EXECUTIVE & NON-EXECUTIVE POSITIONS

Executive Officers

Elections Timeline for Executive officers

SOGS Election Handbook (May 2019)

Position Month of election Day of taking office
President As determined by the University Secretariat  May 1
VP Academic April May 1
VP Advocacy April May 1
VP Finance April May 1
VP Student Services April May 1

 


President

The role of the President is to ensure the overall operation of the affairs of the Society.  The President is a ex-officio member of all SOGS committees and oversees the Policy committee and the Freedom of Expression ad-hoc committee. The President works with the Executive team to ensure that members needs are advocated for on- and off-campus.

Please see section 2.1.2 of our Bylaws for a full description of the obligations of the President.

Duties of the PRESIDENT
  • 2.1.2.1. shall be responsible for the overall operation of the affairs of the Society.
  • 2.1.2.2. shall oversee the bookkeeping and administrative functions of the Society.
  • 2.1.2.3. shall be responsible for ensuring the Vice-Presidents execute their duties.
  • 2.1.2.4. shall be a non-voting member, ex-officio, of all standing committees of the Society.
  • 2.1.2.5. shall be responsible for calling a meeting of the Executive prior to any General or Council meeting.
  • 2.1.2.6. shall chair Executive meetings and prepare an agenda.
  • 2.1.2.7. shall be responsible for the minutes of Executive meetings.
  • 2.1.2.8. shall, with the Vice-President Finance, and only with Council’s approval, enter into loan agreements on behalf of the Society.
  • 2.1.2.9. shall, with the Vice-President Finance, be responsible for the administration of the Society’s emergency loan system, travel grants fund, and childcare fund.
  • 2.1.2.10. shall, with the Vice-President Finance, and with Council’s approval, be responsible for the administration of the Society’s long-term investments.
  • 2.1.2.11. shall ensure the names of the winners of Society’s non-confidential sponsored programs are published.
  • 2.1.2.12. shall co-ordinate the contract renewal process for the Society’s office staff.
  • 2.1.2.13. shall maintain organizational documents that reflect the mandate, operations, and needs of the Society, and shall update them annually.
  • 2.1.2.14. The President shall, as appropriate, call a meeting of all Executive Officers, Commissioners and Committee Chairs to discuss issues with the Society, which shall be reported to Council.
  • 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 

To learn more, contact the President (president@sogs.ca)


Vice-President Academic

The role of VP Academic is to ensure that graduate students’ academic-related interests and concerns are represented by coordinating academic programs. These include GradcastWestern Research Forum, and the Joint Fund for Graduate Research. The VP Academic works closely with graduate students, the School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (SGPS), and other academic affiliates and stakeholders to discuss various academic issues. 

The VP Academic also provides guidance and mediation for (with support from the SOGS President and the VP Advocacy) the graduate student academic appeals process. More information can be found here.

Please see section 2.1.4 of our Bylaws for a full description of the obligations of the VP Academic.

Duties of the vice-president academic
  • 2.1.4.1. shall ensure representation of graduate student interests and concerns with academic-related bodies.
  • 2.1.4.2. shall co-ordinate the academic programs of the Society, including, but not limited to, the GradCast, the Graduate Student Teaching Awards, and the Western Research Forum.
  • 2.1.4.3. shall meet regularly with the School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies to discuss academic issues.
  • 2.1.4.4. shall act as an academic peer advisor for graduate students as outlined in the policy manual

To learn more, contact the VP Academic (academic@sogs.ca)


Vice-President Advocacy

This portfolio focuses on graduate student issues and equity concerns. The current priorities in this role are knowledge management; accessibility and inclusivity; and, improved partnerships with campus and community partners, including the Canadian Federation of Students.

Please see section 2.1.3 of our Bylaws for a full description of the obligations of the VP Advocacy.

