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TGSA Holds Fall General Meeting, Opens Election Period for Vacant Positions

Written by
Sebastian Johnston-Lindsay
and
and
October 28, 2022

Editor's Note: Sebastian Johnston-Lindsay served as President of the TGSA for 2021/22 and as such was personally involved in some of the initiatives and events detailed in this piece. As a current graduate student and Lead Steward Unit 2 of CUPE 3908 he is also a voting member of the Association and current Board Member.

TGSA Holds Fall General Meeting, Opens Election Period for Vacant Positions
Photo credit: Lance Anderson/Peterborough This Week

The Trent Graduate Students’ Association held their Fall General Meeting on October 27th in Bagnani Hall. The meeting provided an opportunity for the Executives to provide updates on initiatives they are leading on behalf of graduate students at Trent University and to open the election period to fill vacant Executive, Commissioner, and Program Representative positions. 

President, Emma Kaszecki, outlined efforts to expand graduate student presence on the Symons Campus and the ongoing efforts to build working relationships between senior administration and the Association. As graduate student enrollment continues to outpace new growth amongst undergraduates, especially at the Durham GTA campus, it would of course behoove the administration to begin to acknowledge the concerns of graduate students. 

Thus far, talks continue on the possibility of introducing a continuing registration, or overtime fee, for graduate students enrolled in research based programs who have gone overtime. This follows previous efforts by the TGSA to advocate for systemic relief for students whose research programs were delayed over the course of the pandemic, which included one term’s tuition relief for overtime students who could demonstrate their research had been delayed by the pandemic. 

In March of 2022, an attempt was made to introduce a continuing registration fee, but was never heard by the Board of Governors under circumstances that are still unclear owing to Provost Michael Khan’s refusal to engage with TGSA Executives at that time. 

In a recent statement to Arthur, Dean of Graduate Studies Dr. Craig Brunetti claimed that despite being well into the third academic year of the COVID-19 pandemic, Trent has yet to notice any significant impact on completion times for graduate students and did not respond to a question about how Trent compares to other universities in this regard. 

This is at odds with the information collected by the TGSA earlier this year which showed that on average students felt their time to completion had been pushed back by at least one term and in some cases up to one year. When asked about the report, Dr. Brunetti stated that he would be “reviewing the report in more detail to assess and follow-ups and next steps.” 

Reports were also heard from the other sitting Executive Officers. VP Communications, Sarah Rayner updated members on the efforts to improve the website and re-vamp the Association’s use of social media and the possibility of a newsletter. 

William Kim, VP Senate, who joined from his lab at Harvard, gave a summary of the various committees he was sitting on, including NSEC, SSHRC, and CIHR. He also provided a brief summary of his efforts to re-work the Association’s By-Laws and Policies in order that they reflect the actual operations and goals of the TGSA.  

VP Student Affairs, Egan Henderson, provided a report that included a run-down on the various events he has organized, including collaborations with Traill College Carnival, and downtown businesses. 

The TGSA is currently looking for a VP Finance and so Finance and Operations Coordinator, Connor Elverson, provided a financial report for the Board. The Association hopes to create an endowment to generate some extra income to be able to better support its members and through the By-Law amendment process, hopes to outline more secure and sustainable financial control. 

Members in attendance were reminded of the upcoming election period which will last from October 28th-November 4th. Positions the Association hopes to fill include VP Internal Affairs, VP Finance, Equity Commissioner, Environmental Commissioner, and International Students Commissioner, Durham Representative and various Program Representatives.

Graduate Students will be able to vote online during the election period using a link provided by the Association and distributed by the School of Graduate Studies.  

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