January has been a busy month—not just for OUSA, but for all of our student associations as they hold elections to determine next year’s executives and student leaders. Wishing the best of luck to all those student associations who have completed or are currently in the elections process. Hosting an election entirely virtually is no easy feat, but we’re optimistic that students will continue to engage in democracy, even in this online world. We look forward to welcoming a new group of student leaders and working with them to improve post-secondary education and student experiences across their campuses and beyond.
OUSA kicked off 2021 with a host of campus visits to our member schools, meeting with student leaders and university administrators from McMaster, Brock, and Trent-Durham GTA. We also officially welcomed the University of Ottawa Students’ Union (UOSU) to OUSA as an observer student association! This marks an exciting time as we welcome a new representative to our Steering Committee, UOSU Advocacy Commissioner Tim Gulliver. Learn more about UOSU and Tim here.
On January 27, we participated in the announcement of proposed amendments to Ontario Regulation 131/16, which will make campus sexual violence policies and processes more trauma-informed and survivor-centric. These proposed amendments come from OUSA’s recommendations and are a direct result of tireless advocacy championed by students and experts in the field committed to ending gender-based violence on campus. I encourage everyone to participate in the public consultation process, which runs until March 15, to share your thoughts on the proposed amendments. Additionally, OUSA is collaborating with Courage to Act to facilitate eight consultations on gender-based violence on campus. OUSA will be facilitating two consultations for undergraduate students on February 9 at 2:00PM and February 11 at 4:00PM. The feedback collected will provide valuable input to the federal government on the National Action Plan to End Gender-Based Violence.
OUSA Steering Committee members and student authors are hard at work preparing policy papers for our Spring General Assembly, where we’ll be presenting an updated Student Health & Wellness policy paper and our first Racial & Religious Equity policy paper with timely, evidence-informed recommendations to ensure students are safe and supported throughout their education. We are also beginning consultations with Indigenous students that will inform our Indigenous Students policy paper. An update on this process and recommendations for next steps will be presented at our Spring General Assembly.
Stay tuned for the launch of OUSA’s Spring Campaign on February 22! We will be engaging students in the advocacy conversation and promoting a better understanding of the work being done by OUSA and student associations to support students across the province.