July 2018: Newsletter

SOGS Update, the official monthly electronic newsletter from SOGS, keeps you up to date on issues and events affecting graduate students at Western University.

Between editions of the newsletter, you’ll find updates on Facebook,  Twitter, the IGSIC Facebook page and on our events calendar!

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EVENTS

Free goddess yoga for everyone! July 5, 8:30AM-9:10AM @ Innovation Works London (201 King Street)

Thesis Writing Time July 6, 13, 20, 27 @ The SOGS office/ 10AM – 3:45PM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

yoga on UC Hill July 10 @ 7PM

SOGS goes to CANADA’S WONDERLAND! Saturday, July 28

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BOARD GAME NIGHT – 7PM / July 18 @ The Grad Club

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream & Tie Dye – July 24 @ The Grad Club

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LONDON PRIDE PARADE – July 29. Come out and support London’s LGBTQIA+ community.

Wear purple, be PROUD. Snap a pic, tag #westernupride and show your pride!

Beginning July 3 until July 29, Western’s Pride banner will be travelling across campus. Schedule: Grad Club (July 9 – 13) / UCC (July 16 – 23) 

 

LIVING ON A TIGHT BUDGET – Graduate Student Cookbook

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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ANNOUNCEMENTS

CALL FOR NOMINATIONS: SOGS OMBUDSPERSON

Members interested in running for SOGS ombudsperson have until the July Council package report deadline (July 17th) to nominate themselves. Candidates running for Ombudsperson should send their nomination to the Speaker (speaker@sogs.ca). Candidate statements will be published in the July Council package. The election will be held at July Council (Thursday, June 26, 2018).

From the SOGS Pride Commissioner:

London’s Pride Festival will be from July 19-29! We will be attending events throughout the week, if you are interested in joining us please email pride@sogs.ca and we will make sure you are on the mailing list. We are also looking for individuals interested in presenting their research on topics related to LGBTQIA+ community at the Pride Festival. If you are interested please email pride@sogs.ca.

From SOGS Accounting Manager:

SOGS is proud to announce that $421,608.00 was awarded in Bursaries and Subsidies for the 2017-18 academic year:

  • $6,000 awarded in 125th Anniversary Scholarships
  • $9,600 awarded for Child Care Subsidies
  • $66,508 awarded for Travel and Placement Subsidies
  • $14,000 awarded for Graduate Student Teaching Awards
  • $325,500 awarded in Bursaries

The Summer OSOTF & OOP Bursaries have been Awarded!  A total of $108,000 was awarded to 72 of our Members!  Congratulations to the Winners!

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SOGS FUNDING

ARE YOU A YEAR “X” STUDENT? IF SO, READ THIS…

Thesis Completion Fund:

The Thesis Completion Fund is a collaborative, one-time awards program between SOGS and Public Service Alliance of Canada Local 610 (PSAC 610) to help members of the Society of Graduate Students.

Based on academic merit and research excellence, and financial need, its aim is to provide assistance to graduate students beyond the end of their funding packages.

SOGS and PSAC 610 advocate for proper funding according to the needs of each graduate students.

The application (please print one-sided only to help with distribution during adjudication) is due in paper form no later than July 31, 2018 at 4 pm to The Society of Graduate Students, Middlesex College, Room 8, Western University, London, ON N6A 5B7.

If you have any further questions, please feel free to e-mail SOGS VP Academic, Jina Kum, at academic@sogs.ca.

Please note that award will be adjudicated by a committee comprised of SOGS members, whom have signed the Confidentiality Agreement to protect applicant’s confidentiality and privacy. SOGS confidentiality agreement document (PDF)

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GET INVOLVED

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED FOR THE 2018 SOGS ORIENTATION IN SEPTEMBER! To sign-up to be a volunteer, please email services@uwo.ca.

SOGS International Graduate Student Orientation: Volunteers needed! September 11

Call for SOGS committee members & volunteers:

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SOGS Services

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CAMPUS NEWS

Western is moving to a smoke-free campus in a three-step process:

1.  Now – more clear air around campus – no smoking within 10 metres of buildings;
2.  July 1, 2018 – smoking will be allowed in designated areas only;
3.  July 1, 2019 – smoke-free campus.

