All Posts Tagged With: "Student Federation of the University of Ottawa"
Rick Ross gets cancelled but Tyga performs
A hip-hop concert cancelled earlier this month in Ottawa is fueling debate about which performers student union money should fund and whether artists’ freedom of expression has been silenced.
Pandemonium, the annual year-end show subsidized by the Carleton University Students’ Association (CUSA) and the Student Federation of the University of Ottawa (SFUO), was to be headlined by rapper Rick Ross on April 9. But numerous students from both universities urged their student unions to pull out because they said Ross’ recent lyrics glorify date rape. SFUO and CUSA eventually pulled the plug and the show was cancelled. Shortly afterward, athletics company Reebok announced it was dropping Ross.
It’s not just an issue in Ottawa. At Harvard University, a performance by the rapper Tyga went ahead Saturday despite an online petition with more than 1,000 signatures demanding a student board cancel it. Petitioners said his lyrics in the song “Bitch Betta Have My Money,” are “explicitly and violently misogynistic.” Tyga performed the song on the weekend, “despite all the haters.”
More than 200 battle with lightsabres
Wielding hundreds of red, green and blue lightsabres, students at the University of Ottawa ran into battle Thursday night. The first official lightsabre battle brought out about 200 participants to just outside the university library. The event mimicked an annual battle in New York.
Jozef Spiteri, a vice-president at the Student Federation of the University of Ottawa (SFUO), said he met the organizers of the NYC event at the North by Northeast festival in Toronto and decided to bring the idea to Ottawa.
Spiteri’s term ends this month. He always wanted a Star Wars-themed party, so it was now or never. “I thought it was a cool closing statement,” he said.
Ottawa student leader harassed ex-girlfriends
Calls for Cody Boast’s resignation from the Student Federation of the University of Ottawa (SFUO) Board of Administration poured in after students learned this week that he pleaded guilty to criminal harassment. A Facebook group called Cody Boast doesn’t represent me has gained 140 likes already. I’m one of those who clicked ‘like.’
Boast’s case goes back to 2008, when he first got charged with harassment. Since then he’s breached the terms of his probation and repeated the offense twice. According to the Ottawa Citizen’s report, the victims were Boast’s ex-girlfriends. They were subjected to constant calls, text messages and confrontations. One of the girls had nude photos of her posted on Facebook.
In February, Boast ran to sit on the Board of Administration and won his position as a representative of social science students on campus. He became increasingly visible when he wore pink to a gay pride event at a university bar. He was asked to change, his outfit deemed that offensive.
What students are talking about today (March 15th)
1. At a University of Ottawa Campus Pride event last week, a heterosexual man was told by a former vice-president student affairs of the Student Federation of the University of Ottawa that he was wearing too much pink and that he must change his clothes. Cody Boast, a third-year political science student, says he showed up to support the GLBTQ friends when Amy Hammett, the former student politician, approached him. Boast told The Fulcrum Hammet likened it to “dressing up like Bob Marley at a Black History Month event,” and forced him to change. Kate Hudson, the current SFUO vice-president student affairs told The Fulcrum his pink clothes, feather boa and flute, “gave the impression that he was mocking the event.” I don’t see why they think it’s their job to police people’s clothes. Boast is welcome at my pride party this summer wearing whatever he likes.
2. “The University of Waterloo is investigating after an anti-abortion Conservative MP was blocked from delivering a lecture Wednesday night by protesters led by a man dressed as a giant vagina,” reports National Post. You can’t make this stuff up. Stephen Woodworth only made it a third of the way through his talk before it was cancelled. A representative of the university said that the MP will be invited back. What might he have said that was so dangerous? Woodworth believes life begins at conception, not birth. He tried to have Parliament study the definition of the words ‘human being,’ last year, but his motion got 91 votes, though from some high-profile MPs, like Status of Women Minister Rona Ambrose and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney supported it.
3. The Queen’s Journal says it’s time to “take the bull’s-eye off [Alexander] Prescott’s back.” On Feb. 25, the representative to the Alma Mater Society caused flurry of outrage after making a Facebook comment saying that some of the onus for sexual assaults should be placed on the victims. This, of course, made some people go ballistic, because they say victims of sexual assault are never in any way to blame. Prescott was censured, despite some calls for impeachment. The Journal thinks that his punishment was fair, but they want him to apologize.
