Op-Ed

For the first time, the SFUO began live-streaming its BOA meetings this year. Photo: Jaclyn Mcrae-Sadik.

Federation can’t rely on only one person in coming years

On Sunday, March 25, the Student Federation of the University of Ottawa (SFUO) Board of Administration (BOA) met to go over topics discussed at the recent General Assembly (GA). The board reviewed motions on BDS, online voting, and the student federation taking political stances in general.

Students have shown interest in all of these topics, as demonstrated by the fact that the past GA, which dealt with these issues, was only the second overall to meet quorum.

However, unlike most BOA meetings this year, students who weren’t present didn’t have access to a live-streamed version of the meeting, in order to catch up on the board’s business at their leisure.

Now, it’s worth noting that the SFUO did something good this year when it started live-streaming meetings for the first time—a practice that other student feds like the Carleton University Students’ Union have been doing for some time.

It’s great that our federation started doing this, so students who can’t trek over to campus for a five to nine hour meeting on a Sunday can still have access to the body that makes all of the SFUO’s policy decisions.

The move has taken on an added layer of importance, since after last year motions from the GA have to be ratified by the BOA anyway, so if you’re a student who wants to make their voice heard at the GA, you also have an interest in seeing what happens to the motion you voted on at the board meeting.

And that was precisely the situation on March 25, but this week, my hypothetical student wouldn’t have been able to tune in. Why? Because the person who usually does it was sick. That’s, well, totally understandable.

Having a live-streaming system in place is a big step up, but having only one person responsible can lead to one of two outcomes. First, some meetings don’t get live-streamed. Second, the SFUO unleashes some sort of disease outbreak because the designated live-streamer couldn’t abandon their post. Neither is ideal.

This is especially problematic if the burden rests on someone in an executive position with a number of other duties.

Not only that, but next year a lot more of the media-related duties will be falling on the president, so it’s extra important that there be a solid plan around live-streaming meetings.

So what can the federation do? A simple solution would be to work more with SFUO staff on live-streaming meetings and events. Instead of relying on one member of the board, have multiple staff members ready to go. The SFUO could also make use of their media production company, Zoom productions.

It’s a good thing that the SFUO has started live-streaming its meetings this year, but it needs a better system to make sure important meetings, like the one on March 25, don’t fall through the cracks.

By planning ahead and making use of its staff, the SFUO can make sure live-streaming runs more smoothly next year.