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SFUO executives should know what they signed up for

Unless students can guarantee their commitment for the full academic school year, they shouldn’t be allowed to run for an executive position in the Student Federation of the University of Ottawa (SFUO).

Brad Lafortune resigned from his position as vp services and communications for the SFUO on Sept. 23. Executives of the SFUO are restricted to a part-time course load, and after Lafortune was accepted into a master’s program in physiotherapy at the university, he chose to leave the position to pursue postgraduate studies.

The SFUO will now be without a vp services and communications for six weeks until a replacement is voted in at the by-election on Oct. 31.

Despite this setback, the SFUO’s reaction has been nothing but positive and encouraging. However, we can’t pretend the student body won’t be affected by this resignation. The SFUO is already extremely busy, and so the vacancy of one of its six executive members puts the federation at a huge disadvantage.

Since many students at the university have little to no knowledge of the SFUO, here is a small crash course: elections for executive positions for the following school year are held each February. Holding an executive position is equivalent to a full-time job, but that commitment is also financially rewarded. Elected executives are paid $30,000 a year to hold the position and SFUO executives can take no more than two courses at the university; however, their tuition for those courses is covered.

Lafortune was voted into a paid position and potentially took that opportunity away from someone who would have been committed to the job. By choosing to step down, he has tossed away students’ votes and money and damaged the reputation of the SFUO. Perhaps the organization should spend less time complaining about student apathy and low voter turnout come election season and focus more on candidates’ commitment.

If students are expected to pay for the SFUO as part of their tuition fees, I believe that candidates should be screened before running. $30,000 worth of student money is not an amount to be taken lightly. That type of financial commitment from students deserves commitment from the candidates. While candidates may not have malicious intentions for resigning, students should feel confident that their vote is going towards someone who, if elected, will be dedicated.

Despite all the work of the SFUO, commitments aren’t meant to be broken, especially if students have to pay the price.