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Updated on Monday, January 19

Feds Execs AMA!

OMG: They've been reading your questions and comments - now they want to share the answers. The Feds Executives will be reading all the questions posted in this OMG from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tomorrow (Tuesday, Jan. 20th  Wednesday, Jan. 21st). The President, VP Internal, VP Education, and VP Operations and Finance will answer as many questions as possible. Post your questions now!

MOD'S NOTE:  Update - some miscommunication; execs are answering question on Wednesday from 9 a.m to 9 p.m. Comments will be moderated so keep it civil, guise.

178 comments

  1. Why is there no place on campus that you can go to find volunteer opportunities? What is Feds doing about this?

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    1. Go to KW Volunteer Action Center, they are able to connect you with volunteer opportunities far better than any UW or Feds service could.

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    2. This is such a planted question. Maaz has been working on this for a while now, and conveniently he is running to be reelected.

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    3. 1a - How does the volunteer action centre help me find a volunteer job on campus? Answer: It doesn't.

      1b - Not a planted question. I actually am very frustrated by the lack of a central resource. Nobody fucking talks to anyone around campus, so when I asked my advisor, he had no fucking clue.

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    4. leads.uwaterloo.ca or http://www.feds.ca/opportunities/

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    5. Hey 1, good question. This is definitely something we're working on. At the last student's council meeting, I started a discussion about what the best method of centralizing volunteer opportunities would be. We've also met with the KW Action Centre and UW Community Relations to talk about a collaboration which would enable us to centralize all volunteer opportunities within Feds, within UW and within the KW region. We haven't figured out the specifics of it yet, but I am confident we should have something figured out in the next month or 2. In the meanwhile, I'm more than happy to give you more guidance about volunteer opportunities. You can send me an email (vpin@feds.ca) or come by my office in SLC 1104. Hope this helps!

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  2. I think this great but I wish it wasn't right before 3/4 exec are running for re-election though. Talk about free campaign time lol

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    1. I don't see anything wrong with this. They still have one-third of their positions in office to complete. No time like the present. Plus, tomorrow is the Feds Open House event (which is a termly event btw) so it seems like a good time as any for them to offer this opportunity.

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    2. Why do this AMA today? Why not two weeks ago, two months ago?

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    3. Yeah, I wouldn't be surprised if they're charged with an allegation.

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    4. I think it's fine too. Given the tough questions they may wish they hadn't. Let's see how forthcoming they are with their answers. If they aren't it'll give good talking points for their challengers.

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  3. What was one campaign goal/promise that you were not able to deliver on? What happened if so?

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    1. My predictions:
      President - never fulfills promises anyways since they are always useless buzzwords.
      VPOF - Ben hardly had a platform in the first place last year, so don't expect much.
      VPIN - strengthening clubs...
      VPED - most of the promises made here anyways can't be fulfilled, don't expect much.

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    2. Hey 3, good on your for asking the tough questions. So in my election campaign last year, I said that I would want to completely revamp the Feds website. Obviously that's something that hasn't happened yet. The VPOF is currently working on this with the IT department. The website isn't something I have direct control over as the VPIN but I'm doing whatever I can to support our VPOF and the IT department to make this happen as soon as possible.

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    3. @3b this wasn't one of the tough questions, you haven't answered any of those yet.

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    4. The item that is currently furthest from completion is around exam scheduling relief, I plan on making a proposal to the registrar at the end of February or beginning of March.

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    5. Hi 3, I had a portion of my platform dedicated to improving the student experience in the classroom with additional tools and to have Feds offer financial literacy workshops. The classroom experience is within the academic portion of the VP Education portfolio but I support him when needed. Also Feds doesn't have the resources to offer financial literacy services in house, so I'm working with the Student Success Office to offer some financial literacy service to students.

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    6. Hi 3! I had in my platform the create of a Feds App for students as a way to stay connected with Feds. There has been no movement on this goal for two reasons. 1. Students have informed us through survey data that they prefer Feds to communicate with them through "traditional" means (i.e Facebook, Twitter, Email, etc) 2. With the University rolling out the student portal the Feds app would be hard to justify.

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    7. Hey Ben,

      Any plans to integrate Feds-related things into the student portal?

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    8. hey 3g, I know its a Ben question but I'll respond since a lot of it is relevant to my area, and he can fill in whatever I miss out. We're currently working to integrate all student events and clubs into the portal.

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    9. On my end we are trying to get study space information(room availability beyond the libraries) in the portal.

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    10. 3g, Yes there is, Maaz and Stephane have mentioned two areas. Other Feds related integration will be Commercial areas daily food specialsand Bomber line crowd sharing. I would also like to look into the possibility/utility of a Health and Dental plan widget.

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  4. What are you doing to pressure plant ops to improve the snow removal on campus and safety of walking on campus in the winter?

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    1. Hey 4, I sit on the university's Joint Health and Safety committee, and I have brought up the concern about how the sidewalks seem to not be cleaned properly and that there are numerous instances of too much slush/ice/snow on major pathways on campus. We'll keep pushing the UW Safety Office to take action. If there are specific locations on campus that you think are frequently unsafe for walking, send me an email (vpin@feds.ca) and I'll follow up with them.

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  5. How do you think you can improve the experience for mature (undergrad) students on campus? What steps have you attempted or promised and what have you learned from these steps?

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    1. OUSA(Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance) has a paper on Mature students: http://www.ousa.ca/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/Mature-Students-Policy-Paper-March-2012.pdf

      It is currently being re-worked for the the OUSA General Assembly in March. Often times Mature students and students with dependents do not always have access to the same financial aid even though they are often in the most need. For example one of the groups that would benefit from an expansion of the Ontario Tuition Grant would be Mature students, we have been meeting with MPPs to try to make this happen and have received some positive response.

      In terms of consultation OUSA met with last term's President of the Mature Students Club to receive feedback on further issues that could be advocated on.

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    2. Thanks for the reply.
      I searched for a "mature student" club and couldn't find one...would be nice to know about it since it seems there aren't that many of us.

