Volume 96, Issue 78
Tuesday, February 18, 2003

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Would fees be better spent at a casino?

By Marshall Bellamy
Gazette Staff

A referendum on the status of the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance at the University of Windsor has brought about electoral dishonesty and mayhem.

The student population at Windsor is holding a referendum to leave OUSA, said Enver Villamizar, president of the University of Windsor Students' Alliance.

According to Villamizar, the referendum came in response to a petition signed by 500 students calling for the UWSA to leave OUSA.

"I don't think any of our initiatives were recognized by OUSA," stated Laura Chesnik, former UWSA VP-university affairs and leader of the campaign to leave OUSA. She noted the UWSA agenda for students at Windsor was never fully taken seriously by OUSA.

The UWSA has additionally been frustrated with the voting format of the general assembly of OUSA, Chesnik said, adding that for every 3,000 students attending a school, one vote is given, therefore Windsor, with its smaller student population, is at a disadvantage.

UWSA became members of the Canadian Federation of Students last term, Chesnik pointed out, noting CFS allows one vote per member school.

OUSA's steering committee allows one vote for every member school allowing equal representation, contended Josh Morgan, OUSA president.

Although the general assembly of OUSA has a system that gives one vote per 3,000 students at each member school, that system exists to gives students on the same campus with varying opinions a chance to bring forth their interests, Morgan added.

"[What is] disturbing to me is that one side is misconstruing the facts," Morgan said, in reference to the conduct of Chesnik and Villamizar, the leaders of the campaign team against OUSA.

According to Morgan, the campaign team had released false information concerning OUSA's policies, including information that campaign leaders should have known to be 10 years out of date, citing OUSA's tuition policies as an example.

The leaders of the campaign team were asked to publicly apologize to UWSA, although the apology turned into a speech criticizing OUSA and misinformation continued to be distributed, commented Leslie Church, executive director of OUSA.

The UWSA has voted not to take a stand on the issue, Church said, noting she feels that by remaining neutral on the issue, UWSA is negligent for allowing its election guidelines to be broken by the campaign leaders.

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2002 THE GAZETTE