Opinions

The referendum will be held from Feb. 8-11. Photo: Jaclyn McRae-Sadik.

U of O students list their expectations to the Fulcrum

With the February referendum fast approaching, students voice what they expect out of their next student union—regardless of who wins.

“I think most students in general including myself want to see a transparent and accountable student body that meets their needs, whatever they may be. I also believe that we need a union that is financially responsible and makes informed decisions on our behalf. Finally, I think it would be nice if union leaders answered questions we may have as students in a timely fashion may it be by email or in person; again like I said it all turns back to transparency, something many of our different student bodies have lacked to show in the last few years.”

—Charley Dutil.

In my third-year of university, I went on an exchange to a school in Ireland—and one of the most shocking differences between the two universities was the student union. The Irish student union would frequently have Question and Answer periods on Snapchat with students, the executive made themselves constantly visible—and the president once stood outside by himself trying to give out free ice cream in the rain.

I’m not saying that I want the exact same things from a student union at the U of O, but I would like more of the core principles: visibility, accountability, and a desire to listen. If the next union does it right, when exchange students come to our university, they should be able to brag about the union when they go home.”

—Iain Sellers.

“When I started at the U of O, I did not understand all of the negativity that was directed toward the SFUO. Four years on, and I have seen what the SFUO is really like. In March 2017, SFUO executives stormed the Annual General Meeting of La Rotonde to try and obtain seats on their Board. That same month, the outgoing SFUO President gave notice of libel to The Fulcrum and one of its reporters for covering a Board of Administrators meeting where his colleagues spoke less than highly of him. I want a student union that respects student press and is willing to work in support of campus media to promote a better campus life.

Try emailing an SFUO executive, an elected student leader, to voice your opposition over a political position they are taking – you will likely not receive a response. The SFUO has taken political stances on things as far ranging as pipelines and the BDS movement (which they tried multiple times despite significant student opposition). The U of O needs a student union that will represent the interests of the majority of students, even if the majority opinion is not in line with the personal beliefs of the executives.”

—Justin Turcotte*.

The referendum will be held from February 8 to 11. Students will get the opportunity to vote for a new student union or maintain the incumbent. For more information click here.   

*Justin Turcotte currently sits on the Fulcrum’s Board of Directors.