4. Tuition will rise an average of 4.6 per cent at the University of Saskatchewan next year, students learned through an e-mail on Thursday, according to The Sheaf. Tuition accounts for 23 per cent of the university’s operating budget, while 68 per cent comes from the province. Undergraduates across Canada paid an average $5,581 in tuition this year. It was $6,017 in Saskatchewan.
5. Toronto 12-year-old Jorel Hoffert’s music video bar mitzvah invitation has gone viral online, with 115,000 views already after being aired on shows NBC’s Today Show and CBC’s News Now this morning. The video borrows from Queen’s songs “We Will Rock You” and “Bohemian Rhapsody.”
You won’t believe what they’re spending it on
It’s the time of year when most students in Canada ignore posters imploring them to vote for student government executives. Although student unions may seem irrelevant, they’re not. They collect millions of dollars each year in mandatory student fees and spend it, sometimes on things most students wouldn’t support—if only they knew.
Here are six stupid things Canadian student unions did with your money. If this doesn’t motivate you to research the candidates and vote in your campus elections, I don’t know what will.
1. Spent it on big parties you didn’t attend
Avicii, one of the top electronic acts in the world, doesn’t usually show up in places like Windsor, Ont. Snoop Dogg doesn’t often party in St. John’s, Nfld. It should be no surprise then that the University of Windsor Students’ Alliance lost about $40,000 on their show in September and that the Memorial University of Newfoundland Students’ Union lost $100,000 on Snoop. The Kwantlen Student Association may hold the record though. They lost $128,000 on Jay Sean. Jay… who?
Can we really blame hunger and depression on tuition?
What does a slight rise in antidepressant use at the University of Ottawa have in common with a jump in students using the campus food bank?
The answer is rising tuition, say student activists.
“I think financial stress is a big reason for students relying on antidepressants a little bit more over the last few years,” Ann-Marie Roy, vice-president of the Student Federation of the University of Ottawa, told CBC last week when asked about growing antidepressant prescriptions on campus.
“We don’t think that people should have to choose between paying tuition fees and eating,” Chris Hynes, director of the SFUO food bank, told CBC a few days later when asked to explain a 10-fold increase in campus food bank customers since 2007.
Tuition is indeed rising in Ontario. Undergraduates here pay the highest average fees in Canada at $7,180 and growing five per cent annually. But do fees really explain depression and hunger?
Student doesn’t want his money funding political causes
A University of Ottawa student is suing his students’ union over the mandatory $92.60 fee it collects from all undergraduates. Edward Inch, 22, is taking the Student Federation of the University of Ottawa to small claims court to ask for his winter semester fees returned plus $210 in legal costs. His reasons are the political activities SFUO takes part in, like supporting Quebec protesters and striking postal workers. “They claim to represent all students, yet they take political positions I don’t agree with,” the 22-year-old chemistry major told the Ottawa Citizen. “If I wanted to save the whales and save the postal workers, I’d do that in my spare time,” he added. SFUO rejects his claims.
U Ottawa considers policy on tech toys in class
A University of Oklahoma professor became famous two years ago when he dunked a laptop in liquid nitrogen and violently slammed it into the floor of the classroom to get his point across: “Don’t bring laptops and work on them in class.”
The stunt was followed by similar demonstrations by profs angry over noisy and distracting electronics. One took a sledgehammer to a fake phone. Another enforced his “strict policy about texting” using a simpler solution: a glass of water.
Clearly professors are frustrated. That’s why the Senate at the University of Ottawa is considering a proposal that would allow them to limit the use of portable music players, laptops and phones.
What kind of mandate does a student union president have when only five per cent of students supported them?
Last week, the Student Federation of the University of Ottawa held their annual elections. Voter turn-out was just over 10 per cent. The head of student elections told La Rotonde, U of O’s French-language student newspaper, that he was pleased with the turn-out, despite the fact that it dropped by almost 50 per cent from the year before, because he’d expected it to be even lower. He blamed the decline on a return to paper ballots and ending online voting.
The 11.5 per cent turnout is on the low side when compared to other universities but it’s not the lowest.
