Tuesday, September 25, 2007

BC Budget Consultations

You can give input into the BC 2008 budget by filling out a short online survey here.

I would be very interested to hear the perspective of grad students with expertise in survey design about the structure of the survey as I think the questions are leading. For instance, one of the questions is:

Last year, Balanced Budget 2007 provided an additional $476 million over four years towards housing supports for everyone from the homeless to homeowners. Are there other housing initiatives you would like us to consider?

Seems to me what is described is funding, not an initiative, and it looks at cost only which I would argue inhibits suggestions of spending more. if the questions said "Victoria has 1,242 homeless people in the 2007 homeless count, what housing initiatives would you like us to consider" my guess is there would be a stronger interest in housing those people even if it is expensive.

In any case, whether your issue is how funding for graduate students has been implemented, housing, childcare, or climate change you have until October 19, 2007 to have your say.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Grad student only clubs?

A problem that arises every year is the method by which the GSS organizes clubs.
About five years ago, graduate students ran a referendum in which they decided to fund clubs, services and other groups in the SUB thus guaranteeing membership for graduate students in those groups. these groups include constituency groups of the UVSS (such as the Native Students' Union and AVP (the campus sexual assault centre)), VIPIRG, and UVSS Clubs. UVSS clubs range from political clubs like the Young Liberals or Young NDP to religious clubs to social and and activity clubs such as the Outdoors Club or Sailing Club.

Every year a group of graduate students try to form a club but find they cannot because UVSS clubs policy requires a certain percentage of members of clubs be undergraduate students.

This poses a dilemma for the GSS. Would it be better to have separate funding for clubs come to the GSS so graduate students can form our own clubs but graduate students have to pay fees to join UVSS clubs, or is it best to maintain access to all the UVSS clubs as through our current system, but forfeit the ability of graduate students to initiate clubs without a majority of undergraduate members?

I am interested to hear what graduate students would prefer.

Grad Students: Run for Senate!

If you are a graduate student in Business, Human Social Development or Law, consider running for a seat on the UVIC Senate!

It is my humble opinion that we need more graduate students on the Senate! Check out the call for candidates at this link. And you can learn more about the Senate here.

The Senate has many standing committees--including committees on planning, academic standards, libraries, continuing studies--and they all report back to the Senate for approval. So if you are interested in a wide range of issues in how the university is managed, this might be the election for you!

Friday, September 21, 2007

CFS defederation petition makes the news

Five student unions have submitted petitions to defederate from the Canadian Federation of Students, including UVic's Graduate Students' Society (as posted directly below) and two other graduate student bodies--Concordia graduate students and Simon Fraser Student Union (which is mixed graduate and undergraduate).

The Macleans magazine online has picked up on the story here.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

CFS Defederation petition

Many of you will have seen petitions in your departments and the grad centre calling for a referendum on membership in the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS).

On Friday September 14, the GSS received a petition with 11.4% of currently registered graduate students' signatures calling for this referendum. Accordingly, notice has been sent to the CFS of a referendum to be held March 18-20, 2008, which is in accordance with the CFS requirement of six months notice of a defederation vote.

If you have read the latest issue of the GSS magazine, Unacknowledged Source you will find an article on the reasons behind the petition, as well as a piece by CFS-BC Chairperson, Shamus Reid discussing the merits of the CFS. Over the next six months, expect to hear more from both sides of the membership debate.

More information on the defederation campaign can be found here:


Note that students at SFU and Kwantlen College are also holding membership referenda.

More information from the CFS about their campaigns and services can be found here:


Monday, September 10, 2007

Student loans in the news

Fairness in student loan policy is popping up in debates everywhere. A recent article in the Tyee (BC's online left-leaning web news source) is looking at the impact of loans on students post graduation.

The federal government is having online public consultations on student loan policy until September 28. Background in the form of a press release is here

Give your input on the student loans program here.