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Elections Timeline
Speaker June July 1
Chief Returning Officer November January 1
Ombudsperson July August 1
Commissioners October November 1
Appeals Review Commission January February 1


The rules for holding a non-executive officer position are listed under section

2.2.1. of of the Society’s Bylaws:

  • shall be a member of the Society throughout their term and upon ceasing to be a member of the Society shall cease to hold their office.
  • shall further the long-term interests of the Society.
  • shall not serve concurrently as an Executive member of the Society.


The CRO is responsible for overseeing and maintaining the Society’s elections and referenda. They organize the Presidential election debates. The CRO also liaises with the University Secretariat regarding the timeline of the election and submits the Society’s membership list to online voting. The CRO also ensures the Society’s membership are properly informed regarding the logistics of voting.


  • The position of Chief Returning Officer (henceforth known as the CRO) is open to all members of the Society and is elected by Council as per the election table in Bylaw 2.8.
  • be responsible for the conduct of elections and referenda, in accordance with the provisions of Bylaws 2.4, 2.5, 2.6.1, and 2.7;
  • maintain a file specifically relating to their portfolios that will be useful for their successors to the position;
  • be ineligible for the post if the person is, at the time of assumption of office, an Executive or Non-Executive Officer of the Society;
  • be ineligible for the post if the person has a conflict of interest, as specified by Bylaw 2.11, with one of the candidates, or in any referendum in which they are a member of any referendum group;
  • not be the same person as the Deputy CRO;
  • be remunerated at the rate of a Vice-President in every month where an election or referenda takes place.


The DCRO is responsible to investigating campaign improprieties during  elections and referenda.


  • The DCRO shall:
  • be responsible for overseeing investigations of campaign improprieties and charges of appeal during elections and referenda, in accordance with Bylaw 2.4.;
  • vacate the position of DCRO in any presidential election or presidential by-election in which they are a candidate or intend to be a candidate or has a conflict of interest, as specified by Bylaw 2.11, with one of the candidates, or in any referendum in which they are a member of any referendum group;
  • be remunerated at the rate of a Commissioner in every month where an election or referenda takes place.


Commissioners are responsible for working with, reporting back to, and advocating for the interests of various distinct groups (accessibility, indigenous person, pride, racialized persons, and women’s concerns) within the Society’s membership. Their role is to be an ally to and an advocate for these groups on- and off-campus. Contact the SOGS Speaker if you’re interested in running.


  • The Commissioner’s constituency membership is defined as individuals who self-identify as members of the group (i.e. a meeting called by the Pride Commissioner has the purpose of addressing LGBTQIA+ community member concerns).
  • The Society’s Commissioners shall 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.
  • Commissioners shall:
      • advocate on concerns or issues affecting graduate students constituency group members at Western;
      • represent and promote constituency group world-views, in research and policy relevant to the constituency that benefit graduate students on campus;
      • foster a sense of community and build relations within the constituency group and in the campus community;
      • facilitate a smoother transition into graduate studies and improve the overall education experience for constituency member graduate students;
      • report on relevant Society activities to constituency member graduate students;
      • provide a voice for emerging developments in the constituency community on campus.
    • Commissioners shall call meetings with their constituents at a minimum of once per semester (Fall, Winter and Summer);
      • These meetings shall:
      • be announced in the Society Newsletter and at Council with at least seven (7) days notice;
      • be open to members of the constituency;
      • have the purpose of addressing concerns within the Commissioner’s constituent membership;
      • allow the attendance of allies (non–members) to the constituency group meeting via unanimous consent or a majority vote of the constituency at the meeting;
      • allow the Commissioner to invite an ally (non–member) of the constituency to a meeting, the attendance of guests is subject to unanimous consent or a majority vote of the constituency at the meeting;
      • be chaired by the appropriate Society Commissioner;
      • determine procedure according to the particular needs of the constituency and its members.
      • Commissioners shall report to Council at a minimum of twice per academic term (Fall, Winter, Summer) and bring forward issues from the constituency to Council and the Executive as appropriate for action.
      • Commissioners who fail to call (to try to hold) constituency meetings at least once per term are subject to recall procedures.
      • Commissioners must report on their current projects and progress to the VP Advocacy prior to the Council package report submission deadline.

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.

The current Accessibility Commissioner is Ashton Forrest (


The Gender Concerns Commissioner advocates on behalf of female and non-binary 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.

The Gender Concerns Commissioner position is Francesca Alexander (


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.

