Opinions

Should they be on the ballot? Photo: CC, via Pixaby. Edits: Rame Abdulkader.

Previous SFUO executives should be allowed to run

My initial reaction to this question was one I am sure that many other students shared, and that was a resounding “no way”. Frustration with the consistent mismanagement, alleged fraud, and public relation scandals has culminated in an overwhelming rejection of the Student Federation of the University of Ottawa (SFUO) in the recent election.

For me, and I’m sure many others, there was a sense of satisfaction to see the SFUO dissolved, and optimism for a more transparent and honest student union coming to power in the future. As such, the idea and possibility that the same people who were involved in such scandals coming to power in another institution seemed to be erasing some sense of progress.

However, when considered more dispassionately, I believe it becomes obvious that previous SFUO members should be able to participate in upcoming elections.

Firstly, I do not want to involve myself in the business of dictating who can and can’t run in elections. Some criteria (such as being a U of O student) are obviously necessary, but participation in other campus clubs should not bar students from electoral participation.

Paige Booth and Faduma Wais, for all intents and purposes, are innocent of the alleged corruption and scandals the SFUO is notorious for.

The agency is with the students and the electorate. If students truly shiver at the thought of pervious SFUO members running in the upcoming elections, then they should vote against them.

The effectiveness of democracy seemed to already display itself with the dissolution of the SFUO. The students spoke, and they said no more SFUO. If previous SFUO members ran, that’s all they would have to do again; exercise their democratic voice. Moreover, on a slightly more technical note, the vote dissolved the SFUO, not its members.

Another factor to consider is the possibility for change. It is entirely possible that SFUO members who (allegedly) behaved poorly in the past have learned from their mistakes and are willing and eager to remedy them. If loss of trust from past behaviour is an insurmountable obstacle for such individuals, then the students had their say and that’s that. But there is value in forgiving mistakes, and people do learn from them, from time to time.

Lastly, there are viable restrictions on electoral participation that could remedy concerns about corruption. In the U.S. government, there is a two-term limit when it comes to the executive. Perhaps the same principle could be applied to student union incumbents. This would be fair and equal as it would apply to all in the electoral process. Barring specific people from electoral participation is the exact opposite of fair and equal.

Let them run if they wish. Don’t exercise arbitrary exclusions from participation. If they win, the students had their say. If they lose (again), maybe they should consider finding something else to do with their free time.

                                                                                                                                                                                              —Connor Chase.

Previous SFUO executives should stay far away from the UOSU elections

Although the “forensic audit” conducted into allegations of fraud against the SFUO came out clean, the amount of harm the SFUO executive did to the reputation of student unions on this campus has been abhorrent. So much so that students gathered and made memes out of frustration.

Students voted for the University of Ottawa Student Union (UOSU) for a reason. They voted to dissolve the SFUO and all of the years of mismanagement associated with it. The SFUO is far more than just an organization—it’s people, specifically people that led us to the precarious place we’re in now. We don’t need an SFUO 2.0.

If Rizki Rachiq were able to run for office again in the UOSU executive, there’s a possibility the same corruption and scandal could follow him. We shouldn’t even give him the opportunity to do so, not when so much is at stake with student unions across the province.

Paige Booth and Faduma Wais were not directly involved in the allegations, but they were still a part of the organization throughout a lot of it. It’s hard to believe that sort of corruption, mismanagement, and scandal could be carried out with two members of the executive being completely clueless, or without them coming forward to speak out against it.

This includes SFUO employees like Vanessa Dorimain, who was heavily involved in scandals etched into the student psyche. Dorimain has denied claims that she made a fake Facebook account that wrote comments supporting the SFUO, even though her phone number is linked to the account. Previously, Dorimain forcibly removed voting cards from students who were accused of cheering at the General Assembly  last year.

In Indonesia, lawmakers are fighting against a plan to keep corrupt convicts from running in political elections. It’s seen as unconstitutional. There is an argument to be made for democracy, but the U of O is not a Southeast Asian nation. We are a university, that needs our student union to be run by honest, transparent, and hardworking individuals without the baggage of a corrupt dissolved organization. As students, we deserve to trust everybody on the ballot with managing our money.

The SFUO executive has nothing new to bring to the table. The U of O student body overwhelmingly voted for change. If the SFUO was going to change, they should’ve done it before the election.

                                                                                                                                                                                              —Hanna Methot.