According to the Board of Governors, they are “responsible for the University’s overall governance and management. In practical terms, the Board makes the financial decisions and implements the policies and procedures that the University needs to operate efficiently.”
As the highest decision making body of the University, the decisions the Board of Governors (BoG) makes directly affects student experience through a variety of ways. Most recently, this summer the Board decided to hike tuition fees for the 10th consecutive year, creating further barriers for undergraduate, graduate, and international students to access post-secondary education. This contributed to making the University of Ottawa (among other universities in Ontario) one of the most expensive institutions to attend in the country.
The financial decisions the Board makes are done so in regards to “avoiding deficit”, while failing to make decisions that put students first. They consistently fail to do this because of inadequate representation on the Board. The BoG is comprised of “community members” (stakeholders), the Chair (Robert Giroux), the President (Allan Rock), four professors, three students, and two support staff; for a total of 32 members. The members of the Board of Governors work independently without serious consideration from the internal members and act without a defined set of rules or regulations.
The Board of Governors Coalition (BoGC) is a committee made up of representatives from the following groups: Fossil Free uOttawa (FFUO), Access to Justice (A2J), the Association of Part-Time Professors (APTPUO), the Student Federation of the University of Ottawa (SFUO) and the GSAED (Graduate Student Association), as well as other invested groups. Its purpose is to be able to positively influence the BoG and as a result, improve the overall student experience at the University of Ottawa.
To this end, the BoGC’s goals include, among others, reducing tuition, post-residency and international student fees; gaining more positions for student representatives on the BoG; and working towards creating a more democratic process for decision making within the BoG. This year, the BoGC would like to mobilize so that we can challenge the Board and hold them accountable to the real stakeholders on this campus: students.
If you are interested in learning more or would like to be a part of helping create tangible change and improvement of student life on campus please contact Chloe (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Lindsey Thomson (email@example.com).
Education is a right
- Promote post-secondary education that is fully publicly-funded, accessible, and high quality. This means an elimination of tuition fees for all students, both domestic and international, at all levels of post-secondary education.
- Address further systemic and structural barriers to post-secondary education by improving financial assistance. Some examples would be eliminating interest on student loans, extending OSAP eligibility to part-time and international students, and reallocating tax credits to upfront, needs-based grants.
- Ensure a high-quality post-secondary education system by improving student-to-faculty ratio, improving access to research facilities and funding for students and professors, supporting safe, equitable, and quality work environments for all campus workers, demand fair, accessible, and timely policies created on principles of collegial governance.
- Act in solidarity to demand that the federal government recognize its treaty obligations and ensure access to all levels of quality education for Aboriginal peoples. This means, at a minimum, removing the cap on the Post-Secondary Student Support Program (PSSSP) and making it available to all eligible students.
Fossil Free uOttawa
Fossil Free uOttawa is a campaign which is working to get the University of Ottawa to divest from fossil fuel companies. Divestment is the opposite of investment – the removal of investments from stocks, bonds, or funds. Fossil Fuel divestment specifically is asking institutions to move their money out of oil, coal, and gas companies for both moral and financial reasons.
The GSAÉD supports this cause and works on this campaign in partnership with other uOttawa campus actors.
Read more about Fossil Free uOttawa’s report “The Case for Fossil Fuel Divestment at the University of Ottawa”.
Check out GSAÉD’s statement of divestment from our financial institution:
Scientists and their research programs are increasingly underfunded, and their findings kept from reaching the public. The Conservative government’s policies have undermined public access to knowledge, weakened evidence-based policy decisions, and increased corporate influence on our campuses and in our research.
The GSAÉD is working alongside the Canadian Federation of Students on the Liberate Science campaign to highlight how these changes affect students and the health of our systems of higher learning. We aim to raise awareness about publicly accessible research among graduate students, whose work can be some of the most directly affected. To get involved in the campaign, contact Lindsey Thomson, External Affairs Commissioner. We are also working closely with Evidence for Democracy.
Our goal is to:
- Defend against the commercialization of campus and university research. Public post-secondary institutions are responsible for delivering both high-quality education and research in the public interest. This responsibility requires the right for academic researchers to exercise independent inquiry that is free of influence or restrictions from both the government and private industry.
- Remove targeted research funding earmarks within the Social Science and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), and award research funding based on academic merit determined through a peer review process.