Duties of the Vice-President Advocacy
  • 2.1.3.1. shall regularly update Council on external issues affecting the Society’s members.
  • 2.1.3.2. shall coordinate and promote activities that raise awareness of external issues affecting the Society’s members.
  • 2.1.3.3. shall liaise with community, provincial, and national bodies on issues of interest to the Society’s membership, and shall represent the Society at meetings of such organizations on an ad hoc basis as council may from time to time provide.
  • 2.1.3.4. Shall serve as liaison to the Commissioners and assist them in the performance of their duties

To learn more, contact the VP Advocacy (advocacy@sogs.ca)


Vice-President Finance

The role of the VP Finance is to manage the finances of the Society and to oversee the operation of the Grad Club, which includes preparing the annual SOGS budget. The VP Finance is to liaise with finance-related stakeholders on campus, such as UWOFA and the University administration. The VP Finance also oversees committees under its portfolio (Bursaries and Subsidies Committee, Finance Committee, Grad Club Committee).

Please see section 2.1.6 of our Bylaws for a full description of the obligations of the VP Finance.

Duties of the Vice-President Finance
  • 2.1.6.1. shall serve as the Chief Financial Officer of the Society.
  • 2.1.6.2. shall consult regularly with the Accounts Manager and the Chartered Accountant of the Society.
  • 2.1.6.3. shall be responsible, with the accounting manager, for ensuring that all moneys received by the Society be safely deposited with the financial institution named by Council for this purpose.
  • 2.1.6.4. shall administer the payment of all debts incurred by the Society during the course of the Society’s fiscal year.
  • 2.1.6.5. shall, with the President, and only with Council’s approval, be authorized to enter into loan agreements on behalf of the Society.
  • 2.1.6.6. shall prepare a yearly budget for the Society to be presented to and approved at a General Meeting of the Society.
  • 2.1.6.7. shall, with the President, and with Council’s approval, be responsible for the administration of the Society’s long–term investments.
  • 2.1.6.8. shall assist the Grad Club Manager in the preparation of a yearly budget for the Grad Club to be presented to Council at its March meeting.
  • 2.1.6.9. shall present the year–end financial statements of the Society to Council at its July meeting and to the Annual General Meeting of the Society.
  • 2.1.6.10. shall inspect monthly cash reconciliation for the Grad Club and review financial reports from the manager.
  • 2.1.6.11. shall conduct inventory checks of the Grad Club once per year, to coincide with the inventory completed as part of the annual audit.
  • 2.1.6.12. shall communicate to the management of the Grad Club the decisions of Council concerning the operations of the Grad Club.
  • 2.1.6.13. shall represent the Society in its official relations with Hospitality and Food Services.
  • 2.1.6.14. shall be responsible for submitting changes to the Society’s fees to the University’s administration, in accordance with the relevant University policies.
  • 2.1.6.15. shall oversee the preparation of an annual review of engagement or audit of the finances of the Society, in accordance with the requirement set by the Campus and Community Affairs Committee of the Board of Governors.
  • 2.1.6.16. shall present the year–end financial statements of the Grad Club to Council at its July meeting.
  • 2.1.6.17. Shall, with the Bursary and Subsidy Committee and President, be responsible for the administration of the Society’s bursary, scholarship, subsidy and similar or equivalent financial program for graduate students.
  • 2.1.6.18. Shall, with the Finance Committee and President, be responsible for the administration of the Society’s emergency loan program and similar or equivalent programs for graduate students.
  • 2.1.6.19. Shall, in conjunction with the Grad Club Manager, be responsible for ensuring that employees of the Grad Club have completed health and safety training as mandated by the Ministry of Labour.
  • 2.1.6.20. Shall be responsible for ensuring the Grad Club Health and Safety Policy conforms to the regulations stipulated by the Ministry of Labour.
  • 2.1.6.21. Shall be responsible for updating the Grad Club Health and Safety Policy annually, to coincide with the submission of the Grad Club financial statements to July council.
  • 2.1.6.22. Shall be responsible for ensuring that the Grad Club and the Society have appointed health and safety representatives that conform to the regulations set out by the Ministry of Labour.

To learn more, contact the VP Finance (finance@sogs.ca)


Vice-President Student Services

The VP Student Services oversees some of the benefits and services offered by the Society including, but not limited to, the health and dental plan, social and orientation events, and various wellness initiatives. The VP Student Services oversees the Orientation and Social Committee, Health Plan Committee, and International Graduate Student Issues Committee.
 
