2019 GSS Executive Board Elections & Referenda
Executive Board election - preliminary result
Sayedmehdi “Mehdi” Hashemirahaghi: 154 votes, 62.3% (ELECTED)
Arash Isapour: 93 votes, 37.7%
Spoiled or blank: 22 ballots
Director of Services
Amirhossein Alizadeh Khaledi: 46 votes, 19 %
Sima Hajiaghael Shanjani: 196 votes, 81% (ELECTED)
Spoiled or blank: 27
Director of Student Affairs
Babak Esgandarnejad: 70 votes, 28.7 %
Seyed Saeed Rezvani: 174 votes, 71.3%
Spoiled or blank: 25
Referenda - preliminary result
In accordance with GSS Bylaws, referenda require a quorum of 5% of eligible voters to pass. In this referenda, the quorum required is 139 ballots cast.
Campus constituency groups – fee increase passes
Are you in favour of an increase of $0.33 for the Campus Continuency Groups, to increase the total fee from $1,00 to $1.33 per term?
YES: 127 votes, 54.3% (Elected)
NO: 107 votes, 45.7 %
Spoiled or blank: 7
Campus clubs – fee increase fails
Are you in favour of an increase of $0.75 for the Campus Clubs, to increase the total fee from $0.50 to $1.25 per term?
YES: 114 votes, 48.9%
NO: 119 votes, 51.1 % (Elected)
Spoiled or blank: 8
Campus Food Bank – fee increase passed
Are you in favour of an increase of $0.75 for the Campus Food Bank, too increase thee total $1.04 to $1.79 per term?
YES: 169 votes, 71% (Elected)
No: 69 votes, 29%
Spoiled or blank: 3
Ombudsperson – fee increase passed
YES: 124 votes, 53.4% (Elected)
NO: 108 votes, 46.6%
Spoiled or blank: 9
Anti-Violence Project – fee increase passed
YES: 146 votes, 61.6% (Elected)
No: 91 votes, 38.4%
Spoiled or blank: 4
Student advocate – new fee proposal approved
Are you in favour of the creation of a new fee of $1.00 per term to fund a Student Advocate Office?
YES: 153 votes, 64.6 % (Elected)
NO: 84 votes, 35.4%
Spoiled or blank: 4
The nomination period is now closed. The following nominations have been received and validated by the Electoral Officer. Candidates are listed by position and then alphabetically by last name.
Candidates for Chair
Who Am I?
I am a third year Ph.D. candidate in the department of political science, working on refugee agency and identity construction. Five years ago, I started my graduate life at UVic as a Master’s student, and I have since been actively involved in community organizations on and off campus. I am humbly striving to bring my knowledge and experience to the Graduate Students’ Society (GSS) and hope to contribute to the quality of graduate students’ lives.
What Are My Qualifications?
Ever since I arrived in Victoria as a resettled refugee in 2012, I have done my best to be an active member of my communities. I became involved in several volunteer activities around the city, taking on community leadership positions both external and internal to campus. What follows is a list of my relevant experiences and qualifications:
- Member of CUPE 4163’s Component 1 preparation team for the upcoming bargaining period with the university,
- Current Teaching Assistant Coordinator for the department of political science,
- Former President of the Iranian Students’ Association at UVic,
- Former Vice-President of Victoria Iranian-Persian Cultural Society,
- Teaching Assistant and guest lecturer for various courses in the department of political science,
- Co-organizer for The Middle East and Islamic Consortium of British Columbia (MEICON) in 2018,
- Storyteller in the From the Heart: Enter into a Journey of Reconciliation in 2013,
- Volunteer administrative assistant with the Vancouver Island Health Authority from 2013-2016,
- Winner of Victoria Inter-Cultural Association’s 2016 Graduate Diversity Scholarship,
- Winner of Camosun College Short Story Diversity Challenge Award in 2013,
Why Am I Running?
I have decided to run for this position because I believe that I can create positive impacts for students in multiple ways through the GSS:
- First, I am aiming to strengthen our community relations both within and outside of campus. The GSS can play a significant role in bringing together individuals and groups from different parts of the campus and the larger community. This requires a willing mentality of humility, inclusion, cultural sensitivity and cooperation.
- Second, I am planning to enrich the diversity discourse on the campus by bringing into deeper consideration the labour related and financial aspects of graduate life. Our student body is becoming increasingly diverse, but financial issues have negatively impacted our graduate students. A key problem here is that while costs of living in Victoria are rising significantly, tuition fees, especially for international students, have been rising as well without proportional TA wage increases. I hold that diversifying our university’s population requires attention towards the material foundations students require.
- Third, I will strive to utilize the GSS to pursue the first two goals in cooperation with other initiatives that are already working hard to advocate for students’ interests. For instance, I am planning to partner more closely with the CUPE 4163 in educating our TAs about their rights, and in mobilizing support for their bargaining with the university. Lastly, I will use the available resources to address the issue of tuition hikes and the widening gap between domestic and international students’ tuition fees.
With almost a year of experience in this position, I felt that I have to finish the unfinished goals of the GSS which would bring considerable changes to the grads’ status. To elaborate, most of the goals we have been working on (RA students’ status, Advocacy office, funding issues, and etc.) not only need background information but also need a harmonious body of execs whose authenticity in words and action ensures the fellow grads that they have a strong back up.
