or the SFUO budget might actually help ease you into the next school year.