Please see section 2.1.5 of our Bylaws for a full description of the obligations of the VP Student Services.

 

Duties of the Vice-President Student Services
  • 2.1.5.1. shall ensure representation of graduate student interests and concerns with University bodies governing student services, including, but not limited to, student ancillary fees student mental health and wellness, graduate student orientation and graduate student life, international graduate student advocacy, and graduate student recreation.
  • 2.1.5.2. shall ensure representation of graduate student interests and concerns with University student service and recreation programming bodies.
  • 2.1.5.3. shall oversee the SOGS Health Plan Committee (HPC), International Graduate Student Issues Committee (IGSIC), and Orientation and Social Committee (OSC).
  • 2.1.5.4. shall oversee the promotion of the Society–sponsored social and athletic events for graduate students.
  • 2.1.5.5. shall, with the SOGS President, sit on the Student Services Committee (SSC) with the USC and MBAA.
  • 2.1.5.6. shall attend Western’s Mental Health and Wellness Committee meetings, or send a Society representation in their place, to the best of their ability.
  • 2.1.5.7. shall work in partnership with the School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (SGPS) and the Office of Student Experience’s Wellness Coordinator to promote and enhance graduate-specific Mental Health and Wellness Initiatives to the best of their ability.
  • 2.1.5.8. shall help plan, organize, and oversee the running of Graduate Wellness Week (October) in partnership with the School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (SGPS), Student Experience, and all relevant Society committees to the best of their ability.
  • 2.1.5.9. shall work in partnership with Graduate-relevant services (e.g. SGPS Orientation, Graduate Orientation Committee, Graduate Student Life Advisory Group, etc) for the enhancement of Graduate Orientation and Graduate Student Life at Western to the best of their ability.
  • 2.1.5.10.shall consult with the Society Communications Administrator on the Graduate Orientation Handbook production and advertising sales.
  • 2.1.5.11. shall aim to collaborate with all SOGS committees and Commissioners in an effort to enhance overall graduate student life.

To learn more, contact the VP Student Services (services@sogs.ca)


Non-Executive Positions

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

Chief Returning Officer (CRO)

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.

Duties of the CHIEF RETURNING OFFICER

  • 2.2.3.1. 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.
  • 2.2.3.2.1. 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;
  • 2.2.3.2.2. maintain a file specifically relating to their portfolios that will be useful for their successors to the position;
  • 2.2.3.2.3. 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;
  • 2.2.3.2.4. 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;
  • 2.2.3.2.5. not be the same person as the Deputy CRO;
  • 2.2.3.2.6. be remunerated at the rate of a Vice-President in every month where an election or referenda takes place.

Deputy Chief Returning Officer (DCRO)

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

Duties of the DEPUTY CHIEF RETURNING OFFICER

  • 2.2.4.1. The DCRO shall:
  • 2.2.4.1.1. be responsible for overseeing investigations of campaign improprieties and charges of appeal during elections and referenda, in accordance with Bylaw 2.4.;
  • 2.2.4.1.2. 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;
  • 2.2.4.1.3. be remunerated at the rate of a Commissioner in every month where an election or referenda takes place.

Commissioners

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.

