Students win code of conduct battle at the University of Ottawa



    University administration withdraws unpopular proposal

    OTTAWA, Sept. 11 /CNW Telbec/ - The University of Ottawa administration
has withdrawn a proposed non-academic code of conduct. On Friday August 29,
2008 a statement to this effect was published on the University of Ottawa
website replacing the highly unpopular proposal. (See statement here:
http://web5.uottawa.ca/admingov/docs-beyond-draft-code.html). This move has
been hailed as an important victory for students by a broad coalition led by
the undergraduate Student Federation (SFUO) and the Graduate Student
Association (GSAED).
    "This is an important victory for all students at the University of
Ottawa, it shows that when students come together around an issue they have
the ability to change the decisions of our university administration" said
Dean Haldenby, President of the SFUO. "I see this as the first step that needs
to be taken by the current administration in order to start rebuilding the
trust from students" Haldenby added.
    On April 25th 2008 over 500 students demonstrated and occupied the main
administration building at the University of Ottawa demanding a withdrawal of
the proposed code of conduct, students cited concerns over freedom of speech
and denounced the code as paternalistic. Following those actions student
representatives met with university administrators over the summer with a
series of demands including the withdrawal of the proposed code of conduct.
    The university administration under newly hired president Allan Rock has
accepted to withdraw the proposed code and is currently considering the
creation of an Ombudsperson Office, the enactment of a Student Bill of Rights
and the adoption of anti-harassment policies to protect all members of the
university community.
    "I think our administration has realized that the proposed code of
conduct was a mistake and is trying to fix it. This is a victory that needs to
be celebrated and I hope it becomes a rallying point for students. Ideally
this will help sisters and brothers from other campuses across Ontario and the
rest of Canada who are fighting paternalistic codes of conducts like this one"
stated Federico Carvajal, External Commissioner for GSAED.
    Similar codes of conduct have already targeted student organizers in
other universities including the University of Toronto, Trent University and
York University. Students from those campuses have been actively opposing
their respective codes of conduct which students maintain are aimed at
stifling dissent. At its annual general meeting in May 2008, member locals of
the Canadian Federation of Students enacted official policy opposing
non-academic codes of conduct.




For further information:

For further information: Federico Carvajal, External Commissioner,
GSAED/ CFS - Local 94, (613) 851-2726, external@gsaed.ca; Julie Seguin,
Vice-President Communications, SFUO, (613) 808-3922,
vp.communications@sfuo.ca

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Student Federation of the University of Ottawa

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