Western’s smoking policy is meant to protect people from second-hand smoke, and create a healthier, cleaner campus for those who live, study, work and visit here.  A move to a smoke-free campus will offer challenges to some members of our community but the health and wellbeing of our community will improve as we go smoke-free. For smokers who wish to quit, help is available. Information about smoking cessation support.

 

Parking and construction: Find information about parking issues resulting from summer construction here.

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SOGS TRIVIA & CONTESTS

  • SOGS June trivia contest winners. Pick up your prize (GC voucher) at the SOGS office.
    • Gargi Jaju
    • Chantal Lemire
    • Chandell Gosse
  • Trivia question for July: 

 

June Council Summary

The following provides a brief summary of the recent Council meeting on June 28. The complete Council package, which includes the agenda and reports, can be accessed here. Full minutes of the meeting will be available in the July 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 Communications Administrator (sogs.communications@uwo.ca) or the Speaker (speaker@sogs.ca).

Announcements

The next Council meeting will be on July 26, 2018 at 6pm on the Grad Club patio.
Need SOGS to attend your September Department Orientations? Contact sogs.communications@uwo.ca.
Please help SOGS complete our Department Graduate Student Association/Council list.
Graduate Student Cookbook Contest! Submit to gps@sogs.ca and post your recipe on social media to win!
Please share this SOGS Council Summary with your members via email and/or social media.

Events

Yoga on UC Hill (June 12, July 10, August 14)
LGBTQIA+ Discussion Group (July 11): Engaging with Pride through History (2:00-3:00pm).
Out in the Sun with the Western Community (July 16): Pride Flag raising ceremony and free ice cream!
Indigenous Graduate Student Lunch and Meet & Greet (July 17): Stay tuned for event link!
Liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream/Tie-Dye (July 24)
SOGS goes to Wonderland (July 28)
See the SOGS Pride page for July Pride Events from our Pride Commissioner and at Western University.
SOGS Orientation (September 10-15) is planned! Please share this information with your members.
Graduate Wellness Week (Oct 1-6) is planned! Stay tuned for the formal calendar in July.

Updates
SOGS Orientation is around the corner! Join the Facebook Event page and SHARE WIDELY.
PSAC 610 UHIP Assistance Fund (July 3) – all international students can apply to this!
PSAC 610 MEETING WITH PARENT UNION WITH CLC PRESENT ON JULY 24 at 5:30pm in SSC 2050. ALL MEMBERS ENCOURAGED TO COME TO SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL!
Thesis Completion Fund Application due July 31, 2018 at 4pm to the SOGS Office (MC, Room 8).
We’re looking for anyone doing research on LGBTQIA+ to share their research at the Pride Parade in July! Contact pride@sogs.ca.
Looking for department-specific graduate student upstander training? Contact Melanie Stone (wcc@sogs.ca), our Women’s Concerns Commissioner who recently ran upstander training for 20 graduate students. Stay tuned for Sexual Violence Awareness Week in October and a “Times Up” event.
Are you a graduate student parent? Contact Melanie Stone (wcc@sogs.ca) to get involved with our Graduate Student Parent Advocacy Group!
Equity Committee will be launching its Annual International Graduate Student Household Drive.
Graduate Peer Support (GPS) will launch weekly drop-in peer support starting Wednesday, September 19.
Graduate Wellness Week (Oct 1-6) is planned! Keep an eye on social media for the event page. See last year’s line up if you’re interested! Informal calendar here.
We’re looking for anyone doing research on LGBTQIA+ to share their research at the Pride Parade in July! Contact pride@sogs.ca.
Health Plan Committee: 2017-2018 Survey Results. Please share the Empower Me document with your departments.
Campus Rec Survey Results (15-16): in summation: we’re going to be partnering with Campus Rec more!
Athletics Rep working on putting together a roundtable on graduate student use of SRS (Campus Rec).