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    3. We received the contact information from the clubs manager. I'm not sure if they are active this term. Maaz might know better than I.

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    4. I'm a mature student with 2 young children. As someone who almost couldn't continue with my studies because of OSAP crap, I really appreciate your work in this area. Thanks!!

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  6. What is FEDs doing to improve study space on campus?

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    1. Would like to expand on 6's question: What is Feds doing to increase study space? And what is Feds doing to improve existing study space? Two very different issues IMO because while its great that there is a new silent study room in the SLC, we still have the problem of there not being enough outlets for students to plug in their laptops. The problem could be solved by investing in cubicles with outlets built into them, like those in the DC library.

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    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    3. I can speak to some specifics of student space and I'll let the VP Education fill in any blanks. The Feds exec brought up with the university that they need to make student study space a priority. Then at a Board of Governors meeting the Associate Provost, Students committed to conducting a space audit of campus through a space committee (that would have student representation). The university has committed to raising their percentage of study space (UW = 42.4%, Ontario avg. = 56.9%) by installing desks and tables in building common space - for example the QNC corridors. Finally the new AHS, Science, and Engineering buildings that are being built and the up and coming Arts building expansion have all been designed to increase student study and common space - some were even redesigned to increase student space. If you have any follow up questions on details of anything I've mentioned please email me at pres@feds.ca.

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    4. We are also looking at posting availability of classrooms to be used as study spaces, this could be on the Feds Website, Portal and it's on separate website.

      I've talked to the library about moving books somewhere else, but they would need resources to obtain somewhere to put them as they need to still be accessible for students to borrow them.

      I've talked to several of the Deans and they don't see spaces that could be temporarily converted such as the SLC great hall into study space during exam times.

      In case you're wondering where Danielle got the data(42.4% and 56.9%) it is on page 100 or 92(according to the page it is on) of this report : http://www.cou.on.ca/publications/reports/pdfs/inventory-of-physical-facilities-of-ontario-un-%281%29
      Many of these reports can be very interesting!

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  7. What have you done during your time in office to reduce red tape and make real improvements in the transparency/accessibility of Feds? What further improvements would you like to see made going forward?

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    1. In terms of what I have done as VPIN to increase accessibility of Feds: One example I can talk about is the creation of the Clubs Support Team. Before this team existed, more than 200 clubs had to rely on one Clubs Manager for approval of event forms, questions about bookings and all kinds of stuff. From the clubs point of view, reaching Feds was pretty bureaucratic and inefficient. With the Clubs Support Team, there are multiple volunteers that have office hours and available by email to answer questions and get that quick assistance for clubs rather than them having to wait a long time for the Clubs Manager. Again really good question 7.

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    2. 2 projects that have come up in my portfolio are the Governance Review and the Long Range Plan for Feds. Before my time in office an external company was hired to conduct the review and we've implemented some recommendations including - working on the creation of a Communications Policy and improving the transition and training of our governance bodies (board, council, exec). We now have a transition committee and training documents. The Long Range Plan is a 5 year plan that involved consulting over 1400 students to help them directly shape our priorities and goals and the strategic goals were presented at the Fall 2014 AGM.

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    3. lol @ the idea that creating more committees and paperwork apparently counts as 'reducing red tape.'

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    4. Hi 7! GREAT QUESTION!! A project that I have been heavily involved in since I came into office is the purchase of a new Point of Sale (POS) software system. This software will allow us to automate many processes within the organization and create efficiencies. One of the most student facing changes will be the reduction of paperwork required to complete checque requests and get reimbursements for club, society, event, etc expenses. This will reduce the hassle for our awesome student volunteers!!

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    5. In terms of transparency, the open board discussion was an important element. My department being pretty small has very little red tape. The most challenging aspect is to bring students to the portfolio, and we are hoping to accomplish that through University Advocacy Week which will be happening the first week of March.

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    6. That's... actually a pretty good answer, Ben. This is something I've wanted Feds to improve for a long time. If it actually works the way you say, I'm totally stoked!

      Stephane, your answer was good, too. It's as you say... your department doesn't exactly have much red tape to begin with (little-to-no staff, etc.).

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  8. A bit of a lengthy question here... but an important one! It's about policy.

    What role, in your opinion(s), do you believe the Feds Policy Framework ought to play in the daily functions of the Federation of Students? What about the role it plays in long-term strategic decision making? DOES the Policy Framework currently serve this role? If not, what changes would you like to see made going forward?

    Also: creation and amendment of the Policy Framework currently rests with Students' Council. Do you believe this is the best system to follow, or should other groups (i.e. Board, select committees, individual execs, etc.) be given control over specific aspects of Feds' policies at a high level as well?

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    1. Danielle, please answer this. This is a really important question and should be answered.

      Oh right, everything in your portfolio (and this is definitely a part of it) only gets priority if you are interested in it. I wish I could pick and choose parts of my job to do.

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    2. Hi there. Yes I do think Feds Policies should play into the daily functions of Feds. They are the philosophies and beliefs of the organization. And they absolutely do serve this role, as well as playing a role in our strategic decision making. For example our Clubs policy comes into effect at the beginning of each term when new clubs are formed but our Campus Wellness Policy helps us plan strategic stances and initiatives for Mental Wellness on campus.

      The creation of policies rests with Students' Council, and as it should. It is the representative and democratic voice for students on campus. However reviewing and updating the policies rests with the committee of Council called, Policies & Procedures Committee (PPC). I am the chair of the committee and some work we've done in the last 8 months is update 12/14 expiring policies for 2014. And the last 2 are still being researched and will be added to the February Council Agenda.

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    3. Some more follow-up questions for you on this, Danielle.

      1) Aside from updating policies, have you considered the relevance of them? Half of them are statements of belief regarding the behaviour of the university, rather than the behaviour of Feds. Would a classification system for policies (similar to the one the University uses, albeit less complicated) be beneficial to Feds?

