History of the GSS

The Founding of the Society (Born in Flames)

The Graduate Students’ Society was not always an independent organization. Indeed, graduate students were initially members of the Alma Mater Society (AMS), which represented all students at the University of Victoria. As part of this organization, graduate students found it difficult to have their particular needs and concerns addressed – in other words, they lacked a voice. It was in the hopes of addressing this lack of representation that The Committee for the Formation of an Independent Graduate Student Society was formed.

An Early Challenge – Couglan (GSS) v. Bigsby (AMS)

The challenge to this nascent committee came from an unexpected quarter – the Alma Mater Society itself, which favoured having a single student executive making representations to the University on behalf of all student. It was this view that was originally carried in a Faculty Council Meeting on September 22, 1966. Graduate students, however, were undeterred and in a successful appeal to the Senate were authorized to immediately establish an independent Graduate Students’ Society on November 23, 1966.

The document surrounding this appeal (including the carried motion and letters from both Couglan and Bigsby) are below.

Appeal to the Senate by the Committe for the Formation of an Independent Graduate Student Society (including correspondence received by P.A. Couglan): Appeal to Senate by Cttee re forming GSS

Briefing on the Appeal (including a letter from Bigsby urging the Senate to reject the appeal): 1966-11-14 Briefing to Senate re forming GSS

Senate Minutes (including the carried motion to grant the appeal): 1966-11-23 Senate Minutes