Elections

VP Academic – Jina Kum (re-elected)
Speaker – Lola Wong, previous interim Communications Administrator (newly elected)

Relevant Motions

Whereas the GSTA Committee received over 1000 nominations during the 2017-2018 academic year.
BIRT the motion “all nominees for TA awards receive a certificate that can be added to a teaching Dossier; all nominees for TA Awards receive a copy of anonymized comments pending release by their nominees” passed at Council in January 2016 be amended to read “all nominees for GSTA awards receive a certificate [upon request within 1 year of when feedback was returned] that can be added to a teaching Dossier if nominations are legitimate; all nominees for GSTA Awards receive a copy of comments (anonymized where necessary) pending release by their nominees [via automated e-mail].”

Passed unanimously.

Whereas the 125th Anniversary Scholarship has a deadline on March 30th.
Whereas the 125th Anniversary Scholarship deadline is placed in silo, and does not fit well with the academic terms and other deadlines (ex. Subsidies and Bursaries Application deadline)
BIRT that the official deadline for the 125th Anniversary Scholarship be changed to April 30th.

Passed unanimously.

June 2018: Newsletter

SOGS Update, the official monthly electronic newsletter from SOGS, keeps you up to date on issues and events affecting graduate students at Western University.

Between editions of the newsletter, you’ll find updates on Facebook,  Twitter, the IGSIC Facebook page and on our events calendar!


 

EVENTS

 

 


 

ANNOUNCEMENTS

 

CALL FOR NOMINATIONS: SOGS Speaker and SOGS VP Academic positions up for election

Members interested in running for SOGS Speaker or VP Academic have until the June Council package report deadline (June 19th) to nominate themselves. Candidates running for VP Academic should send their nomination to the Speaker (speaker@sogs.ca) and candidates running for Speaker should send their nomination to the Executive (executive@sogs.ca). Candidate statements will be published in the June Council package. Elections will be held at June Council (Thursday, June 28, 2018).

 

From SOGS Accounting:

– SOGS awarded over $31,000 Winter term subsidies. Congratulations to all the winners!

  • 125th Scholarship         $6,000
  • Child Care Subsidies   $3.600
  • Placement Subsidies   $1,104
  • Travel Subsidies          $20,895.06

 

– Summer Subsidies deadline is August 31, 2018. Forms can be found in the SOGS office (MC 8) or online.

 

From SOGS Women’s Concerns Commissioner

  • Upstander Training Opportunity: Interested in receiving Upstander sexual violence intervention training? We are offering a free opportunity for 20 Graduate Students in June.
  • Parent Advocacy Group Meeting: Calling all graduate student parents! We’re starting a parent advocacy group to address issues facing graduate parents on campus.

Find out more at sogs.ca/wcc

 

From SOGS Pride Commissioner:

  • Be sure to come out to the following LGBTQIA+ Graduate Student events on campus in June:
    LGBTQIA+ Discussion Group: Wednesday, June 13th from 2-3, SOGS Office, MC 8. The topic will be Heteronormativity & Cissexism. Donuts and coffee will be provided!
    LGBTQIA+ Social Event: Join us for our monthly social in the Grad Club from 6:30 pm onwards!
  • London’s Pride Festival will be from July 19-29! We will be attending events throughout the week, if you are interested in joining us please email pride@sogs.ca and we will make sure you are on the mailing list. We are also looking for individuals interested in presenting their research on topics related to LGBTQIA+ community at the Pride Festival. If you are interested please email pride@sogs.ca.

Find out more at sogs.ca/pride

 

From SOGS Accessibility Commissioner, Martin Ross:

Commissioner Ross has been investigating SSD accommodations in graduate course syllabi and taken steps to ensure a section for SSD accommodations be implemented in the graduate course outline document.

Find out more at sogs.ca/accessiblity

 


 

GET INVOLVED

 


 

CAMPUS & COMMUNITY EVENTS

  • PSAC 610 UHIP Assistance Fund: If you are a TA that paid UHIP fees for the 2017/2018 academic year, don’t forget to apply for the UHIP Assistance Fund. Applications due by July 3rd.
  • Rise and shine with a Grad Club breakfast for only $5!

 


 

SOGS TRIVIA & CONTESTS

  • SOGS trivia contest winners
    • Ben Corrigan
    • Christina Chung
    • Aviva Blacher
  • Trivia question for May: 
    • What mythical creature can be found sitting at the reception desk of the SOGS Administrative Assistant?

