February 2021 Newsletter

The SOGS Update is the official monthly electronic newsletter from the Society of Graduate Students. Stay in the loop about important deadlines, social events, member services, volunteer opportunities, academic support, professional development, advocacy initiatives, and more!

Read the newsletter and WIN! Answer our monthly trivia question for a chance to win 1 of 2 $10 Grad Club gift vouchers!  Email your answer to sogs.communications@uwo.ca.

Between editions of the newsletter, you’ll find updates sent to your WesternU inbox and on Facebook,  TwitterInstagram!

Congratulations to our January 2021 newsletter trivia winners: CAROLYNN WHITEHOUSE and STEPHANIE BROCKLEHURST 

****Come to the SOGS office (MC room 8) to pick up your $10 Grad Club gift card once it is safe to due so.

January 2021 Newsletter

The SOGS Update is the official monthly electronic newsletter from the Society of Graduate Students. Stay in the loop about important deadlines, social events, member services, volunteer opportunities, academic support, professional development, advocacy initiatives, and more!

Read the newsletter and WIN! Answer our monthly trivia question for a chance to win 1 of 2 $10 Grad Club gift vouchers!  Email your answer to sogs.communications@uwo.ca.

Between editions of the newsletter, you’ll find updates sent to your WesternU inbox and on Facebook,  TwitterInstagram!

Congratulations to our December 2020 newsletter trivia winners: Shaela Khan and Xi Zhang ****Come to the SOGS office (MC room 8) to pick up your $10 Grad Club gift card once it is safe to due so.

December 2020 Newsletter

The Update is the official monthly electronic newsletter from the Society of Graduate Students that keeps you informed about important deadlines, social events, member services, volunteer opportunities, academic support, professional development, advocacy initiatives, and more!

In the December 2020 issue  you will learn about what SOGS was up to last month and meet our new SOGS squad team members. Congratulations to Yousuf Hasan (VP Advocacy), Denise Kamyuka (Racial Equity & Inclusivity Commissioner), and Merna Seliman (Accessibility Commissioner) for winning recent elections at Council in November. We’ve got a ton of call-outs for involvement – conferences, committees, courses, and more! 

Read the newsletter and answer our monthly trivia question for a chance to win 1 of 2 $10 Grad Club gift vouchers!  

Between editions of the newsletter, you’ll find updates on Facebook,  TwitterInstagram, our SOGS Advocacy page and on our events calendar!

Congratulations to our November 2020 newsletter trivia winners: JONATHAN CHAN and BRENDAN SAMUELS ****Come to the SOGS office (MC room 8) to pick up your $10 Grad Club gift card.

Quick link: https://tinyurl.com/SOGS-Dec2020-Newsletter 

SOGS Statement Regarding Harassment During the 2020 Presidential By-Election

Dear SOGS members, 

During the SOGS Presidential by-election this past summer, one member of the SOGS community failed to uphold the commitment to respect others outlined in our mission statement. In particular, this member sent several email messages to other members and Society officers that were variously intimidating, threatening and personally harassing. Although healthy debate and disagreement is encouraged at SOGS, these behaviours are clearly unwelcome and beyond what is appropriate. Please see a formal statement outlining SOGS’ response to this case of harassment.
 
Concerns about harassment can be directed to our Ombudsperson, Seth Kadish (ombudsperson@sogs.ca). Concerns about our harassment policies and procedures can be directed to our President, kirstyn seanor (president@sogs.ca).
 
Read the full statement HERE.

U15 Report

Graduate student societies (GSSs) from the U15 Group of Canadian Research Universities informally met on November 10, 2020, to discuss how to coordinate federal advocacy initiatives relevant to graduate programs at research-intensive universities. This collaboration is loosely based on the Undergraduates of Canadian Research-Intensive Universities (UCRU).

Several common concerns have already been identified through our inaugural meeting, which include.

  • Challenges faced by international students still abroad
  • International student work permits and pathways to immigration in Canada
  • Mental health supports across cultural and linguistic groups
  • Tri-Council funding packages

President seanor is excited to be part of a sub-committee that will be coordinating to draft a letter to the federal government intending to:

1) draw attention to unique needs and contribution of graduate students,

2) highlight how the pandemic has impacted graduate students, and

3) outline solutions and actions for federal government to provide relief and support for graduate students.

Read the full report HERE.

November 2020 Newsletter

The Update is the official monthly electronic newsletter from the Society of Graduate Students that keeps you informed about issues affecting graduate students, such as important deadlines, social events, volunteer opportunities, and advocacy initiatives.

In the November 2020 issue you will learn about our upcoming Structural Retreat (Nov 10, 12, 17, 19) open to all SOGS members, 2021 Wellness Research Forum (annual grad conference), and Graduate Peer Support themed drop-ins, and more. The positions of Vice-President Advocacy (by-election) and Indigenous Commissioner (VACANT) are up for election at November Council. See what new events, initiatives, and clubs SOGS has planned.

Between editions of the newsletter, you’ll find updates on Facebook,  TwitterInstagram, the IGSIC Facebook page, our SOGS Advocacy page on our events calendar!

Read the newsletter and answer our monthly trivia question for a chance to win 1 of 2 $10 Grad Club gift vouchers!  

All links to external websites in this issue are live within the PDF document. Try clicking on text and images for hyperlinks.

Congratulations to our October 2020 newsletter trivia winners: MAHSHAD BERJIS and UJJOYINEE BARUA.  ****Please come to the SOGS office (MC room 8) to pick up your prize.

Quick link:  https://tinyurl.com/SOGSNovNewsletter

Letter to President Alan Shepard Regarding International Tuition Increases

Dear members, 

SOGS is deeply concerned by the increases to international graduate student tuition this 2020-2021 academic year. These tuition increases ranged from 2-15% and were approved by the University’s Board of Governors last April. Furthermore, international graduate students were not notified of these planned increases in a timely manner, which impacted their ability to make arrangements to financially plan or compensate for this increase.  For example, Master’s of Engineering students saw a 15% increase and saw no additional value added to their student experience and professional development at Western University to account for the increase.

In order to get answers and find solutions, the Society wrote a letter to Western University’s President, Dr. Alan Shepard, on October 26, 2020. This letter outlined the Society’s concerns regarding these international tuition increases and was copied to Western University’s Vice-Provosts, Secretary, and Deans who oversee graduate studies, as well as the President of the University Students’ Council, and the Editor-in-Chief of the Western Gazette.

SOGS has requested that the administration formally:

  • Provide targeted financial support for international students in programs that saw a tuition increase this year.
  • Distribute additional information regarding access to student financial aid.
  • Provide a report outlining the decision-making process behind the tuition increase.
  • Create a committee with graduate student representation to review the collaboration of SGPS and the Faculties to support incoming students and reduce the service gaps on campus. 
  • Consult with international graduate students about their experiences and the support they would expect from a university of Western’s calibre.
  • Provide a formal response to this letter by the end of November 2020.

Read the letter here.