      2) If you had to assign an order of precedence to Feds' governing documents (charter, bylaws, policies, council procedures, board procedures, etc.), what would that order be? That is to say, in the event of a conflict between two of those documents, which one would be looked to in order to determine the final say on the issue?

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    4. It is necessary to have policies on the behaviour of the University, most of the time when I am discussing an issue with the University I rely on policy. Classification could make it easier to read and may be a good idea.

      The Charter is the 1st document, then the bylaws, after that it really depends on the issue.

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    5. 8/8c here.

      Good answers, Danielle and Stephane. If you don't mind, I'll share my opinion.

      Classification of policies: matters, and would clarify how those policies are supposed to be used. Suggested categories:
      ->Organizational: high-level beliefs regarding Feds' behaviour as an organization. Examples: ethical buying, communications, internal transparency, to name a few.
      ->Advocacy: high-level beliefs regarding Feds' stance toward the University and government on particular ONGOING issues. Not to be confused with simple RESOLUTIONS, which should be ONE-TIME advocacy stances put forward by Council on SPECIFIC issues.
      ->Council: policies regarding the behaviour of students' council.
      ->General: policies which don't fit into any of the above categories.

      You could sub-divide organization policies into ones that need joint approval by Council and Board, and ones that can be approved just by Council. Just make an initial policy similar to the University's Policy 1.

      Order of Precedence (from strongest to weakest):
      ->Charter - what is Feds, and why does it exist?
      ->Bylaws - how and where is Feds governed? What are the different governing organs, how are they populated, and what powers do they have?
      ->Policies: these are the beliefs of the organization. So long as they don't contradict the bylaws, they should govern all activity.
      ->Procedures: be they made by Board (strongest, governs board and the organization as a whole), Council (weaker, governs only Council, its committees, and sub-groups), or individual departments/execs (weakest, governs only the department to which it is applied), these should ALWAYS be made with the policy framework in mind, and carried out in a way that reflects policy.

      That's pretty unambiguous.

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    6. I really like your idea of categorizing our policies, I will look at doing that before I'm done or I will put it in my transition documentation for the next president as a suggestion. I also agree with your order of precedence, I would've said the same. Although depending on the issue or who was viewing the documents, they might have a different interpretation of the order. Everything is relative. Thanks for the well thought out response!

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    7. @8.e if you are a student, please put your name forward for Policy and Procedures Committee in May :).

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  9. What progress has been made in the creation of the new clubs library?

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    1. Who the fuck cares?

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    2. Clearly this person does, idiot.

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    3. Hey 9, we have put in bookshelves in the room. More bookshelves are on the way. We are ordering other furniture and equipment in the coming weeks. Clubs should be able to start moving in books into the room before the end of this term. I can give you a very detailed update via email if you like (vpin@feds.ca)

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    4. I love that this took a year. :)

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    5. Yeah, due to financial constraints and the university wanting us to meet a lot of safety specifications, it has unfortunately taken longer than I'd have liked. The good thing is that real movement is now happening and progress is being made.

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    6. Thanks Mr. Dean for organizing the event so that students could mingle ;)

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    7. Longest year of my life ;)

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  10. This is such bulltshit. You should not be doing this right before campaigning. All three of you have lost my vote.

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    1. Meh. In politics we call this the 'incumbent advantage,' and there's nothing wrong with it. As long as they aren't outright campaigning from their exec seats, I have no problem. Exec running for re-election is (far too) rare, anyway.

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    2. I'm sorry, are you saying more exec should run again? Because that's just dumb.

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    3. @10a, except they do nothing all year to tell us what they are doing, and choose NOW to do this AMA. This is full-on campaigning, using their current position. They are going to say all the "amazing" things they've done, make excuses for those they haven't, and all while they are not supposed to be campaigning. Fuck this.

      #votenew

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    4. @10c, you're right to question their motives. I do too. But if you're supporting a challenger, have the challenger answer these questions too. We'll compare and give it all the smell test.

      I'm not interested in incumbents recontextualizing the past, and I'll read that as smoke-screening. If any of you answer the tough questions already posted here head-on, we're happy to evaluate what any candidates say.

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    5. Also bear in mind: with the incumbent average comes the rather large disadvantage of having already broken multiple promises to the public. And everyone will spend the entire election delightedly pointing them out.

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    6. Exactly. Why start from a blank slate every election? A good, stable system is one that rewards competent incumbents by allowing them to stay in office if they can justify their actions thus far, and replaces them if they have failed/retired/resigned/chosen not to stand and justify their term in office.

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    7. Hi 10, so this OMGUW initiative has been in the works since last term (long before some of us even decided to seek re-election). Secondly, we made sure this wouldn't violate any of the Feds Election Procedures. Lastly and most importantly, the main purpose of this AMA is to clear up misconceptions about Feds and address concerns that students have about Feds. We won't use this AMA to talk about our election platforms or to promote our teams.

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    8. >We made sure this wouldn't violate any of the Feds Election Procedures.

      Oh, you just decided that, did you? Or did you formally ask the elections committee to make that determination.

      If the other candidates know what's good for them, they should file an allegation. You never know what might come of it....

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    9. We formally asked the Elections committee to make that determination :)

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    10. How could they determine that before the AMA even had happened? That seems pretty fraudulent, and I would question the entire election process if that is the case.

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    11. 10h here. Maaz, I honestly wasn't expecting that answer. Colour me impressed - I take back my snark.

      10j, what Maaz is clearly saying is that the Elections Committee confirmed that the AMA itself was not a contravention of elections policy. Whether the things said in the AMA constitute campaigning is a different issue altogether.

      Anyway, if people still take issue to that, they can always submit a formal allegation to the appeals committee.

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  11. I would support a student fee each term to improve our campus as sometimes it is simply gross. 10$ per student/ term could potentially do a lot of good in funding campus improvements.

