Accessibility Commissioner Ashton Forrest


The Accessibility Commissioner advocates on behalf of SOGS members with disabilities and those that face accessibility challenges. Their primary role is to work towards greater accessibility and inclusivity for those with a wide range of disabilities (including but not limited to physical disabilities, mental disabilities/disorders and learning disabilities) and accessibility challenges (including but not limited to parents of children with disabilities) that have historically been insufficiently accounted for within society.

About our Accessibility Commissioner: Ashton Forrest is a Master’s candidate in the Department of Philosophy at Western University. Her areas of scholarly focus are moral, legal, and political philosophy. As a person with a disability living with scleroderma she has spent over a decade advocating for and raising awareness about accessibility and disability issues on the local, provincial, and national stage. She has served on the City of London’s Accessibility Advisory Committee, Cheshire London’s Cultural Competency Committee, and has volunteered with many organizations and campus entities that support people with disabilities and chronic illness. As a current member of the Post Secondary Education Standards Committee for the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) she is working with other accessibility experts and advocates to create an Accessible Education Standard for the AODA. Ashton’s main goal as a commissioner is to ensure that the voices of students with disabilities are reflected in policy, programming, and the built environment on campus. “Nothing for us with out us!”

Find out more about the Accessibility Commissioner’s projects here.

Accessibility resources here.

gender Concerns Commissioner | Francesca Alexander


The Gender Concerns Commissioner advocates on behalf of female, non-binary and trans identifying SOGS members. The Gender Concerns Commissioner connects students to campus or community resources, voices any concerns or interests at SOGS council meetings and is a member of the Sexual Violence Prevention and Education Committee. The Commissioner works with other graduate students to bring activities/events/campaigns to create a safe and inclusive space to share concerns or opinions and work together to improve the graduate student experience at Western.

About our Gender Concerns Commissioner: Francesca Alexander is a second year Master’s of Music student studying voice performance at Western University. She holds a Honours Bachelor of Music from Western.

Francesca is passionate about intersectional feminism, and is especially interested in BIPOC womxn and non-binary representation in classical music. Consequently, she started her own research project entitled “The Coloratura Collective” which consists of interviews of young BIPOC womxn and non-binary classical musicians and their thoughts on making the classical music industry more equitable.

As a mezzo-soprano, Francesca has performed with the London Symphonia, the Halifax Summer Opera Festival, and has been a part of several performances at the Don Wright Faculty of Music. In her spare time, Francesca keeps herself up-to-date with politics and enjoys discovering new musical artists.

As the Gender Concerns Commissioner, she hopes to help facilitate a more welcoming and supportive community for all womxn and gender diverse students at Western.

Find out more about the Gender Concerns Commissioner, their projects and resources here.

Indigenous Commissioner | Danica pawlick potts


The Indigenous Commissioner collaborates with community partners to promote a supportive learning environment for Aboriginal/Indigenous students. They represent and promote Aboriginal/Indigenous world views, research methodologies, and interests. Additionally, they foster a sense of community and build relationships in keeping with Aboriginal/Indigenous priorities and culture.

Find out more about the Indigenous Commissioner’s projects here.

Pride Commissioner | Brody Clement-Thorne


The Pride Commissioner advocates on behalf of the LGBTQIA+ SOGS members. In addition to representing the community’s interests at SOGS Council meetings, the Pride Commissioner helps connect students to resources, supports local LGBTQIA+ events, and seeks out ways to support LGBTQIA+ individuals.

About our Pride Commissioner:
Brody is in the second year of his Master’s of Materials Engineering degree. He holds a BESc in Mechanical Engineering from Western University.
Personal statement: My passion for the LGBTQ+ community started before I identified within it, as my older sibling first came out as gay, then trans. In response, I started a Pride Club at my high school, and by the time I graduated I had realized that I am bi-sexual. When I came to Western I was disappointed with the resources available to me, and in my 3rd year, helped with the creation of the Western EngiQueers, an LGBTQ+ engineering group. In my 4th year I was the president of the Western EngiQueers, and was in contact with many like-minded students across Canada. Several of us came together to create EngiQueers Canada, a national organization for LGBTQ+ engineering students. I currently serve as the vice-president of EngiQueers Canada, a role that I believe has given me a lot of insight into student governance and the merits of student driven organizations. My goal as Pride Commissioner for SOGS are to advocate for the LGBTQ+ students on campus, which is to support the community and strive for equality.
Projects and Initiatives of Interest: 

Find out more about the current and past Pride Commissioner’s projects here.

Western International welcomes LGBTQIA+ International Students

Racial Equity & Inclusivity Commissioner | Mohammad Sharifi


The SOGS Racial Equity and Inclusivity Commissioner advocates for racialized graduate students on issues and concerns affecting them at Western University. The commissioner will work with campus partners and community members to enhance the quality of student experience for racialized SOGS members. 

About our Racial Equity and Inclusivity Commissioner: Mohammad Sharifi is a PhD candidate (English) at Western University and a part-time instructor at Fanshawe College.

“I have always been passionate about diversity, social justice, and racial equity throughout my personal and professional life, whether in my native Iran or in Canada. Having survived an instance of racial hatred in Canada, I have been inspired in recent years to engage more actively in raising awareness about racial inequities in our society. I believe that with giving voice to the marginalized and working together in solidarity we can achieve a better society, and my hope is that I can contribute to this noble cause.”

Read the CFS Anti-Racism Toolkit.