This was a close election; the president-elect won by less than one percentage point. And that’s what really gets me, one of the main jobs of student unions is representing students but can someone really represent a group when 95 per cent of the members didn’t vote for them?
University of Ottawa student union president wants to ban controversial writer and speaker from campus
“Fickle Students for Selective Free Speech?”
Yes, that’ll do nicely. After all, I think it’s about time we coin some sort of phrase to describe the exasperating irresolution of student leaders on the issue.
This week, it’s Ann Coulter, the notoriously controversial writer/speaker/columnist known for her right-wing opinions and provocative comments. Coulter is scheduled to speak at the University of Western Ontario Today and University of Calgary Thursday, but it’s Tomorrow’s visit to the University of Ottawa that has spawned a “Ban Coulter from Campus” Facebook group and disdain from SFUO president Seamus Wolfe.
“The federation does not support Ann Coulter speaking on our campus,” Wolfe told the Ottawa Citizen. “We’re trying to work with the administration to see if we can ask her to do her speaking event somewhere else.”
That’s not all. According to the Ottawa Citizen article, Wolfe has prohibited posters advertising the event from going up in the University Centre building.
It seems obvious to me that these are counter-productive resistance tactics. Not liking Ann Coulter—that, I get. But trying to keep her off campus? I’ll need a little help with that one.
If anything, U of O students should consider themselves lucky; they have home court advantage, strength in numbers (or so it seems, at least, from Wolfe’s comments) and the opportunity to challenge Coulter directly during a scheduled Q&A after her speech.
Censorship is nothing but a soggy band-aid. Why cover up contentious ideology when you can potentially reason it down to irrelevance?
If you really think Coulter spews ridiculous, insulting dribble, let her hang herself with her own words. It will be a lot more effective than putting tape over her mouth and insisting that she would have been offensive.
In a 2005 editorial, Gilles Marchildon, executive director of Egale Canada, a national LGBT lobby group, summed up this view of censorship very succinctly. Referring to a homophobic letter printed in an Alberta newspaper by Pastor Stephen Boissoin in 2002, Marchildon writes:
While it is difficult to support Boissoin’s right to spew his misguided and vitriolic thoughts, support his right, we must.
If Boissoin was no longer able to share his views, then who might be next in also having their freedom of expression limited. Traditionally, the LGBT community’s freedom has been repressed by society and its laws.
Plus, it is far better that Boissoin expose his views than have them pushed underground. Under the glaring light of public scrutiny, his ideas will most likely wither and die.
Coulter’s views, too, should face the glaring light of public scrutiny. And our universities are just the places to house the debate. That is, unless our student nannies get in the way.
Seamus Wolfe and Marc Kelly’s arrest caught on camera.
On Tuesday afternoon the student president of the University of Ottawa, Seamus Wolfe, and student Marc Kelly were arrested on campus. Immediately below is the first part of the video, captured by student Joseph Hickey. It shows the arrest of Marc Kelly. Below that is part two which shows the arrest of Seamus Wolfe.
After cursing in front of police SFUO chief charged with causing a disturbance.
The president of the Student Federation of the University of Ottawa and another student were arrested on campus Tuesday afternoon.
According to Ottawa Police services, Marc Kelly, a University of Ottawa physics student, was apprehended under the Trespassing Act. The director of the student appeal centre, Mireille Gervais, says that Kelly had been banned from the university since early December, and at the time of the arrest Gervais was meeting with Kelly to discuss his appeal. Shortly after Kelly’s arrest, student president Seamus Wolfe was also apprehended and has been charged with causing a disturbance.
Please click here to watch the video of the incident.
In an interview with Maclean’s, Gervais said that U of O protection services had been alerted to Kelly’s presence on campus around noon and visited the student appeal centre to remove him from the premises. Gervais, who has a law degree, says she explained to protection services officers that under the Trespass to Property Act, she is the “legal occupier” of the student appeals centre office and therefore has the right to determine who can and cannot enter. The SFUO rents the office from the university. “A legal occupier is described as the person who has control over the premises and control over the condition of the premises, and the activities there carried on,” she said. “The office is completely occupied by the student federation and the student federation only.”