 


Email sogs.communications@uwo.ca for more information or to submit newsletter content.

 

May Council Summary

The following provides a brief summary of the recent Council meeting on May 31. The complete Council package, which includes the agenda and reports, can be accessed here. Full minutes of the meeting will be available in the  June 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 Communications Administrator (sogs.communications@uwo.ca) or the Speaker (speaker@sogs.ca).

Announcements

The next Council meeting will be on June 28, 2018 at 6pm on the Grad Club patio.

Need SOGS to attend your September Department Orientations? Contact sogs.communications@uwo.ca.

SOGS June Elections! If you’re interested in running for VP Academic, please send your nomination to speaker@sogs.ca. If you’re interested in running for SOGS Speaker, please send your nomination to executive@sogs.ca. For more information, see here.

Please help SOGS complete our Department Graduate Student Association/Council list.

Please ensure that you share this SOGS Council Summary with your members via email and/or social media.

Events

Yoga on UC Hill (June 12, July 10, August 14)
Thesis Monthly Writing – SGPS & SOGS (June 1, June 8, June 15, June 22, June 29)
SOGS goes to Grand Bend! (June 23)
Please keep an eye on the SOGS Pride page for June Pride Events from our Pride Commissioner.
SOGS Orientation (September 10-14) is planned! Please share this information with your members.

Updates

Don’t forget to vote! For more information, check out Elections Ontario.
Thesis Completion Fund Application due July 31, 2018 at 4pm to the SOGS Office (Middlesex College, Room 8).
Congratulations to the SOGS GSTA 2017-2018 Winners!
Academic Joint Fund has started its new fiscal year!
Women’s Concerns Commissioner will be releasing Graduate Upstander Training and Parenting Advocacy group.
Equity Committee will be launching its Annual International Graduate Student Household Drive.
Graduate Peer Support (GPS) will be launching drop-in peer support.
Western and SOGS are aiming to make The Grad Club “zero-waste” by 2050.
Graduate Wellness Week is almost done! If you have ideas of what you’d like to see, contact services@sogs.ca.
Happy #AccessAbility Week! Language on grad student accommodations on grad syllabi to come in September. Contact accessibility@sogs.ca.
We’re looking for anyone doing research on LGBTQIA+ to share their research at the Pride Parade in July! Contact pride@sogs.ca.

Elections

SOGS Athletics Representative – Tomas Fabian

Motions Passed

Motions arising from the President/Executive

President

Whereas graduate students pay fees that support sports and recreation at Western;
Whereas the Director of Sport and Recreation Services has expressed interest in increasing collaboration with graduate students;
Whereas communication between SOGS and SRS has proven difficult;
BIRT SOGS elect an Athletic Representative to serve on a 5-month trial basis from June 1, 2018 through October 31, 2018.
BIFRT the Athletics Representative act in a volunteer capacity as a lision between SRS and SOGS;
BIFRT the Athletics Representative provide monthly reports to Council, either in person or in voting.

Passed unanimously.

Whereas the following bylaw changes have been mutually agreed upon by the President of the Society and
the Bylaws and Constitution Committee;
Whereas these changes reflect and clarify the duties of the President of the Society;
BIRT bylaw 2.1.2.13 be amended to read:
2.1.2.13 shall maintain organizational documents that reflect the mandate, operations, and needs of the
Society, and shall update them annually
BIRFT bylaw 2.1.2.15 be revised to read:
2.1.2.15 shall represent the Society as necessary (or designate an appropriate representative)
2.1.2.15.1 at meetings of campus organizations (including, by not limited to, the University Student’s
Council, The MBA Association, the PSAC 610, the UWO Faculty Association and the UWO Staff
Association).
2.1.2.15.2 at meetings with University Administrators
2.1.2.15.3 in any external context, including media and government relations.

Passed unanimously.

VP Finance

Whereas the previous [travel] subsidy form made it difficult for students who were travelling during the
conference deadline.
BIRT Students apply for the travel subsidy in the term of their last day of travel.

Passed unanimously.

