We stand for, and we fight for, equity, social progress and justice. We act on students’ concerns and develop issues into campaigns that pursue real change. We fundamentally believe that students who work together can shape our education, our campus, and our society. When we act collectively, anything is possible; there is strength in numbers.
The SFUO defends students’ interests at all levels of governance, and advocates for affordable education at the University of Ottawa and with both the federal and provincial governments. As a students’ union, we are most effective when our members are actively engaged in campaigns that raise public awareness and influence decision-makers to create policies that are reflective of student needs and realities. The SFUO is dependent on our members to develop our campaigns.SFUO Campaigns address issues that we as uOttawa students, Ontario students and Canadian students face, and we make a collective decision to take action and demand change.
In response to incidents relating to sexual violence at the University of Ottawa, the Student Federation and the Graduate Student Association established a joint Task Force Against Rape Culture on campus. Recent incidents that have attracted substantial media attention have pointed to a larger issue on campus. These were not isolated cases but rather public examples of the ways in which rape culture can manifest itself within our community. Rape culture is the social attitude that allows for rape to be normalized, trivialized, and even celebrated. Moreover, these attitudes often go unchallenged, both on and off campus. Sexism, misogyny and other forms of sexual violence are experienced in different ways here at uOttawa, and we believe that it is by working with students and other community members on campus that we can develop a grassroots and well-rounded approach to effectively fight rape culture.
Based on discussions that were had and on feedback that was received from the Task Force’s town hall launch, we are currently developing an action plan that will effectively fight rape culture in different areas of campus by tailoring our approach to the specific and varying needs of students.
To get involved with the Task Force Against Rape Culture e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Fossil Free uOttawa is a campaign that is working to get the University of Ottawa to divest from fossil fuel companies. This campaign is calling upon the Board of Governors to respond to the seriousness of climate change by:
The University of Ottawa’s endowment and pension funds are currently invested in many fossil fuel companies, the very companies that are fueling this crisis and injecting wealth and power into climate denial and inaction. It is the university’s responsibility to change this and distance itself from a very destructive fossil fuel industry. Divestment is a crucial tool that can put enough reputational and economic pressure on fossil fuel companies so as to enable large-scale social change. It is unconscionable to pay for our education with monies that will then be invested to support the fossil fuel industry and condemn the planet to climate disaster.
The University of Ottawa is situated on the unceded and unsurrendered Algonquin Nation territory. The 5 Demands for the decolonization of the University of Ottawa is a collaborative campaign between the Indigenous Students’ Association (ISA), the Indigenous and Canadian Studies Students’ Association (ICSSA), and the Student Federation.
The 5 Demands were officially announced on January 9th 2013, right at the peak of Idle No More, at a round dance that took over all three levels of the Tabaret Hall rotunda. The year 2013-2014 was big for this campaign, seeing several teach-ins, the first ever celebration of Indigenous cultures and Powwow, and gains conceded through negotiations with the university’s administration.
The re-focused 5 Demands are:
1. That Omàmiwininìmowin (the Algonquin language) be taught for an undergraduate credit once every academic year
2. A substantial increase in scholarships for Indigenous students by the administration of the University of Ottawa, in recognition of the treaty right of Indigenous nations to higher education
3. An Indigenous portal on the University of Ottawa website, with a shortcut on the “Student” and “Future Student” drop down menus. A statement on that portal recognizing that we are on the unceded and unsurrendered territory of the Algonquin Nation
4. A commitment to the recognition of the Algonquin Nation in the physical landscape of our campus:
A) Indigenous must replace Aboriginal in all uses associated with the Aboriginal Studies Program
B) That a review of the Aboriginal Studies Program be conducted in order to improve the French language offerings
C) At least one course per semester specifically related to the Algonquin Nation, its culture, history, politics, and spirituality
Be a part of the 5 Demands by e-mailing email@example.com
The Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario launched the Generation Vote campaign for the spring 2014 Ontario election to call on the province’s political parties to take action on issues important to students and youth, including reducing tuition fees, ending illegal college and university ancillary fees, extending OHIP health coverage to international students, ending unpaid internships, and improving access to public transit for students. Generation Vote encourages young people to vote in order to put students’ needs on the government’s agenda.
The SFUO will be continuing the Generation Vote campaign with other Ottawa-based student unions for the upcoming fall 2014 Ottawa Municipal elections, calling attention to student issues such as complete streets, affordable public transit, childcare subsidies for student parents, and student housing.
The Federation has long called for the progressive elimination of tuition fees. The Federation’s current campaign on Ontario tuition fees, The Hikes Stop Here, was established in response to the announcement of the current provincial tuition fee framework in the spring of 2013. This framework allows tuition fees to increase annually by as much as three percent for most programs and five per cent for professional, graduate and high demand programs, with no regulation in place for international student fees.
By the end of this new four-year tuition fee framework, tuition fees will have increased as much as 108 per cent under the Liberal government, directly impacting the quality and accessibility of our post-secondary education system. Ontario students pay the highest fees in the entire country, while sitting in the largest classes and experiencing the worst student-teacher ratios. High tuition fees have led to record high levels of student debt. On average, a student with public and private debt owes $37,000 after a four-year degree. Over 70 per cent of new jobs require a college or university education, meaning now more than ever, affordable education needs to be a government priority.
The Ontario government must take immediate action to address the rising cost of post-secondary education in this province by cancelling the current tuition fee framework, immediately reducing tuition fees by 30 per cent for all students, and instituting a long-term plan to publicly fund college and university education.
Join the fight for affordable, accessible, and high-quality post-secondary education: www.thehikesstophere.ca
The Education is a Right campaign is the central campaign of the Canadian Federation of Students, which calls for a Canadian system of post secondary education that is of high quality and accessible to all. The fight for public education in Canada is part of a global effort to maintain education as a basic right for all.
The primary goals of the campaign include the implementation of a national post-secondary education act, dedicated federal funding for post-secondary education, the restoration of federal funds to account for decades of underfunding, and the expansion of non-repayable grants in order to eliminate student loans. The campaign also works to reduce the barriers faced by graduate students, international students, and Aboriginal students by increasing public resources for graduate research, eliminating differential tuition fees for international students, and lifting the two per cent cap on the Post-Secondary Student Support Program, respectively.
Since 1992, the Federation has been coordinating the No Means No campaign in an effort to end rape and sexual violence on campus and in communities. The first campaign of its kind on campus, No Means No campaign materials raise awareness about rape and sexual violence, promote consent, and encourage students to be active in preventing sexual violence.