Protection services then called the police. By that time, Wolfe had joined Gervais in front of the appeal centre. When Ottawa police officers arrived, Gervais explained her position regarding the SFUO’s control over the appeal centre, and Wolfe agreed to return to his office in order to produce a copy of the student federation’s lease agreement with the university. But, Gervais said, before Wolfe returned with the lease, the officers called the university’s legal counsel, who apparently told them simply that “the campus is U of O property, which disregards the act and disregards my position.” The police then “barged into my office and arrested Marc Kelly,” she said.
Wolfe says he then followed one of the officers on his way to his car, “asking if he would like to see the lease, and asking if he would like to produce a warrant. They refused to answer saying ‘we don’t need a warrant,’ and ‘you don’t own anything,’ even though I was trying to show him the lease.”
Wolfe’s exchange with the officer precipitated his arrest. “I got frustrated, and was starting to walk back into campus to file an official complaint with protection [services], and was obviously frustrated and swore as I was leaving,” he said. According to student Joseph Hickey, who witnessed and videotaped the entire incident, the F word was uttered before Wolfe’s arrest.
Speaking on behalf of Ottawa police services, Const. Jean-Paul Vincelette declined to comment on the details of the incident, beyond confirming that Kelly was arrested under the Trespass to Property Act, and that Wolfe was apprehended for “causing a disturbance.”
The University of Ottawa declined to comment on the incident.
The SFUO reports a 27.2 per cent voter turnout in student elections at the University of Ottawa. This is a massive improvement in turnout at the University and should assist the union in lobbying local government. The union is looking for transit improves and an universal bus pass program. Seamus Wolfe won the SFUO presidency [...]
The SFUO reports a 27.2 per cent voter turnout in student elections at the University of Ottawa. This is a massive improvement in turnout at the University and should assist the union in lobbying local government.
The union is looking for transit improves and an universal bus pass program.
Seamus Wolfe won the SFUO presidency with 2735 votes. Runner-up Renaud-Philippe Garner had 2293 votes, and third place was taken by Tyler Steeves with 1986 votes.
Students at the University of Ottawa, after an extensive four month evaluation period, will be voting on CFS membership from November 18 – 20th. I have to give credit, it’s brillant timing with a massive day of action on November 5th promoting the CFS just prior to the vote.
Students at the University of Ottawa, after an extensive four month evaluation period, will be voting on CFS membership from November 18 – 20th.
I have to give credit, it’s brillant timing with a massive day of action on November 5th promoting the CFS just prior to the vote.
I wish I had thought of this argument.
Say new rules would violate their freedom to expression
Despite being in the middle of writing exams, University of Ottawa students have mobilized against a proposed Student Code of Non-Academic Conduct. Over 500 students marched on campus Friday to oppose the code.
RELATED CONTENT Photo essay from the protest
The code, drafted by the office of the University Secretary, was circulated to senior administrators, the Student Federation of the University of Ottawa (SFUO), and the Graduate Students’ Association earlier this month, seeking feedback. The contents of the code sparked an almost immediate response from students as the SFUO started a petition that now has over 1500 signatures from students. Online petitions have also started and a Facebook group has been set up, all opposing the code.
The two student associations are particularly concerned that the code could be used to stifle dissenting views about the university administration by restricting free expression, peaceful assembly and mobilization. Section 17b of the proposed code names it an offense to “knowingly create a condition” that, among other things, “threatens the damage or destruction of property, or the reputation of the university.”
Philippe Marchand of the GSA says that the section is “very vague,” adding that threatening the reputation of the university is legitimate under certain conditions. “What if the university does something unjust?” he asked.
The code, which applies only to conduct that occurs on campus, also contains provisions against activities that “… disrupt, obstruct or adversely affect any activity organized by the university, or any of its faculties, schools or departments.”
Violation of the code comes with sanctions that range from written warnings, to the revocation of student aid, to expulsion. Recently students protested outside a board of governors meeting, and when they were not let in, they banged on the doors and windows. Danika Brisson, vice-president student affairs for the SFUO, says the university should not have the authority to sanction such activity with academic penalties.
“I don’t think [students] should have their grades affected by their extracurricular activities,” she said, adding that she believes that having a university policy against disruption is unnecessary because of other avenues the university could use. “If there is a disruption, they can call the police, and if there was something to be done, the police would do it, and that is enough to deal with these conflicts,” she said.