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    1. ...you already pay ~$50 to Feds so that they can run themselves and 'improve our campus.' You pay roughly the same amount every term to an endowment fund, whose projects also are directed to the betterment of the campus (among other things, consider the re-paving of the MC/DC pathway, which was funded entirely by Feds and endowment funds).

      The money is already being contributed in spades, it just isn't being directed properly. You don't need to tax students further - especially not for something as utterly vague and open-ended as 'improving our campus.'

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    2. Actually, the pathway was funded almost entirely by the Math Endowment Fund, MathSoc, the Dean of Math and a bunch from plant-ops. Less than $1000 of the entire project was paid for by Feds and it was paid for out of SCI's budget. However, SCI, the Path Project lead and Feds did 100% of the work in making the path happen. That is one project that has certainly improved campus in my mind.

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    3. FEDs money goes primarily into activities/services for the campus."Improve our campus" focuses primarily on the social and services aspect of UW. As far as I am aware, little is directed into campus improvement such as landscaping etc..Obviously I would like to see 100% efficiency in spending all collected money though this simply isn't practical. If you want funds to go to where they currently are not being allocated, you simply need more funding. It doesn't necessarily have to be feds to do this though it would be nice if somebody had exterior campus improvements as a focus so it isn't covered in goose shit every day except highschool tour dates.

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    4. ^Yeah, 11c that's just a Plant Ops thing. It's something they're responsible for. We could hire more, but they're paid out of the University's budget, so a separate fee wouldn't work (since they can't be paid out of multiple accounts).

      Efficiency aside, the University could reallocate money in its budget to such a thing easily enough.

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  12. Snow and Ice removal. Call the Provost and fix this.

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    1. I've brought up to the Provost and the Joint Health and Safety committee as a concern. We'll keep the pressure on them until this is addressed. If you think there's a particular part of campus that is consistently unsafe due to snow/ice, let me know (my email is vpin@feds.ca)

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  13. Fuck this. I'm gonna start my own student union. With blackjack.... and hookers.

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    1. and cocaine. lots and lots of cocaine.

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    2. in fact, forget the student union

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  14. Why is our student union not even considering doing anything about the ridiculous amounts of ever increasing tuition we pay?

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    1. On what grounds do you base your assumption that they're "not even considering" doing anything?

      Last I checked, Stephane was an exec of OUSA, who has been lobbying the province for a tuition freeze for years, and Feds has long opposed tuition increases at the UW Board of Governors meetings. Beyond that, I'm sure the VPED will come on here eventually with more answers.

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    2. OUSA lobbied heavily in the years before the current tuition framework was passed, we asked for a freeze or at most CPI increases, the Council of Ontario Universities, which the University of Waterloo is part of, lobbied for higher increases of at least 5%, potentially deregulation. The government decided to go with 3% which was less than the previous agreement which was 5%. By meeting with the government we try to get the best deal for students. We don't always get exactly what we want, but we are able to make clear impacts.

      For more information on the framework : http://news.ontario.ca/tcu/en/2013/03/new-tuition-framework-reduces-the-cap-on-tuition-increases.html

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    3. I also wanted to talk about our meetings with MPP candidates during the provincial election campaign, we met with 19 candidates during the month of May and the first half of June and brought them this document which includes a request for a tuition freeze. http://www.ousa.ca/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/An-Educated-Election-Final-Web.pdf

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  15. Any possibility to have all feds fully controlled at all levels solely by students, not UW admin, no in-camera, secret meetings, much faster and complete minutes to all meetings, with no blackout areas? Oh, and a detailed budget without catch-all hard-coded numbers for the biggest expenses on staff admin salaries and benefits?

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    1. Related: Why can Feds call itself a student "union" when it has employer management holding key positions of influence within itself? I think this contributes to the bad effects @15 sees.

      You can't do both. Please pick one. (Hint: I'm sure UW admin has its own representatives you can talk across the table with.)
      Whose interests do you choose to represent, 100%?

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    2. So 15, you do get that individual salaries are confidential information protected under provincial HR laws, right? They can't exactly put each staff member's salary and benefits in the budget - they can just put in a lump sum that shows how much money is going towards 'salaries.'
      The only exception is the exec salaries because those are one-time contract positions, not permanent full-time staff.

      UW admin has no role within Feds.

      All key decisions within Feds are ultimately made and overseen by students.

      The system isn't perfect (it's too bureaucratic, and needs some serious slimming down/fine tuning), but it certainly isn't what you are making it out to be.

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    3. Our board meetings are now openso gallery members are welcome to attend. The minutes for both Council and Board have been posted faster in the last few months and are available on feds.ca. Also you can find our exact budget here: http://www.feds.ca/wp-content/blogs.dir/57/files//2012/08/Feds-Fee-Budget_FINAL-2014.xlsx. But as 15.b mentioned the staff salaries are not legally allowed to be disclosed.

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    4. >But as 15b mentioned the staff salaries are not legally allowed to be disclosed.

      Unless they tip up over $100k, in which case they have to be by law... thanks McGuinty.

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  16. Do you still feel you know what's best for students better than the students ourselves?

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    1. 16, the exec are students, they were elected by and from the students. They aren't outsiders saying 'I know what's best."

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    2. I am currently a student, and will be returning to start my fourth year after my time in office. That being said we never individually assume we know what's best for students, we talk using results from student consultation and stances from our governance bodies.

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    3. Danielle, I'm curious. How to do try to strike a balance between 'using consultation to make your decisions/stances,' and 'acting with the authority of an elected representative to do your job effectively?' That's a balance elected officials everywhere struggle with, and I'd be interested to know how you've found it.

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    4. Hey 16. This is a really good question. The organization is set up in a way to inform us when making decisions that matter to students. We use the committees that are structured around both the Board of Directors and Students Council to gather student input on a variety of different topics. All of these committees include students from Board and Council and most include At-Large Student seats that can be filled by any student member of the Federation of Students. These positions (when available) are posted here. http://www.feds.ca/employment-section/volunteer-opportunities/

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    5. I'm also a student elected by fellow students. However, I do still acknowledge that I'm not the expert on all things related to the student experience. That's why any major decision within my portfolio involves other students. Changes to club policies, approving new clubs, creation of new services, allocation of funding for student group - For all of these things and more, there are student committees in place that either govern or inform what I do.

