August 2016: Council Summary

The following provides a brief summary of the recent Council meeting on August 25. The complete Council package, which includes the agenda and reports, can be accessed online. Full minutes of the March Council meeting will be available in the April 2016 Council package.

This summary is provided to increase transparency, and to support Councillors in completing their obligations under Bylaw 2.3.5; “shall regularly communicate with his or her constituents concerning the activities, programs, and decisions of the Society”.

If you have any questions, please contact our office or the Speaker.

You may jump to the relevant section:


  • Congratulations to Fakhruzzaman Arif on taking on the role of Chief Returning Officer (CRO) for the reminder of the position’s term (November).
  • Congratulations to Andre Duarte on joining the GEC.
  • Welcome to the many members who nominated themselves to committees at this month’s meeting. As a reminder, committee membership is open to all SOGS members. We encourage our members to promote this opportunity at orientations and similar events, as it is an excellent way to be involved in the university community, as well as shape SOGS events and projects.
  • The Thriving in Graduate School segment of the SGPS website is live; we encourage members to consider the content and promote it to incoming students.
  • Martin Levebvre is seeking graduate student input on accessibility and safety concerns across campus, specifically with regards to infrastructure opportunities being discussed by the Open Space and Landscape Group at Western.


Upcoming dates of importance

  • September 13-16 : Fall Orientation
  • September 17 : SOGS will be subsidizing adult tickets at the Western Fair, and full cost of tickets for children ages 5-10, as a way of supporting an off-campus, parent-friendly event for all SOGS members (new and returning)
  • September 20, 3pm (UCC 147A): Consultation on Thriving in Graduate School and wellness projects at Western
  • September 29, noon, USC Council Chambers : Student consultation and focus group on the sexual violence policy development at Western
  • Details TBA : Accessibility Constituency Meeting; hosted by SOGS and SSD
    • Information and support for grad students navigating the programs and accommodations available to them on campus
  • November 2 : National Day of Action [Canadian Federation of Students]
    • If you would like to know more, or get involved with organizing advocacy events under the National Day of Action / Fight the Fees banner, please get in touch the VP Advocacy []
  • November 3 : Jorge Cham of PhD Comics is coming to Western!


Motion decisions

Reminder: Motions generally include several clauses providing the background or justification of a motion followed by one or several resolutions. The resolutions are the specific actions being proposed. For brevity, resolutions use the initialisms BIRT (be it resolved that) and BIFRT (be it further resolved that).

Motions arising from the President/Executive

Motion 1


Whereas the turnover at SOGS is high and frequent, and the SOGS Executive wishes to ensure that future Commissioners best understand their role and responsibilities as part of the Society.

Whereas each Commissioner is expected to “seek opportunities to expand the relationships between constituency group members and allies to the constituency group when possible and appropriate within the Society and the Western community in general” ( and to “foster a sense of community and build relations within the constituency group and in the campus community” (

BIRT each Commissioner should sit, to the best of their ability, on the relevant Western committee affiliated with their portfolio/constituency group

BIFRT that the list and contact information for these relevant Committees be provided to the Commissioners as part of their Commissioner training.

BIFRT if a Commissioner cannot attend one or more of these committee meetings that the Commissioner contact the SOGS Executive in advance to ensure that a SOGS representative be sent
in their place.

Motion 2


BIRT the Accessibility Commissioner, to the best of their ability, sit on at least one of the following committees (when active): Western’s Ontario with Disabilities Act Committee (WODAC), Barrier Free Access Committee (BFAC), and Campus Accessibility Review and Enhancement (CARE) Committee.

BIFRT the Accessibility Commissioner liaise with Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) on behalf of graduate student accessibility issues.

BIFRT the Accessibility Commissioner liaise with Accessibility Western on behalf of graduate student accessibility issues.

Motion 3


BIRT the Indigenous Commissioner sit on at least one of the following committees (when active): Indigenous Postsecondary Education Council (IPEC), Indigenous Strategic Initiatives Committee (ISIC), and Indigenous Awareness Week Planning Committee.

BIFRT the Indigenous Commissioner liaise with Supporting Aboriginal Graduate Enhancement (SAGE) on behalf of indigenous graduate students.

BIFRT the Indigenous Commissioner liaise with Indigenous Services on behalf of indigenous graduate students.

BIFRT the Indigenous Commissioner liaise with the larger London Indigenous community to the best of their ability.

Motion 4


BIRT the Pride Commissioner sit on the Western Pride (Parade) Committee and attend all meetings to the best of their ability.

BIFRT the Pride Commissioner ensures that SOGS has a visible presence in the Pride Parade by encouraging SOGS member participation via social media, promotional incentives, prizes, etc.

BIFRT the Pride Commissioner liaise with the Queer Caucus group and foster ties between the larger Western and London queer community and graduate students.

BIFRT a separate line item of $500 be created for the 2017-2018 budget specifically for the Pride Parade, under
the Pride Commissioner’s budget.

Motion 5


Whereas the Women’s Concerns Commissioner “shall serve as a liaison between the Society and other groups and programs concerned with issues of concern to women on campus and in the community” (

BIRT the following be added to bylaw “The Women’s Concerns Commissioner shall sit on (when active) to the best of their ability, the Sexual Violence Prevention & Education Committee, Women’s Caucus on Women’s Issues, and the President’s Committee for the Safety of Women on Campus.




Motions arising from Other Committees

Motion 6 (HPC)


Whereas under most cases for these services students will save more money out-of-pocket;

Whereas changing the coverage to $40/visit will save an estimated $19.58/student on the premium;

Whereas most other graduate student plans have a dollar-per-visit coverage, averaging $30, instead of a percentage-off coverage;

BIRT the coverage for paramedical services (excluding mental health services: psychologist, psychotherapist, and social worker) change on the next RFP for the 2017-2019 SOGS Extended Health and Dental Plan contract from 80% coverage to a $40/visit with the annual maximum unchanged at $500.




New business

Motion 7


Whereas the October Council Meeting for the 2016-2017 academic year are scheduled to be held during the fall and winter reading breaks;

Whereas this may inconvenience some councillors;

BIRT the October SOGS Council meeting be scheduled for November 3, 2016.

BIFRT the February SOGS Council meeting be scheduled for March 2, 2017.

Please note: the decision to move these Council meetings to later months is based on a) the need to hold the October Council after we have received enrollment numbers from SGPS and b) the need to hold our AGM in February.

Motion 8


Whereas SOGS is part of the UWO campus Unity Labour Group;

BIRT SOGS take part in the poster campaign to showcase the contribution of academic workers and non-academic workers in the day to day functioning of the University.

Motion 9


BIRT the draft audited financial statements for fiscal 2015-2016 be accepted.


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