Leave your personal life at the door
A special Board of Administration meeting on Jan. 11 revealed a number of interesting tidbits about the executive’s misuse of the Student Federation of the University of Ottawa’s (SFUO) resources. And unfortunately, this wasn’t the first time.
According to comptroller general Tanner Tallon’s most recent report, SFUO president Romeo Ahimakin linked his personal phone bill to the SFUO credit card, which Tallon called “essentially breaking policy.” In Tallon’s September 2016 report, he noted that the executives had racked up a tab at Pivik for when they forgot their wallet and could not pay. This situation led to the implementation of a discount for SFUO executives, resulting in a $1,000 loss at the convenience store, which only made $7,000 in the previous year.
So, you want to be elected to the SFUO this year? Try keeping your personal life out of your work life. You are not in this job to freeload off of a student business because you can’t remember to put your wallet in your pocket. You are not elected vice-president so that you can have your phone bill paid off by students. You’re here to work. Period. Stop using SFUO resources as a way to make your personal life easier, because with actions like these it’s extremely easy for students to stop trusting that your leadership is really with their best interests in mind.
—Savannah Awde, Editor-in-Chief
Master your social media kung fu
These days conventional wisdom dictates that if you’re running for office and you’re not constantly reminding people on Facebook or Twitter, you might as well not be running at all.
With this in mind, don’t take after the current SFUO administration and completely half ass your social media presence.
After all, the student union doesn’t exist just to remind us about their new app or upcoming community barbeques. They have a responsibility to keep students in the loop about about important democratic processes like by-elections and General Assemblies, something the SFUO has neglected for a long time.
Obviously I’m not the first person to make this observation, but if you want to be taken seriously as a candidate in the upcoming election you’ll probably need to make sure that your social media kung fu is strong.
—Kyle Darbyson, Managing Editor
Engage with clubs and federated bodies
Representing students at the highest level—as executives of the student federation—means understanding the needs of the average student, many of whom are part of one of the numerous clubs or fed bodies on campus. While it obviously isn’t a requirement to be president of five clubs or your fed body to run in the SFUO election, you should be engaged in some way with smaller student-run initiatives. And students want an executive who will provide them with the tools they need to better facilitate these initiatives.
Whether it’s helping out with promotion, providing clubs with funding or other resources, ensuring that fed body roundtables are held each month, or simply being present at events, showing that you care about students and their activities on campus goes a long way.
Often times it may feel like there is a disconnect between the SFUO executive and the rest of the students on campus, which is why students say that “the SFUO does not represent them.” The best way to bridge this gap and promote a more inclusive campus environment starts with active dialogue with students, and that’s exactly what candidates should do if they want to be a successful member of the SFUO executive.
—Graham Robertson, News Editor
Show us the money
Several of the recent scandals around the SFUO have involved money—like how much executives spent on taxis, PIVIK discounts, etc. Other fundamental issues, like problems with student businesses such as 1848 and, you know, the fact that the student union almost went bankrupt, are rooted in money as well. To help solve these issues going forward, execs need the help of a body of students who understand the situation.
How do we get there? Just show us the money. The SFUO already posts a budget—let’s just expand that to include things like executive salaries and major expenses, along with status reports on student businesses. If students can see the numbers, not only will it make them understand the situation better and want to help work on a solution, but it will buy you a lot of good will—who doesn’t love transparency?
Also, maybe don’t spend thousands of dollars on fireworks.
—Eric Davidson, Opinions Editor