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    6. I don't advocate for things that aren't passed by a committee either Education Advisory Committee or Governmental Affairs Advisory Committee or passed by Council or OUSA General Assembly. These are all bodies that are only students who along with myself discuss with many students before deciding what to advocate on.

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    7. Council, the Council Committees, Board, and basically ALL the sub-committees within Feds are essentially made up of the same 20-40 students who care. On a campus of 30000 undergrads, what makes you think the Feds' committees even REMOTELY constitute an accurate sample of student opinion?

      Your best feedback lies with those who aren't even bothering to listen to you anymore - how do you get their attention?

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    8. 16 c. good question and it's one I've struggled with as a young student who is put in an elected position to then represent over 30,000 students...it's not easy. But what I've done is base it on time, if I'm expected to give a response on the spot in a committee meeting or a media interview for example and there isn't an existing stance on it and I don't have time to consult students then I will speak on behalf of students because I'm elected to do so, but if I have the time I will always choose to reference a council stance or consult students. I hope this somewhat answers your question!

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    9. @16.g My portfolio saw a student referendum this term. That is one way of engaging students, we can't use it on every issue though.

      Our committees aren't going to give a statistically significant result, but they have experience as students just like us. Nonetheless, I often instruct the members to go to their constituents to get feedback, that has sometimes led to surveys which were very helpful or a much wider net for the feedback.

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    10. Hey Stephane, your pink tie is showing in response 16i...

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    11. To newnew threesome responding. My pink tie isnt showing. Stephane just has a badass sense of humore. Btw, young students are easy to fall in luv with lol... Anyways, guyz it was nice meeting yall.

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    12. To exec with the tie lol. Stop bossing Maas around

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  17. Why isn't Danielle running again?

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    1. Because she prefers to walk.

      *ba dum tss*

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    2. Some privacy would be nice

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  18. Does Feds have a problem with a counselor found yet unpunished for sexual harassment at UW, working in Counseling Services and seeing female clients, all while being paid with student fees?

    How is this out of the Feds mandate?
    Why won't Feds take an effective stand for female safety on campus?

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    Replies
    1. This should be top priority for Feds. Everything else Feds does just distracts resources from this while it's ignored. It's much harder and riskier to deal with this fully but it's the right thing to do.

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    2. How about we stop asking questions that have been answered time and time again.

      Nobody was found guilty for anything.

      The Ontario Human Rights Tribunal recommended that no further action or discipline be taken, while awarding the complainant only 7500 of the 25000 she requested, citing 'compensation for hurt feelings.'

      Plus it was a case of a guy getting a little to handsy while drunk (inappropriately) at a work function. There was no evidence of ANY kind to suggest that he was some sort of sexual predator, or that there was a danger of this sort of thing happening again, or that anybody was actually at ANY kind of risk from him.

      Ipso facto, there is nothing for Feds to act on.

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    3. Handsy? Whose response specifically is this so we know on voting day? Is this the official Feds position?

      He's overdue for a meeting with the WRPS from their sexual assault investigation to receive an official caution. The police don't investigate "handsyness". And they don't caution a member of the public for no reason. This was _after_ their investigation.

      See below from CanLii:

      [10]        The WRPS investigation took approximately five weeks.  At the conclusion of the  investigation Constable Ranta informed Dr. Morgan that she had two options; she could pursue criminal charges or choose to have Mr. McKay cautioned by the police.  Dr. Morgan chose for Mr. Mackay to be cautioned.  Mr. McKay, on the advice of his criminal counsel, chose not to meet with Constable Ranta and as a result was not cautioned.

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    4. Please let us know if the Feds disavow 18b or if it's the answer from the incumbents and is the Feds official position. If so the Feds have just started open season on security of person.

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    5. @18d It was an anonymous post, not one of the Feds Exec

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    6. 18b reads like the perpetrator's answer, not the Feds. Give then a chance to say it wasn't from them. And he molested two CS psychologists, not one.

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    7. 18 - the last meeting of Council created a Community Safety Committee as a task force to address safety issues on campus. Included in this committee will be a resource officer from the Waterloo Regional Police Service as well as students at large. There is also WCAT (Waterloo Crime Awareness Team) coordinated by the North Division of WRPS with which Feds is an active participant. WCAT works to address safety issues at both UW and Laurier. The new CSC will be headed up by Maaz to address the pressing safety concerns on university campuses. I don't know yet what the agenda will be like but concerns of this kind could be discussed there, you could email him to find out more.

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    8. I can't speak to the specifics of this story from an HR perspective and would recommend students to contact UWaterloo HR if they have concerns, or take a look at Policy 33 and 70 of the university. However I have been given a verbal statement from the Director of Counselling services that the service to students hasn't been impacted and it is still a safe environment for students to attend.

      I can speak to the stance on female safety on campus. The Feds President is involved in the change project - http://legacy.wlu.ca/page.php?grp_id=1331&p=27222. As well I'm a committee member on a task force dedicated to improving Policy 33 - Ethical Behaviour. I'm also meeting with the university to draft a framework for dealing with gendered violence on PSE campuses. As a side note in my spare time I teach self-defence workshops on campus :) so it's an issue I'm very active in. If you have any questions or concerns please don't hesitate to contact me at pres@feds.ca or at my UWaterloo extension 32478.

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    9. Danielle, the CS director has never admitted the perpetrator did anything wrong or was a risk to anyone, not even to the staff psychologists he abused, and had never publicly agreed with the HRTO's finding against Mr Mackay. No one in his staff is allowed to ever mention it during work hours. It's all been swept under the rug like it never happened.

      Except it did. And the risks to all females who go to CS remain unmitigated. Learning policy 33 won't change the reality on the ground at CS. Believe what you need to, to not deal with this specifically, but the real risks are still within those walls and won't go away on their own.

