Campus Watch

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<strong>Ottawa Student Federation holds its first general assembly</strong>


The Student Federation of University of Ottawa (SFUO) hosted it first general assembly&nbsp; Nov. 17 in the Ottawa Convention Centre.


This general assembly was an open meeting where all undergraduate students voted on items including governance, bylaws, policies, campaigns, and school budgets.


The proposal to support general assemblies was first introduced last fall by the Marxist Students&rsquo; Association (now the Revolutionary Student Movement at uOttawa) and was inspired by the experience of the Quebec student movement, according to SFUO&rsquo;s website.


General assemblies allow rank and file students to better control the decision-making process, instead of leaving all the power in the hands of student officers and university staff.


After the launch of a petition, whose number of signatures forced the holding of a referendum, the first ballot was held in late November. A majority of voters supported the proposal, but the turnout was insufficient for the decision to be considered valid. This time however, the quorum was met. University of Ottawa has now become one of the few campuses in Ontario where the student union is subject to the authority of the general assembly.


Topics discussed in the general meeting included a plan in which SFUO publicly endorses the Fossil Free uOttawa campaign and supports their efforts to get the University of Ottawa to divest its endowment and pension funds from fossil fuel companies. Another significant topic of the meetings was a potential strike at uOttawa during Spring 2015 with demands including, but not limited to, lower tuition, the dissolution of the code of conduct, and the creation of a Racialised Student Centre.


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<strong>Alberta students protest tuition spikes</strong>


Alberta students protested a new round of proposed tuition increases as they marched onto the provincial legislature in Edmonton on Monday, Nov. 17.


Around 300 students chanted &ldquo;What do we want? Funding,&rdquo; looking to sway the decision of&nbsp; Advanced Education Minister Don Scott to implement tuition hikes in as many as 26 different programs and to increase post-secondary institutions&rsquo; budgets.


Scott said Alberta&rsquo;s post-secondary institutions already spend far more than any other province, and students pay 20 to 25 per cent of the cost. He is still undecided whether or not to implement the tuition hikes.


While most tuition increases are tied to inflation, the University of Alberta has asked for permission to increase business tuition by 50 per cent, to $34,700 from the current $23,217 for an MBA.


In a interview with the <em>Edmonton Journal, </em>Navneet Khinda, chair of the Council of Alberta University Students declared: &ldquo;We want the government to prioritize post-secondary education.&rdquo;


Navneet also stated, &ldquo;Students are fed up. We want a long-term vision for post-secondary.&rdquo;