In a landslide vote last month, University of Ottawa undergraduate students voted in the University of Ottawa Students’ Union (UOSU), a seemingly promising organization to replace the Student Federation of the University of Ottawa (SFUO).
Why then, did so few students present themselves as candidates in the UOSU’s upcoming election?
The UOSU recently ran their nomination period for students who want to run for their executive positions. Once the candidate list was released, it became apparent that not many students do.
With most candidates running uncontested, and many positions still lacking any candidates at all, it doesn’t seem likely the U of O will have a fully operational student union by the end of this academic year after all.
While the UOSU will not be extending their nomination period, their policy states that all unfilled executive positions will be filled by an interim commissioner until the fall at which point another election will take place. Show up to that election.
While this isn’t completely unheard of, with no candidates applying for the SFUO’s by-elections earlier this academic year, it is ridiculous given the current context.
Student unions are in a precarious position as it is with the Ford government’s tuition cuts and Student Choice Initiative set to begin in the fall, and the services many students rely on are at risk. Student unions have historically helped fill the gaps not offered by post-secondary institutions, advocating for students, and offering peer services.
You may not think this is a big deal — after all, we still have the Canadian Federation of Students right? Wrong.
Earlier this year, SFUO acting president Paige Booth confirmed that there will not be an SFUO presence in the Canadian Federation of Students next year, and the UOSU expressed that they won’t be joining the CFS next year either, until the student body votes for it to happen.
If you support students unions and want to see changes at the U of O, start showing up. Show up for yourselves, show up for your peers, and show up for student interests.