      Given this, many of us will not go to CS so our fees paid to them do us absolutely no good. Maybe this helps address the service shortfall there. Thanks for your answer and good luck with your campaign, but we were hoping for action to fix it rather than just talking it away.

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    10. Show me the tribunal documentation that says the University should have/should be taking ANY further disciplinary action. [hint: there is none. It explicitly says no further action is required, that the University has done everything necessary, and that the issue is considered resolved. The individuals involved have also continued to work together peaceably in the TWO YEARS since this happened, and the world hasn't ended, so calm the fuck down.]

      Show me the documentation that finds the counsellor guilty of 'molesting' anybody, let alone a SECOND counsellor. [hint: there is no documentation]

      This was a minor incident that got blown WAY out of proportion for what it was. Did the counsellor in question do/say something dumb? Yeah, he totally did. It was inappropriate for the workplace, and showed a remarkable inability to read the situation he was in. Does that make him a molester, a sexual predator who is a danger to everybody of the opposite sex around him? No, not by a long shot. But enough of this issue that only people on OMGUW seem to care about anymore.

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    11. On a somewhat related note regarding safety: I recently created a Campus Safety Task Force to look at what safety initiatives we need to implement on campus (this includes a WalkSafe program, advocating for better lighting, lobbying for policy changes etc.) This Task Force includes members from UW Police, UW Director of Equity and students. We want to get some tangible work done before April. If you are interested in either being part of this group or just want to provide more feedback, email me at vpin@feds.ca

      Delete
    12. Lots of my friends have talked about this and keep up to date on what's going on at Counselling Services but we don't record what we say here. We're all still concerned about our safety if we go there and open up so we won't turn to Counselling Services when we would have wanted to. We don't trust the place anymore. Instead we've looked for alternative counselling off campus or by phone, or done without. It's good we at least know what's going on. Not good for people who walk in without knowing. Until anything changes that's our situation.

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    13. Maaz, with all due respect, the Counselling Services issue is happening in the light of day in a building, not on a dark pathway. Women's safety, female student's safety and the inability of Counselling services to earn our trust back, because they lost it big time, is the biggest issue that I feel underrepresented by Feds. I don't know how much we pay altogether in fees to CS and to Feds. But I feel both amounts are wasted because of this. Instead you talk about things that don't matter to us and are beside the point.

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    14. Danielle and Maaz, can you at least agree to lobby against Mr Mackay speaking at any more Town Halls on the targeting of women on campus or similar issues or events? Clearly this put him in a conflict of interest and his words to the crowd showed that. He does not deserve that or any leadership platform again now that we know better.

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    15. This is important to me.

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    16. I feel we can make our place safer than places like Dal if we can confront this one issue facing us on our watch. Otherwise we allow an environment for it or the next thing to take root while we chose to look the other way.

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    17. It's obvious UW won't budge on their own from keeping him unrestricted, which is why we need our student union.

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    18. 18q, if UW had handled this entire issue internally, then MAYBE I'd agree with you.

      But due process was already done here. An Ontario Human Rights Tribunal convened, heard all the evidence, and reached its decision. It had the power to recommend multiple courses of action be taken by the University. Far from ignoring that power, it explicitly chose to consider this matter closed.

      You don't have faith in our legal system? Okay, go lobby the government to change the way it handles situations like this one. But NOT LIKING THE FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLES OF OUR LAWS DOESN'T GIVE YOU A LICENSE TO ENGAGE IN YOUR OWN PERSONAL WITCH HUNT.

      Quite simply, the core accusation here - that women who go into counselling services are somehow unsafe on a fundamental level - is unfounded and lacking in any real evidence to justify it. Show an ACTUAL pattern of behaviour if you want people to listen to you.

      Delete
    19. To everyone that commented here, clearly this seems like an area that everyone has a strong opinion and concerns about. Especially concerns regarding female safety and fears about Counselling Services. We want to follow up with you regarding these concerns. If you feel comfortable to do so, I'd encourage you to send us an email so we can follow up with you regarding what we're doing about this. (me: vpin@feds.ca, Danielle: pres@feds.ca)

      Delete
    20. > I have been given a verbal statement from the Director of Counselling services that the service to students hasn't been impacted and it is still a safe environment for students to attend.

      It's not up to the director of CS to decide whether or not students feel safe in that environment. Students make that determination. It is condescending and patronizing to tell students that they should feel safe when clearly many do not.

      > As a side note in my spare time I teach self-defence workshops on campus :) so it's an issue I'm very active in.

      Oh boy, another "women's self-defense" advocate. As someone who used to teach these classes, I think they are downright harmful. They instill participants with a false sense of confidence re: defending against attacks and they perpetuate the "creep in the alley" idea of gendered violence. Retaliation is often the most dangerous move, and women with years of training can still easily be overpowered by a larger, stronger aggressor if they have the element of surprise. Additionally, these classes help to perpetuate the idea that women should be responsible for protecting themselves against violence, as opposed to holding the perpetrators of violence accountable, and so they are often seen as additional fodder for victim-blaming.

      > (this includes a WalkSafe program, advocating for better lighting, lobbying for policy changes etc.)

      Walking in brightly lit places is not going to protect individuals from targeted violence or harassment! Random muggings are rare!

      Delete
    21. Maaz, thanks for the offer but just tell us here in on omguw by posting another omg. You'll reach more of us that way.

      Delete
  19. It's 10:53, why haven't the execs answered questions posted on here since they are supposed to by 9am?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Currently in a huddle deciding which questions to answer (the safe unimportants), or sidestep/defer (the 800 pound gorillas) without seeming that way.

      Maybe they'll surprise us though by taking a stand and putting themselves in front of the important issues to rally support for the issues rather than for themselves.

      Would be refreshing.

      Delete
    2. Well for starters, this thing is supposed to BEGIN at 9am, so have some patience. Also, if you were actually as concerned about this as you would like your post to seem, you would know that today is the Feds Open House, so they're currently in the SLC answering questions with a bunch of representatives from other Feds services.