Whereas the previous [childcare] form hasn’t asked members to declare other forms of childcare subsidies
BIRT the new form includes a line that asks if members have applied for other childcare subsidies and where
they have applied.

Passed unanimously.

Whereas the travel subsidy form is unclear;
BIRT we include a line on the form that says that preference will be given conference presenters.

Passed unanimously.

MAY 2018: NEWSLETTER

SOGS Update, the official monthly electronic newsletter from SOGS, keeps you up to date on issues and events affecting graduate students at Western University.

Between editions of the newsletter, you’ll find updates on Facebook,  Twitter, the IGSIC Facebook page and on our events calendar!


IN THE MAY ISSUE OF SOGS UPDATE:

SUMMER TERM DEADLINES:

 

EVENTS & ANNOUNCEMENTS

GET INVOLVED

CAMPUS & COMMUNITY EVENTS

SOGS TRIVIA & CONTESTS

  • SOGS trivia contest winners
    • Juweiriya Ahmed
    • Khadija Ahmed
    • Natalie Hon Man Au
  • Trivia question for May: 
    • What SOGS group is hosting three events this month and what are the events?

Email sogs.communications@uwo.ca for more information or to submit newsletter content.

April Council Summary

The following provides a brief summary of the recent Council meeting on April 26. The complete Council package, which includes the agenda and reports, can be accessed here. Full minutes of the meeting will be available in the April 2018 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 Communications Administrator (sogs.communications@uwo.ca) or the Speaker (speaker@sogs.ca).

Announcements

The next Council meeting will be on May 31 at 6pm on the Grad Club patio. We are trying to make this a tradition!

Reminder about Karaoke Night happening tomorrow at the Grad Club:
https://www.facebook.com/events/1612389778815442/

SOGS LGBTQIA+ Board Game Night & Jazz (May 9)

Do not forget to vote in PSAC 610 voting sessions tomorrow, Friday, April 27 in AHB 1R40.

Elections

VP Academic: Jina Kum has been acclaimed as interim VP Academic (until June, when the election will need to be held again).

VP Finance: Laura Cabral has been acclaimed as VP Finance.

Events

Breezing Through Graduate School (May 3)
Student Experience has offered to provide information to students on Learning Skills, Writing Support Centre, and Psychological Services. This is also an opportunity for students to ask questions regarding their navigation through graduate school.

SOGS LGBTQIA+ Board Game Night & Jazz (May 9)

LGBTQIA2S+ – Graduate Student Group (May 10 – June 14)

Stitch & Bitch @ the Grad Club (May 14)

Mindfulness for Graduate Students (May 15 – June 26)

SOGS Summer Orientation Board Game Night (May 16)

SOGS-IGSIC Summer Orientation – Global Cafe (May 17)

Executive Reports

  • VP Academic:
    • More than 900 TA nominations were received. The majority of the Academic Joint Fund has been used.
  • VP Advocacy:
    • Sustainability Committee needs more members!
    • Inclusive Washroom posters: if any washrooms are not properly posted, please contact Equity or advocacy@sogs.ca.
    • Parking Services: working on drafting another letter to address the increasing costs.
  • VP Finance
    • Meeting with Alumni Relations: the Grad Club is eligible for funds; if we name the Board Room, we could possibly receive $100,000.
    • Working on updating the coffee station in the Grad Club.
  • VP Student Services
    • Please ensure you tell your members that Fall Orientation will run from September 10 to September 15. Once details are finalized, graphics will be sent out.
    • Graduate Wellness Week is currently be finalized in partnership with all stakeholders and SOGS Committees.
    • Please subscribe to the Facebook Events page to stay up to date on the events that SOGS hosts throughout the year.
  • Accessibility Commissioner
    • Looking into SSD accommodations on graduate course syllabi; in contact with SGPS. They have responded by stating that it will be brought up at Senate. Working with Lorraine Davies to have this implemented by Fall term.

Passed Motions

All SOGS Committee Chairs were granted their $500 honourarium for their excellent work done over the past fiscal year.

BIRT Council ratifies the IGSIC policy document. (See Appendix 1 of the Council package).

BIRT SOGS sponsor this year’s Pride Parade in the amount of $1000 from the Commissioner line item to match Western University’s donation.

