Opinions

Nice glasses. Photo: Anchal Sharma.

Too late to save the SFUO, but at least he saved himself

On Nov. 5 the Student Federation of the University of Ottawa (SFUO) sent out a message from the president, Rizki Rachiq, via email. In the message, Rachiq reiterates the important services the SFUO provides, how it has advocated and fought for student services, and continues to state that he had already recused himself of financial signing before the current allegations were released to student media.

Rachiq goes on to say that he is disappointed in the university’s choice to terminate the agreement and that regardless of the results of the report, he must resign, as he believes the university would not sign a new agreement while he is still president of the SFUO.

Rizki’s resignation was also announced at the Nov. 4 Board of Administration (BOA) meeting. His resignation has been called for by many, with Rachiq himself stating, “No one person should come before the needs of 36,000 students, and truthfully knowing that many view myself as a problem to the organization, I must step down in order to attempt to save it.”

But if Rachiq really believes that, his resignation should have come far sooner. There were several letters from the university to the SFUO that called for his resignation, at least temporarily while the investigation happened, and he didn’t comply with a recusal from his duties until they announced an intent to terminate.

Although the PwC report cleared the executives of fraud allegations, it still failed to address the fact that the letter of approval recognizing Rachiq’s club, Testing Restaurants UOttawa, allowing it to open a bank account was never approved by the former vice-president equity.

Allegations against the former president have been launched since the start of his term, before the fall semester even started. Rachiq’s attempt to save relations and establish a new agreement with the university through his resignation didn’t cut it for university administration. In response to the results of the PwC report, the university administration released an update on the termination of their agreement with the SFUO, stating their decision to go ahead with a referendum in early 2019 to vote on a new student union.

The update states that “The audit has not restored the University’s [sic] confidence in the SFUO’s ability to practice sound financial management.” Essentially, the university isn’t satisfied with the audit’s scope, and neither am I.

But that’s besides the point. If Rachiq really believed that the needs of the student body come before those of one student, he would have broken his silence and offered his resignation and full cooperation earlier than he did.