      Delete
    3. 20b, sorry take your time. (looks up to confirm timing from OP) ... hey, the date changed to Wednesday Jan 21 and there's a cross-out! (see MOD's note)
      That sucks. Now they'll be able to dodge answering these questions until after other events.

      Don't take your time. "Miscommunication" indeed.
      Just redeem yourselves with your better answers the extra day has bought you.

      Delete
    4. It'd be bad if softball q's got planted (like 1b said) and they only respond to those, and "run out of time" before getting to the real tough ones already posted here.

      Delete
    5. We'll be responding to questions all day today till 9PM :)

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    6. My last meeting ends at 9pm, so I'll probably go until later.

      Delete
    7. Hey 19. Apologize for the delay. Times are tough! lol I had two full days of meetings 8:30am-9pm yesterday and 9am-5:30pm today! Just got done at the gym and now I am here, answering questions :)

      Delete
  20. Why does the Women's Centre have to tell the Students for Life Club if they're having an event, but not the other way around?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If the above is true, I want to know too.

      Delete
    2. This actually isn't true. Whenever the UW Students' for Life club plans an event, we give a heads up to the Womens' Centre. The same way, when the Womens' Centre plans an event, we give a heads up to the Students for Life club. As you can imagine, this is done to ensure that neither party is caught by surprise, especially if any triggering content is to be used by either party. I'm happy to answer more questions about this via email (vpin@feds.ca)

      Delete
    3. The Women's Centre has always been given due notice of Student for Life events. Just because SFL aren't the ones telling them, somebody in feds informs the centre weeks in advance. They even send the women's centre emails with the event descriptions. While I am not a fan of Students for Life, this stupid rule has at least always been equal.

      Delete
  21. Why do I feel hungry right after eating?

    ReplyDelete
  22. How do you feel about raising or lowering the Feds fee?

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    Replies
    1. Hey 22. Interesting question. I am not sure that my personal opinion is relevant, but I will say this: regardless of whether the Feds fee raises or lowers, the change will be based on student judgment. Student judgment of the value provided by the services and products Feds provides. Student control this decision!

      Delete
    2. You mean students partially rubber stamp this decision. Every year, the March General Meeting asks to increase the Feds fee (usually in line with inflation). And almost every year, the General Meeting - populated heavily by Feds staff, who get paid to attend unlike students who have to take time away from class and studying - approves this motion without debate.

      It'd be nice to at least see some discussion for a change.

      Delete
  23. Replies
    1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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    2. Thanks 23! Maaz your a jerk! ...... that is all

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    3. You're*

      Just saying...

      Delete
  24. How many feds execs does it take to make sure there is not ice completely covering the paths through UW?

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    Replies
    1. Asshat. What do you expect for them to do? This is a Uni admin issue, not a Feds issue. If you want to complain about it, go to Needles Hall and complain. Seriously. It is their job to listen and act on issues on campus that are under their purview, like plant-ops..

      Delete
    2. As I mentioned above, this is definitely a student issue. And as your representatives, we are advocating to the university administration to fix this. I have raised this concern to the university's Joint Health and Safety Committee and I'll continue to follow up with them. If you'd like updates or follow up with me about this, we can chat via email (vpin@feds.ca) or feel free to drop by my office in SLC 1104.

      Delete
  25. I know this has been said before but I think we should be able to opt out of the Feds fee.

    I can't think of one noteworthy way that Feds has benefited me since I began my undergrad 3.5 years ago, and I don't like paying so much to see nothing done. The fees are accumulating, and I genuinely don't mind paying money into something when I see results but I just don't feel like Feds are earning their fee. They are taking it for granted.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's pretty naive to think Feds has done nothing for you, years of work has gone to ensuring you have the best (currently possible) university experience. Without them, the university could simply exploit their position with limited accountability (fees/tuition, etc.).

      Delete
    2. Unfortunately, you're lobbying in the wrong place, 25. The reason the Feds fee can't be opted out of is because Ontario laws say you have to hold membership in a student union in order to be a student at an Ontario university.

      Delete
    3. Hey 25. I am sorry to hear that Feds has given you this impression. I would try to change your mind by typing an answer, but I would be here for a long time :) I would love to meet with you and chat about the reason for the fees, why they are charged the way they are , and how your dollars are spent improving your experience. Just let me know if you want to chat. vpof@feds.ca or just drop by my office hours http://www.feds.ca/about/the-executive/

      Delete
    4. We do quite a few things at the Federation of Students, buy assuming you've ignored all of them which is very possible. Earlier in this AMA I mentioned lobbying efforts related to the tuition framework. Now lets assume there was no lobbying done by OUSA/Feds and the agreement stayed at the previous agreement of 5%. Now assume you paid what a first year arts student paid(this will give the lowest amount saved, so every other student will technically be saving more).

      At 3% you've paid since the framework your tuition rose from $2854(F12, W13) to $2939(F13, W14) to $3027(F14, W15).
      If it had been 5% it would have been $2996.7(F13, W14) and 3146.53(F14,W15). The difference between these two is $57.7 for F13, W14 per term and $119.53 for F14, W15. For a total of $354.46, far more money than you paid in the Feds fee for the last two years. Just in terms of money we've helped you come out ahead :)

      Delete
    5. ^Stephane were you drunk when you wrote this? Pls someone come decode this so I can understand his response. :(

      Delete
  26. What will you do if reelected?

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    Replies
    1. I won't answer that as it would constitute campaigning for the election.

      Delete
  27. St├ęphane,

    This may be more of an issue that should be dealt with by EngSoc, but I will ask nonetheless. As an engineering student, I have taken several courses to pursue an option within the Faculty of Science. Most of these courses have been taken as my CSEs/TEs, but in order to complete the option I have had to take some courses while on co-op, as I am doing right now. For the course I am currently enrolled in, I had to pay $1297 in order to register, while classmates who in Science and AHS are taking this course for $676. We are learning the same content and receiving the same instruction, yet I have to pay nearly twice as much for it.