Please look to the next version of the Bylaws & Constitutions document in the coming month for changes.

CALL FOR NOMINATIONS: SOGS VP Academic and SOGS VP Finance

This is a notice sent on behalf of SOGS Council Speaker:

This is a reminder that the positions of VP Academic and VP Finance are up for election this month at SOGS April Council meeting.

The position of VP Academic: 2 month term expiring in June 2018.

The position of VP Finance: 12 month term expiring in April 2019.

SOGS members in good standing wishing to nominate themselves must send their nomination (as well as an optional 1 page election poster/platform for inclusion in the SOGS Council mail-out) to the Speaker (Speaker@Sogs.ca) no later than April 17th at 11:59pm EDT.

Martin R. Lefebvre

SOGS Speaker

Please direct any questions to the Speaker, Martin Lefebvre, speaker@sogs.ca

For more information on the elections process, consider consulting the SOGS Constitution & Bylaws available at http://sogs.ca/documents/

APRIL 2018: NEWSLETTER

SOGS Update, the official monthly electronic newsletter from SOGS, keeps you up to date on issues and events affecting graduate students at Western University.

Between editions of the newsletter, you’ll find updates on Facebook, Twitter, the IGSIC Facebook page and on our events calendar!

Links are underlined and active in PDF.

DOWNLOAD THE SOGS UPDATE APRIL 2018 ISSUE


Email sogs.communications@sogs.ca for more information or to submit newsletter content.

March 2018 Council Summary

The following provides a brief summary of the recent Council meeting on March 29. The complete Council package, which includes the agenda and reports, can be accessed here. Full minutes of the meeting will be available in the April 2018 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 Communications Administrator (sogs.communications@uwo.ca) or the Speaker (speaker@sogs.ca).

GUEST SPEAKER

Western Libraries is undergoing physical and structural renovations and working on a 25-year Master Plan. They are looking for community in-put on what students would like to see. Submit your input to Catherine Steeves (Vice-Provost, Chief Librarian): csteeves@uwo.ca.

ANNOUNCEMENTS

Please see the SOGS Facebook page for a full list of our events.

EVENTS:

SOGS-SAGE-Indigenous Education End of Term Lunch (April 4):
https://www.facebook.com/events/545870272464835/

Stitch & Bitch @ the Grad Club (April 9):
https://www.facebook.com/events/554554484928599/

LGBTQIA+ Discussion Group – SOGS Office, 2-3pm

GradCast-themed Trivia @ the Grad Club (April 11) – 7pm

SOGS April Board Game Night (April 18):
https://www.facebook.com/events/197928897479732/

SOGS End of Term Karaoke Bash (April 27) – 7pm @ the Grad Club

UPDATES:

  • SOGS is working on setting up a London North Centre Candidates’ Debate with the USC leading up to the provincial election.
  • Encourage undergraduate students to nominate their Graduate Teaching Assistants: https://qsharingeu.eu.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_0iTlrrzvgX7ijm5
  • Launch of the International Graduate Student Not All the Same profile end of April.
  • Graduate Peer Support (GPS) working with the WEC to have permanent GPS times.
  • VP Advocacy working with SGPS and SSD to launch Academic Coaching for graduate students.
  • The NEADS National Awards Program deadline is April 30. Application here.

MOTIONS PASSED:

1) Motions arising from the President:

Whereas the SOGS Executive and the Western Student Senators have been working toward increased collaboration;
Whereas the 2018–19 SOGS budget includes $500 to support the work of the Western Student Senators;
BIRT SOGS enter into the formal partnership with the Western Student Senators outlined in Appendix A;
BIFRT the BCC make any relevant changes to the SOGS bylaws.

