The Tomato

The two-hour special chronicled the good, the bad, and the ugly of the SFUO. Photo: Rame Abdulkader.

The Boardashians special looks back on federation’s most shocking moments

On Monday, Feb. 12, history was made in a decisive referendum, as the longstanding Student Federation of the University of Ottawa (SFUO) faced a crushing defeat to the rookie University of Ottawa Student Union (UOSU), which has now been crowned the U of O’s new undergraduate student association.

The vote followed years of scandals by the SFUO, most recently allegations of fraud and financial mismanagement by former members of the executive. This led to the U of O requesting said executives’ resignation and consequently terminating their agreement with the union.

To commemorate the end of an era, MTV brought on former SFUO presidential candidate Oprah to host a lookback special of some of the federation’s most cherished moments, sharing behind-the-scenes footage from the SFUO’s hit reality series, Keeping Up with the Boardashians and its short lived CBS spin-off, Two and a Half Execs.

The special, which aired on Saturday, Feb. 16, featured the television personality revisiting notable memories such as a yoga class being suspended on grounds of cultural appropriation, and sitting down with some special guests.

“It has been a long time coming, but here we are,” said Oprah. “From spending students’ money on expensive haircuts, to nearly going bankrupt, the SFUO has done it all. Our first guest tonight is former vice-president of services and communications, Kaitlin LeSwank. Kaitlin, what have you been up to since leaving the SFUO?”

“Well,” said LeSwank, who was typing away on her phone, “I’ve been busy tweeting. I tweet a lot. It’s all about that #goodcomms for me. All jokes aside, the SFUO food bank has been a special project of mine. I used to work there, and now I’m trying really hard to highlight the good that they do for students, especially with our premier’s cuts to so-called ‘non-essential services.’ Did I mention I worked at the food bank?”

Oprah laughed. “Yes, you did. Now tell us, how did it feel when you finally escaped—or rather, left the SFUO?”

“Oh, it was like a huge weight had been lifted off of me,” LeSwank replied. “The work environment was much too toxic for my liking. I’m certainly not the only former SFUO employee who would say that. Working with our president that year, Wadi Hess, was excruciating. But I won’t get into any details.”

“And what’s Wadi up to these days?” Oprah asked.

LeSwank mused for a moment. “The last I heard, he was running for city council. But he was accused of harassing and intimidating potential voters.”

“Well, I’m not surprised by that,” Oprah laughed. 

Hess isn’t the only former SFUO president to be accused of harassment and intimidation. Oprah moved on to share that in early 2017, Vanessa Dorislayin’, who was then serving as vice-president of university affairs, accused sitting president Romeo Hahamakin of being “violent and misogynistic” and shutting down women in conversations. The allegations led to Hahamakin filing a notice of intent against Dorislayin’ and several other colleagues, as well as  U of O’s award winning student newspaper the Tomato , for libel.

Oprah was then joined by the Tomato’s editor-in-chief, Audrey Sherman, to speak about the incident.

“It came as a shock to us,” said Sherman. “Our paper is broke as it is, because the SFUO has never given us our levy on time. There’s no way we could have afforded legal fees. Thankfully, we didn’t hear anything further from Romeo.”

“What’s he up to these days?” asked Oprah.

“Not too sure. Probably filing another lawsuit,” said Sherman. “Although, I did hear he was inquiring about some vacant seats on la Rotonde’s board of administration.”

As for Hahamakin’s accuser, Dorislayin’, she was last seen making fake Facebook accounts to help the SFUO win the recent referendum. Rumor has it, U.S. president Donald Trump is looking to hire her for his 2020 campaign.

A brief commercial break featured a duo that oddly resembled Dorislayin’ and Hess selling U-Passes for a quarter of what students regularly pay. Viewers at home were left wondering where the surplus of cheap bus passes had come from. The high demand for the cheap passes has resulted in a three-hour wait time for purchases.

“To close off tonight’s special, you’ll be treated to an interview with none other than famed former SFUO president Richie Lachic, who was at the center of many of the federation’s controversies,” said Oprah. The cameras cut to a scene of Lachic in a hot tub at le Nordik spa.

“I had been skipping so many meetings to come to le Nordik, I figured I might as well move here permanently,” said Lachic, polishing a pair of $950 glasses.

“How do you feel now that the SFUO has been voted out?” asked Oprah.

Lachic shrugged. “I’m not phased. When I wasn’t able to raise my salary by $6,000, I figured this wasn’t the place for me. I’m looking for a new job at the Ryerson Student Union now—I hear they’re much more accommodating to their execs’ retail therapy needs. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a fireworks show to attend. Ten-thousand dollars worth of fireworks, to be exact.”

Oprah closed the special by announcing that MTV is negotiating with the UOSU for their own reality show, pending any upcoming scandals. Viewers are advised to stay tuned for more.