- Support public access to public knowledge by demanding that all government science and research findings be publicly available, that all government scientists and researchers be free to disseminate their findings without undue government restrictions, that Libraries and Archives Canada be adequately resourced and remain entirely public, that Statistics Canada reinstate the long-form census and increase funding to its education branch for the collection and analysis of statistics to properly track the impact of student debt on post-secondary education completion rates and the fulfillment of labour-market demands, and by opposing the defunding of politically inconvenient science research and the stacking of granting council governing boards.
- Oppose elimination of funding for research deemed to be “political” and the organizing of funding council administration bodies.
Third edition of science on tap: election special
For this election special, we had three panelists:
Robert Ramsay, a Professional Officer for the Canadian Association of University Teachers. CAUT is the national voice of 68,000 academic and general staff at more than 120 universities and colleges across Canada.
Katie Gibbs, Executive Director of Evidence for Democracy. E4D is the leading fact-driven, non-partisan, not-for-profit organization promoting the transparent use of evidence in government decision-making in Canada.
Christina Muehlberger, Chairperson of the National Graduate Caucus of the Canadian Federation of Students. The NGC represents 60,000 graduate students at 31 campuses across Canada.
Second edition of science on tap
Join us for the second edition of our Science on Tap lecture series to grab a beer and food while we discuss the importance of making science accessible!
This is a part of the Liberate Science campaign that aims to raise awareness about publicly accessible research among graduate students and calls for independent science policy that puts public interest first.
Our second panelist, Robert Ramsay, is a Professional Officer for the Canadian Association of University Teachers. CAUT is the national voice of 68,000 academic and general staff at more than 120 universities and colleges across Canada.
For more information on the event, follow the Facebook event page.
First edition of science on tap
Join us for the first Science on Tap lecture series to grab a beer and food while we discuss the importance of making science accessible!
This is a part of the Liberate Science campaign that aims to raise awareness about publicly accessible research among graduate students.
Our first panelist, Nadine Wiper-Bergeron, is a faculty member in the Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine at the University of Ottawa. Her research focuses on understanding how stem cells turn into fat, bone, and muscle cells.
For more information on the event, follow the facebook event page!
Public Transportation, Livable Cities
Our goal is to :
- Ensure that safe and comfortable access to streets for pedestrians, cyclists and public transit users of all ages and abilities is not an afterthought, but an integral part of the planning process for the construction, retrofitting, and maintenance of all roadways. This includes advocating for “Complete Streets” for the City of Ottawa and for a province-wide strategy for accessible and affordable public transportation.
- Promote public transportation for students in the city of Ottawa by advocating for a more affordable U-Pass, for an agreement with STO and OC Transpo for students who live in Quebec to enjoy the benefits of the U-Pass, for increased direct routes for and between all post-secondary institution campuses in the city, and for the creation of a summer options for students and for the removal of the age-cap on student bus passes.
Our aim is to:
- Promote a system of childcare that is publicly funded, universal, and reflects the needs of parents. This means the elimination of user fees for child care, a massive increase of non-profit, regulated child care spaces in all neighborhoods that demand it – especially those with post-secondary institutions.
- Pragmatically focus on the University of Ottawa providing child care spaces for students, professors and staff most in need, the City of Ottawa increasing their commitment to child care and ensuring graduate students can access subsidized spaces, the province of Ontario in creating a universal child care system similar to that in Quebec, and ultimately on establishing a national, universal child care system in Canada.
- Defend the fundamental right to breastfeed anytime, anywhere as well as recognize that social stigma, cultural and personal realities, institutional practices, and the threat of harassment make breastfeeding in public unrealistic for many and support the creation of campus breastfeeding rooms that are clean, comfortable, and accessible.
GSAÉD has partnered with working groups across Canada and is calling on provincial and federal governments to rethink how childcare is handled in Ontario and Canada. For more information on the campaign, see the video below and visit the Rethink Childcare website.
The Hikes Stop Here
Tuition fees have skyrocketed as much as 80% since 2006 and Ontario students pay the highest fees in the country. Some Universities presently receive more than 50% of their budget through private funds (tuition fees) which begs the question of whether the Ontario Liberal Party intends to keep our education system public.
At uOttawa, in order to avoid student scrutiny the administration held a secret online vote to increase our fees by 5% for 2013-2014 and they have indicated that they intend to to do so every year for the next four years.
Join the fight to demand universal access to high-quality post-secondary education.