2) Motions arising from the Executive:

Whereas Western’s Mental Health Strategic Plan states that it will:
—> “develop a mental health and wellness strategic plan for faculty and staff”;
—> “engage in ongoing opportunities for staff and faculty across campus … to collaborate on initiatives supporting student mental health and wellness”
—> “continue to support students who have innovative ideas to promote health and wellness on campus”
—> “build literacy on the continuum of mental health”
—> “increase opportunities for staff, faculty, student leaders, teaching assistants, and leaders at Western to receive mental health and suicide prevention training that will help to effectively identify and respond to a student with mental health concerns”
—> “develop a sub-committee of the Student Mental Health and Wellness Advisory Committee to address the issues raised during consultation pertaining to graduate students and post-doctoral fellows at Western”
—> “Increase campus mental health promotion and awareness initiatives designed for students in professional programs and graduate studies”
—> “encourage professional faculties and graduate programs to address challenges with isolation and unique stressors experienced in graduate and professional training programs”
Whereas SOGS would like to keep Western University, the School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, Graduate Administrators, Graduate Chairs, and Graduate Supervisors accountable to the Plan;
Whereas SOGS Council accept the following “first step” proposal in regards to partnering with SGPS, Equity and Human Rights, the Ombudsperson, Student Experience, and Middlesex Crisis for formalized Grad Chair, Grad Admin, and Grad Supervisor training.
BIRT SOGS Council request that the SOGS Executive carry forward the proposal to SGPS for further consultation.
BIFRT SOGS Council request that the SOGS Executive request that SGPS take the proposal to higher channels (e.g. Senate) to begin formalizing standardized and “strongly encouraged” training for graduate administrators and faculty.

3) Motion arising from the Vice-President Student Services

BIRT SOGS ratify the HPC Policy Document (see Council Appendix)
BIRT SOGS ratify the OSC Policy Document (see Council Appendix)

4) Motions arising from Other Committees:

1. Motions from the Policy Committee:

i) BIRT the Society replace Section 3.5 of the Society’s Constitution, Bylaws and Policy Documents with the version of Section 3.5 as submitted by the Policy Committee.
ii) BIRT the Society adopt the Policy Committee Policy as submitted by the Policy Committee.

5) Motions introduced from the floor:

BIRT the SOGS exec write a second letter of support for Western’s GTAs.

SOGS Stands with PSAC 610!

Please see the official letter in support of PSAC 610 here.

March 7, 2018
Paul Jenkins, Chair, Board of Governors
Western University
and
President Amit Chakma
Western University

Dear Mr. Jenkins and President Chakma,

On behalf of the Society of Graduate Students, we are writing to express support for the bargaining efforts of Graduate Teaching Assistants (GTAs). We urge Western University to acknowledge graduate students’ contributions to teaching excellence at Western by committing to improving GTA funding.

Poverty among graduate students, including GTAs, is a major stressor precluding us from succeeding. GTAs are unable to afford basic living expenses, with many incurring debt to cover their costs. Accelerated increases in tuition, combined with decreases in real income, exacerbate the situation, making poverty prevalent among Western’s graduate students.

Many SOGS members are GTAs, or are former GTAs now beyond their funding period. When beyond the fourth year of a doctoral program or the second year of a master’s program, we lose our scholarships, and in many cases, our opportunity to work as GTAs or research assistants. We must often seek other employment, extending our time to completion or forcing withdrawal from the program.

We urge Western to seriously review the demand for an extended employment period. GTAs work hard to support undergraduate students’ education as a part of their student experience. It is time for
Western to extend its public mandate of providing the “best student experience” to graduate students, by offering them fair wages and working conditions.

We find it troubling that Western has discontinued the health and financial assistance benefits of GTAs during bargaining. Without the Extended Health Plan and Financial Assistance Fund, members may
experience personal emergencies related to unaffordable health and dental care, or food insecurity, as illustrated by the extensive use of foodbanks by graduate students at Western.

On March 1, 2018, SOGS Council unanimously mandated that it will support GTAs in bargaining. The graduate student body expresses solidarity with PSAC 610 GTAs in their efforts to advance all graduate student conditions, and it is the position of SOGS that no graduate student shall take up the work of a GTA who engages in legal withdrawal of their labour.

We trust that as a renowned research institution, Western University appreciates the gravity of this mandate, and will make efforts to improve the working and living conditions of GTAs.

Sincerely,
Mary Blake Bonn, SOGS President
Jina Kum, SOGS VP Academic
Vanessa Lilly, SOGS VP Advocacy
Laura Cabral, SOGS VP Finance
Madison Bettle, SOGS VP Student Services