SOGS Commissioners are advocates who are accountable to a specific sub-group of SOGS members who identify with a given constituency group. Commissioners help to foster a sense of community within their constituency groups and in the wider campus community. They may refer students to services available on campus and in the wider community and help facilitate an easier transition to graduate school for incoming students.
Commissioners usually hold meetings with their constituency group once per semester. These meetings are to facilitate community engagement and recognition, as well as provide the opportunity for constituents to raise concerns they would like the Commissioner to investigate.
Commissioners are elected at October Council to take office November 1 for a one year term. If you would like further information or would like to get involved with advocacy (as a constituent member or as an ally), you may contact the Commissioners or the Speaker.
Accessibility Commissioner | Martin Ross
The Accessibility Commissioner advocates on behalf of differently abled SOGS members. Their primary role is to work towards greater accessibility and inclusivity for those with mental and/or physical conditions that have historically been insufficiently accounted for within society.
Pride Commissioner | Patrick Hill
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.
Aboriginal/Indigenous Student Commissioner | Tara Hedican
The Indigenous Commissioner collaborates with community partners to promote a supportive learning environment for Aboriginal/Indigenous students. They represent and promote Aboriginal/Indigenous worldviews, research methodologies, and interests. Additionally, they foster a sense of community and build relationships in keeping with Aboriginal/Indigenous priorities and culture.
Women’s Concerns Commissioner | Mahsa Shahbaz
The Women’s Concerns Commissioner advocates on behalf of female identifying SOGS members. The Women’s 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.
To date the following projects have been taken on under this portfolio:
- Discussion groups under the banner of What is Feminism
- An International Students and Families Household Items Drive has been run two years in a row
- Safe campus messaging was developed and presented for the first time at the Graduate Student Orientation.
The following projects are in progress:
- Developing strategies to allow for childcare options during SOGS Council
- Reviewing the current Sexual Violence Prevention Policy
The following projects are goals for the upcoming school year:
- To collect concrete statistics on the number of students who also have parental responsibilities
- To host an informal focus group to learn from female identifying students what they would like to see happen on campus to better support their graduate studies experience
- To provide upstander training for graduate students and assure all sexual violence prevention messaging is inclusive of graduate students.