Letters

THIS IS A letter to lodge a formal complaint against the Student Federation of the University of Ottawa (SFUO) and the way they handled the absolute disaster they call U-Pass distribution this week. I feel that I have lost all respect for the people that work there, and as a student I, in turn, was disrespected and ignored.

Last year, there was a perfectly manageable system of waiting in line, getting your picture taken, and then proceeding to wait around 15–20 minutes for your card—for the students smart enough to go early, that is! This year, they decided to take my picture, then tell me I have to wait for an email to tell me when I can pick it up. Like many students, I didn’t get said email until after classes had started, so needless to say, I had to buy bus tickets out of my own pocket for a service I was led to believe that I had already paid for.

So on arriving at the distribution area in the University Centre, I was told at 4:15 p.m. that they had “unfortunately” closed the line, even though on their own website it said that they were open until 5 p.m. Normally, I would have agreed and moved on, but there was no one in line for U-Passes in my alphabetical section!

When I calmly explained my situation (having lost last year’s bus pass somewhere in the summer—who cares for an expired bus pass when you think you’ll be getting a new one before school begins in September?), some Jersey Shore wannabe promptly told me that it “wasn’t his problem.” So, a woman who has to walk home after class at
10 p.m. isn’t your problem? I bit back the urge to spit at him and shout obscenities, but I did take his (unwanted) advice and went to the information desk where an intelligent human being told me it wasn’t a problem and to go ahead and grab my card as it was still before closing time.

While I’m normally accepting of problems and willing to let bygones be bygones, I felt that this whole fiasco with the U-Pass was a complete and utter disappointment and I’m sure many other students feel the same way. I hope anyone reading this takes my sound advice and lodges complaints of their own immediately (try to get names!).

Unfortunately, I feel that I have to write the school newspaper instead of talk to the SFUO directly because they do not have an immediately recognizable way to complain to them, as well as I genuinely feel that anything I say to their face will get lost somewhere or—gasp!—I will be told that it “isn’t their problem.” How utterly suspicious to me and convenient for them! In short, I suggest that the SFUO keeps their previous system in future years, as well as actually listen and care about the students they are supposed to be representing.

Hannah Mitchell
Third-year English student

WHEN I WENT to get my U-Pass on Aug. 25, I was a little shocked to discover that we were only getting our pictures taken and that we couldn’t get our pass on the same day. I was shocked because, last year, I was able to get my picture taken and get the pass in the same day—in my case, within an hour of getting the picture taken. I was told that I would get an email telling me when the pass was ready.

Well, Aug. 31 rolled around and I realized my current summer semester bus pass would be expiring, so I went down to school in the hopes that my pass would be ready. It was not, and instead I was issued a temporary pass. When I got home that evening, an email told me that I could go pick up my pass starting on Saturday morning.

So, I trudged out of bed on Saturday and headed to school, waited in line again—for the third time now—only to be told my pass was not ready and I would receive an email once it was.

Unfortunately, Tuesday rolled around and I still had not received an email. I went down to campus, waited an hour in line to find out that my pass was still not ready, despite taking the picture a week and a half ago. Instead, I was herded into the info line so they would print the card for me. After another half an hour in line, I was finally told my picture would be printed within half an hour. An hour later, I finally had my bus pass.

The Student Federation of the University of Ottawa (SFUO) mishandled the distribution of the U-Pass to levels I can barely imagine. I walked by the line to pick up the U-Pass on Wednesday—the first day of classes—and when I passed by, the line was almost outside the door of the University Centre. It is even more shocking considering last year’s distribution was much more orderly. As I pay: 1) For the U-Pass; and 2) The SFUO and people employed by the SFUO to provide these services, I find this year’s U-Pass distribution to be completely unacceptable. Clearly the SFUO noticed their error with the new system, as people who get their picture taken now are getting their pass in the same day. But the damage has already been done, and the incompetence shown by the SFUO in this matter cannot go unnoticed. I am very happy that I will not have to deal with this next year.

Renee Stuber

Fourth-year history and
political science student