Students can do better than scandal-led union
A letter released on Oct. 18 by the student representatives on the Board of Governors and Senate calls for an online vote to decide which student union should officially be recognized by the University of Ottawa administration, as well as a series of recommendations on moving forward. They also recommended that the Student Federation of the University of Ottawa (SFUO) be included on the ballot, regardless of ongoing negotiations.
The letter doesn’t recommend a date for when the elections should take place, but it does suggest that all student unions in negotiations with the administration should be included on the ballot, which, at the time of this article’s publication, is solely the University of Ottawa’s Student Union (UOSU).
If this vote takes place, it shouldn’t be until the spring semester. A longer timeline would give other prospective student unions time to come forward with their ideas, so there aren’t just two options on the ballot. Additionally, students would have more time to reflect on the actions of the SFUO and what they will demand from their new prospective student union. Moreover, any prospective student union needs to regain the confidence of both the student body and university administration, since the SFUO essentially broke everyone’s trust. We don’t want any band-aid solutions.
Additionally, the SFUO shouldn’t be included on the ballot. What’s the point? They’ve already demonstrated time and time again that they are unfit and ill-equipped to represent the student’s voices. Even when they released an apology statement that promises they will try to do better, they deleted students’ comments on the post. The SFUO is like a boyfriend who asks for grocery money, only to turn around and buy $10,000 worth of fireworks. He keeps asking for forgiveness, only to go out and buy more fireworks. When we said the spark was gone, this wasn’t what we meant. Frankly, it’s embarrassing. We need to stop giving them chances. We deserve better.
Plus, it’s not like the executives jumping ship is a glowing recommendation of the SFUO; if they don’t have faith in the organization, why should we? Their executive page makes it seem like this is a talent show and we’re one episode away from finding out who’s U of O’s Next Top SFUO Executive. Or maybe it’s more like Survivor.
Obviously, it shouldn’t be a ballot with just UOSU on it, there should be some healthy competition so that students can pick from a wide variety of different unions. By offering an appropriate amount of time for other prospective student unions to come forward, students will be able to pick a union they’re comfortable with. Some students have suggested that there shouldn’t be an undergraduate student union at all.
The termination of the university’s agreement with the SFUO is unprecedented, leaving many options that should be assessed and explored more fully. The only way this can happen is if the vote takes place in the semi-distant future.