Duties of the COMMISSIONERS

  • 2.2.6.1. 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).
  • 2.2.6.2. 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.
  • 2.2.6.3. Commissioners shall:
      • 2.2.6.3.1. advocate on concerns or issues affecting graduate students constituency group members at Western;
      • 2.2.6.3.2. represent and promote constituency group world-views, in research and policy relevant to the constituency that benefit graduate students on campus;
      • 2.2.6.3.3. foster a sense of community and build relations within the constituency group and in the campus community;
      • 2.2.6.3.4. facilitate a smoother transition into graduate studies and improve the overall education experience for constituency member graduate students;
      • 2.2.6.3.5. report on relevant Society activities to constituency member graduate students;
      • 2.2.6.3.6. provide a voice for emerging developments in the constituency community on campus.
    • 2.2.6.4. Commissioners shall call meetings with their constituents at a minimum of once per semester (Fall, Winter and Summer);
      • These meetings shall:
      • 2.2.6.4.1. be announced in the Society Newsletter and at Council with at least seven (7) days notice;
      • 2.2.6.4.2. be open to members of the constituency;
      • 2.2.6.4.3. have the purpose of addressing concerns within the Commissioner’s constituent membership;
      • 2.2.6.4.4. 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;
      • 2.2.6.4.5. 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;
      • 2.2.6.4.6. be chaired by the appropriate Society Commissioner;
      • 2.2.6.4.7. determine procedure according to the particular needs of the constituency and its members.
      • 2.2.6.5. 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.
      • 2.2.6.6. Commissioners who fail to call (to try to hold) constituency meetings at least once per term are subject to recall procedures.
      • 2.2.6.7. Commissioners must report on their current projects and progress to the VP Advocacy prior to the Council package report submission deadline.

Accessibility Commissioner: 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 Merna Seliman (accessibility@sogs.ca)

Gender Concerns Commissioner: 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 (gender.concerns@sogs.ca)

Indigenous Commissioner: 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 Geneveave Barbo (indigenous@sogs.ca)

Pride Commissioner: 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 (pride@sogs.ca)

Racial Equity and Inclusivity Commissioner: 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 VACANT (racial.equity@sogs.ca).


Deputy

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

  • 2.2.8.1. The Deputy Speaker shall:
    • 2.2.8.1.1. maintain the Society’s Constitution, Bylaws, Policy, and Speaker’s Rulings as a single, unified document;
  • 2.2.8.1.2. update the Society’s Constitution, Bylaws, Policy, and Speaker’s Rulings document when Council approves changes or additions;
  • 2.2.8.1.3. perform research and proofreading as directed by the Speaker;
  • 2.2.8.1.4. at their discretion, write a non-binding dissenting opinion to a speaker’s ruling, should the Deputy Speaker judge it appropriate;
  • 2.2.8.1.5. serve concurrently as ex-officio member of the BCC;
  • 2.2.8.1.6. serve concurrently as chairperson of the BCC, subject to reception by Council;
  • 2.2.8.1.7. 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 (deputy.speaker@sogs.ca)


Ombudsperson

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

  • 2.2.7.1. The Ombudsperson shall:
  • 2.2.7.1.1. execute the duties of the Ombudsperson as detailed in the Society’s Disciplinary Manual;
  • 2.2.7.1.2. perform the duties of external investigator under Bylaw 2.18.4
  • 2.2.7.1.3. actively search for best practices from comparable organizations and, when appropriate, make recommendations to Council;
  • 2.2.7.1.4. maintain and periodically suggest updates for the Society’s Disciplinary Manual for Council’s approval as necessary to integrate best practices;
  • 2.2.7.1.5. have ex-officio membership on the Policy Committee.
  • 2.2.7.1.6. 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 (ombudsperson@sogs.ca)


Speaker

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

  • 2.2.2.1. shall be familiar with Robert’s Rules of Order and shall inform members of appropriate procedures when necessary.
  • 2.2.2.2. 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.
  • 2.2.2.3. 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.
  • 2.2.2.4. shall co-ordinate those committees for which they are the Official Liaison.
  • 2.2.2.5. shall chair both General and Council meetings.
  • 2.2.2.6. shall prepare the Agenda for General Meetings and meetings of Council.
  • 2.2.2.7. 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.
  • 2.2.2.8. shall be responsible for calculating quorum and shall inform Council of this at the beginning of each term.
  • 2.2.2.9. shall, in consultation with office staff, prepare the Council mail-out.
  • 2.2.2.10. shall prepare a list of motions for the Council mail-out.
  • 2.2.2.11. shall determine whether quorum exists at each Council meeting.
  • 2.2.2.12. shall advise members charged with disciplinary action of their rights according to the Constitution and Bylaws.
  • 2.2.2.13. 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.
  • 2.2.2.14. shall be responsible for the minutes of Council meetings.

The current Speaker is Effie Sapuridis (speaker@sogs.ca)