The current Indigenous Commissioner is VACANT (


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.

The Pride Commissioner position is currently Shannon-Thomas Carnahan (

The SOGS Racial Equity and InclusivityCommissioner advocates on behalf of SOGS members who are visible minorities. They are responsible for reporting on issues and concerns affecting racialized graduate students at Western University. This Commissioner will facilitate a smoother transition into graduate studies and improve the overall graduate experience for racialized graduate students. They will also report on SOGS activities to and provide a voice for racialized graduate student community on campus. 

The current Racialized Commissioner is Saadia Bokhari (


The role of the Speaker is to oversee and administer SOGS’s student government (a.k.a. SOGS council); to make rulings on proceedings and conflicts at council where requested, and to liaison with the Bylaws and Constitution committee.

Duties of the DEPUTY SPEAKER

  • The Deputy Speaker shall:
    • maintain the Society’s Constitution, Bylaws, Policy, and Speaker’s Rulings as a single, unified document;
  • update the Society’s Constitution, Bylaws, Policy, and Speaker’s Rulings document when Council approves changes or additions;
  • perform research and proofreading as directed by the Speaker;
  • at their discretion, write a non-binding dissenting opinion to a speaker’s ruling, should the Deputy Speaker judge it appropriate;
  • serve concurrently as ex-officio member of the BCC;
  • serve concurrently as chairperson of the BCC, subject to reception by Council;
  • Advise the Speaker during Council Meetings and AGMs on best practises about Robert’s Rules of Order and how they relate to the Society’s Constitution, Bylaws and Policy.

The current Deputy Speaker is Mitchell Glover (


The role of SOGS Ombudsperson is to serve as an impartial party, to listen and address disputes and complaints from members of the Society, to act as the mediator between two or more members or units of the Society and to help seek resolutions between parties when conflicts arise.  
Duties include clarifying policies, procedures and protocols, suggesting mechanisms for resolutions, and sitting on SOGS Committees where appropriate and when called upon such as the SOGS Policy Committee and the Appeal Review Commission.

Duties of the OMBUDSPERSON

  • The Ombudsperson shall:
  • execute the duties of the Ombudsperson as detailed in the Society’s Disciplinary Manual;
  • perform the duties of external investigator under Bylaw 2.18.4
  • actively search for best practices from comparable organizations and, when appropriate, make recommendations to Council;
  • maintain and periodically suggest updates for the Society’s Disciplinary Manual for Council’s approval as necessary to integrate best practices;
  • have ex-officio membership on the Policy Committee.
  • not occupy a voting position on any committee, excepting ex-officio voting permissions explicitly granted in the Society’s bylaws.

The current Ombudsperson is Seth Kaddish (


The Speaker is responsible for overseeing and running the Society’s student government (known as “SOGS council”). In addition, the Speaker oversees the Bylaws and Constitution Committee with the Deputy Speaker, who is the Chair. The Speaker works with the Executive team to prepare and draft motions for monthly council.

Please read 2.2.2. of the SOGS Bylaws and Constitution below

Duties of the SPEAKER

  • shall be familiar with Robert’s Rules of Order and shall inform members of appropriate procedures when necessary.
  • shall advise the Society on matters of procedure and shall be the final authority in the event of a dispute over the interpretation of the Constitution and Bylaws.
  • shall present a written ruling to Council at its next meeting in the event of a dispute over the interpretation of the Constitution, Bylaws, Policy, or Robert’s Rules of Order.
  • shall co-ordinate those committees for which they are the Official Liaison.
  • shall chair both General and Council meetings.
  • shall prepare the Agenda for General Meetings and meetings of Council.
  • shall determine the number of departmental and part-time representatives and co-ordinate the election of these representatives in advance of the October meeting of Council.
  • shall be responsible for calculating quorum and shall inform Council of this at the beginning of each term.
  • shall, in consultation with office staff, prepare the Council mail-out.
  • shall prepare a list of motions for the Council mail-out.
  • shall determine whether quorum exists at each Council meeting.
  • shall advise members charged with disciplinary action of their rights according to the Constitution and Bylaws.
  • shall oversee the preparation, maintenance, and distribution of a package for new Councillors, which will include the Constitution and Bylaws of the Society, the Society’s official summary of Robert’s Rules, descriptions of the committees of the Society, descriptions of University committees on which the Society has representation, and descriptions of external organizations of which the Society in a member.
  • shall be responsible for the minutes of Council meetings.

The current Speaker is Effie Sapuridis (

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