    Is there anything Feds can do (or is doing) to standardize the cost of taking a course while on co-op across all faculties?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is actually a very relevant question, and Stephane should answer it.

      Delete
    2. This applies to me as well. Curious for the answer.

      Delete
    3. I have tried having discussion while I was a student at OUSA General Assembly. This is an issue that I am very interested in and would love to see discussion at council on this topic. I understand that this is a discussion about potentially what is fair and we should have that discussion as a student body.

      The university is currently starting to use a new budgeting model, if students are interested I can see if there is appetite within the university to start this discussion.

      Thank you for bringing this up :)

      Delete
    4. I think there is value in bringing this up. I have taken courses online at Athabasca and at Laurentian to fill transfer requirements from first year because the $2500 expense it would have cost me to take it online at UW.

      Delete
    5. In the small picture yes you are taking the same course but in the overall picture, your degree that you receive at the end is fundamentally different than AHS or science. Obviously you don't want to pay almost double as others but looking at the end result might make it easier to accept.

      Delete
    6. 27f, that's like saying "in the small picture you're both buying the same component parts for building a machine, but the other person is going to use those parts to build a car, while you use them to build an airplane. Therefore it makes sense that you pay twice as much."

      Obviously it doesn't. So why should it make sense here?

      Delete
  28. This applies to me as well. Curious for the answer.

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  29. Mental health was a gigantic plank in your platform, but I have seen zero progress on this issue. I believe Danielle and Maaz are responsible for this.

    This was considered one of the top three issues last election and one of the main things that got this team elected, so what do you have to show for it?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi 29. I'll try and keep it short but if you feel like I've missed anything please feel free to email me your feedback at pres@feds.ca:
      1. I've hired a Mental Wellness Commissioner (a part-time student) who has helped me advocate to the university on improving mental health services as well as researching Mental Health trends, events, and programs at other universities and in society.
      2. We are pushing the university to collect better data on the services offered for Mental Health related issues. They have given me the following timeline: this term Counselling services is piloting a new intake process that will help track the severity level of students, and Health and Counselling services will start using an electronic questionnaire for service evaluation over the rest of 2015.
      3. I have a Mental Health Committee and we are currently writing a funding proposal to the government for an extensive peer support program based out of the Centre for Mental Health Research and in conjunction with the Psychology Department. This is intended to use a future application for funding from the Mental Health Innovation Fund. For context UWaterloo applied for funding a couple years ago and did not receive any and hasn't applied for any grants or funding at the present moment which is extremely unfortunate for students.
      4. We have resurrected the mental health student run peer support program for students known as MATES and it's currently in pilot stage (run out of health services but supervised by counselling services).
      5. I've planned and attended events such as Campus Wellness Day (in the Fall term) and the Inclusion Day Conference: https://ticketfi.com/event/156/inclusion-day-conferenceHappy
      6. Feds also has a Campus Wellness Policy, that was created last year, that I use when advocating the the University and externally.

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    2. 1. What are the qualifications and responsibilities of this position?
      2. That probably would have happened without you due to internal and public pressure.
      3. What's the size of this grant? Could 45k have helped? Cuz I've heard those MappedIn kiosks are mighty fine tables.
      4. No. No you didn't. MATES was resurrected by the past director of the program and some co-op students. Don't take credit for other people's work. Also, MATES is a 1-on-1 program; unless we have 15k volunteers I don't see how that's going to reach any significant portion of campus.
      5. Campus "Wellness" Day was a gigantic joke for any serious mental health issues. By planning Inclusion Day (not MH-related at all), you mean ensuring a bus is available, right?
      6. You did not create or have anything to do with the Wellness policy. That was drafted under the past FEDS prez David and his mental health committee.

      And I know that 3 was being pushed by a few individuals and Stand Up to Stigma, all of whom complained bitterly of being blocked by you for at least 6 months. So I suspect you appropriated and erased them from that work, too.

      What have *you personally* offered to this position? As a student with serious mental health problems, I feel like you have set back mental health efforts on campus years. At least Jesse wouldn't have dismissed people outright who were trying to get shit done if he couldn't take all the credit for their work.

      Delete
    3. Danielle, #2: If actual usable aggregate #'s are reported publicly to us this could be useful. My sense is there's a lot of wasted money and time in at least Counselling Services. Hold them accountable for the total money we give them each term (which is $??? - please fill in).
      Which and how many full-time-equivalent staff split at what levels (psychologists, counsellors, admin, etc) are actually seeing how many clients, (as opposed to just scheduling and canceling so it looks like they're working when they're not), and supervising? How many CS staff are working on projects, what are they, what got done, when is the planned completion, is there any real project management, and what's the value to us?
      My sense is there are a very few very hard workers who get most of the work assigned to them and done who are closely monitored, and some highly favored staff with cushy jobs not pulling their weight and who fritter their time away on pet projects with impunity.
      Since it's our money paying them we have a right to know how it's being spent and what we're getting for it in real terms. I've heard there are people who've been "working" on projects for years, with practically nothing to show for all that time and cost.
      This waste of our money has got to stop. Increase transparency, increase accountability and reporting. Without giving names, how many hours of each staff's week are being spent on what, by individual staff?

      Delete
    4. As someone who has personally had mental health issues, I would like to say that the last person I would want to talk to is a "peer support group". I understand that many people have benefited from similar groups, however is it so much to ask that we have the opportunity to meet with a real professional? Maybe someone who has extensive training in mental health treatment? I go to counseling services, however more often than not have I had to wait over a week to get an appointment. Maybe redirecting some of the money that is being funneled into useless initiatives in order to hire full-time, permanent counselors or therapists should be considered.

      Delete
  30. I second meeting a real professional. I feel incredibly alone in my program and world. I need someone to tell me it's going to be okay and me not think it's one of my "fake friends" caring.

    ReplyDelete