Vast support for Felix

Fellow students of Felix Omondi Osok (22) initiate a petition in order to force SiO to help him out of his financial jam.

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– I have once again met with SiO, and they presented a new proposal for a down-payment plan. We are going to have another meeting, but we still disagree. I can hardly afford to pay anything, Felix Omondi Osok says.

In our last edition of Universitas, we told the story of the international student from Kenya who was deceived by his own tenant, who sublet his student flat this summer. Omondi Osok is stuck with a bill amounting to NOK 20,000 after his subtenant among others made phone calls for NOK 18,000 under a false name. He is unable to pay this bill.

– Unreasonable

His fellow students have now responded by initiating a petition in his support.

– It is not fair that he is supposed to pay the total amount. He is a victim of many unfortunate circumstances. The sublease agreement was carried out with SiO’s blessing and in accordance with an executive officer. It would be utterly unreasonable if he were to be stuck with the entire bill, Fredrik Gulowsen, one of the students behind this petition, says. Felix Omondi Osok is not eligible for government support from neither Norway nor Kenya. This is one of the reasons behind the response from fellow students.

– He is in a unique situation compared to most other students, and SiO should also take this into consideration. We would have been supported by our families and social networks. This is a luxury he cannot take part in, Jo Egil Tobiasen says.

In the last edition of Universitas, marketing officer of SiO Housing Guri Bergo said that if they were to delete Omondi Osok’s amount, it would affect other SiO residents negatively. However, Gulowsen, Tobiasen and the others hope that their petition will prove that students themselves think the amount should be deleted.

– If students say that this is fine by them, this should not be a problem, Tobiasen says.

– I don’t think people will have a hard time signing this petition. SiO funds are indirectly our funds as students, and that we gather to help him is the least we can do. It is important that students dare to take a stand, and that we are not put off by bureaucracy. After all, SiO is only managing the students` money, Gulowsen says.

– Finding a solution

Guri Bergo of SiO is still unable to promise a final deletion, but she has high hopes of finding a solution.

– We communicate well. I am convinced that we can reach a proper agreement together, she says.

Following publication of his story, Felix has been contacted by a wide range of students who support him. And not only a petition is underway. Some people have offered him personal loans, others have suggested fund raisers and solidarity evenings in order to help him financially. And the compassion is touching:

– I am very happy with everyone who has approached me, and everyone who has cared or asked whether they can help me in any way. This is very nice because this matter has not only been hard on me financially but also mentally. I have had a hard time keeping up with my studies this autumn, he says.

If you want to sign the petition, you will be able to find it at U1, the lounge located downstairs at the Eilert Sundt building (open Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays). In addition, students will be campaigning around campus.

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