At all the UVic committees, which were chaired by the President, Vice presidents, Deans of faculties including FGS; I did all I could to bring the main concerns of all the students from different faculties and research cultures; telling the faculties, Deans, and senior administrators that there is not only serious funding issues for Art and Humanity students but also in other Departments including Engineering,t here are students who are struggling in their relationship with their supervisors. I wanted them to consider these issues in their budget and strategic frameworks as well.
Being Chair of a medium size organization at a University with over 20,000 population, is indeed challenging. This challenge becomes part of the job, I have to stay impartial and fair at ALL situations. I have to side with the interest of all the grads instead of siding with few groups of friends. I have to be faithful and committed to every cent that was paid by all grads through their tuition.
And my last word: I encourage you to do your research on all the other candidates and vote for the ones who seem to be the most eligible executive for the next board, for the GSS main aim is to strongly represent the INTEREST OF ALL GRADUATE STUDENTS, that is YOU!
“Together we stand, divided we fall” -Pink Floyd
Candidates for Director of Services
Sima Hajiaghaei Shanjani
Candidate for Director of Services
As a graduate international student in the department of Computer Science at UVic my graduate life has been full of new experiences. For the past three years I have been learning about different ways of bringing together the graduate student body, in a way that we can have a stronger sense of community. A community in which there is room for more support, more friendship, and more professional and personal growth. I strongly believe that UVic Graduate Students Society has the capacity to expand and enrich our community because of its physical and social offerings, and this is the reason am running for this role within GSS.
Also, as far as my responsibility as a member of the Board of Executive Directors would go, I am planning to advocate for Teaching Assistant (TA) and Research Assistants (RA) rights on the campus. With regards to TAship, there are several issues that I am particularly interested in: TA wages, TA-Professor relations, allocation of TA positions, and training. I believe that GSS is in a position to collaborate with the union (CUPE 4163) to promote discourses around TA rights and advocate initiatives by the union. Equally important is the status of RAs; they are not a part of the union. I hope that I can help initiate a dialogue on the campus to unionize the RAs across the university.
I have a set of qualifications that, I believe, are essential for this role:
– Current member of the Board of Directors of the Iranian Students Association at the University of Victoria.
– Former member and Vice-President of Scientific Associations of Mathematics and Computer Science Department at Amirkabir University of Technology.
– Teaching Assistant and Research Assistant in the department of computer science.
– volunteer and organizer for Winter Schools in Computational Geometry for three years (2008-2010).
– volunteer and organizer for Origami Conference and Competition for two years (2008-2009).
– Active participant in Women in Engineering and Women in Science gatherings since 2016.
– Involved in athletic activities on and off campus since 2016.
Given the chance, I will do my best to work towards these goals.
Sima Hajiaghaei Shanjani
Candidates for Director of Student Affairs
In a nutshell, my statement can be condensed in three keywords: Teamwork, Inclusivity and Efficiency!
To elaborate, I believe an organization with 27 staff and more than 3000 members have a huge potential that needs to be activated to advocate the interests of ALL GRADS. This is achievable by embracing teamwork and technology. After all, you are paying for it in the first place, you are in charge and this should be reflected at all levels.
By utilizing my own experience and expertise in solution design, I intend to work passionately and diligently to address some key issues of grad life such as
- Fairness in workplace: Collaborating with the newly established advocacy office to address those intricate issues that have traditionally remained loosely attended such as supervisor-student relationships, RA affairs and rates, work-study and bursaries.
- No one should left behind: Using technology and social media to reflect every individual’s concerns. This enables the part-time nature of my service be more available to students as well as more connected to the administration.
- More inclusivity: To expand the resources for mental health and financial helps available on and off campus.
Lastly, this is our community’s opportunity to take a step forward for a more inclusive board that voices the concerns and advocates the rights of ALL GRAD STUDENTS. After all, only a few individuals cannot enhance the efficiency of our society; it is to emanate the notion of society at all levels.
“Together we stand, divided we fall”
Candidate statement for Director of Student Affairs position
Seyed Saeed Rezvani, MSc student in Civil Engineering, BSc.
I am Saeed Rezvani, a first year MSc student in the faculty of Engineering.
Having served in university’s governance committee and dealt with stakeholders in different university levels back in my undergrad, I have decided to run for the Director of Student Affairs position for the upcoming year. And to prepare for this opportunity and get a clear picture of what is happening in graduate students’ lives, I tried to attend as many GSS graduate council and student affairs committee meetings as possible ever since I started my journey at UVic.
As evident by its name, the position is all about students’ needs. So, this position needs a person with good social skills, someone who knows and cares about graduate students’ real concerns. I believe I have the vision, courage, and will to stand up for the grad students’ rights, speak up on their behalf, same as I did in 2017 at Sharif University of Technology where I was actively involved in stopping tuition and residence fee hikes. I’m willing to accept this great responsibility and will commit myself to put all my energy in playing an active role in the ongoing improvement of our community and defending my fellow graduate students in the best way.
As the director of students affairs, I will be actively involved in working collaboratively with UVSS executive board, university administration, and equally importantly, CUPE 4163. I believe collaborating with CUPE 4163 will be a great help to get what our Teaching Assistants REALLY deserve (better wages and better working conditions).
I will fully support the Student Advocacy Office project, which has already been started by the ongoing committee as one of my most important goals. The advocates will be there to confidentially assist students in their difficult legal situations, including when they face charges under the Academic Code of Conduct or the Code of Rights and Responsibilities. Of course, the position takes time to get established and prosper, but it will eventually be of a great value to our student community.
The other focus areas would also be:
- Graduate students funding: taking part in advocating for a graduate student funding that is adequate and that covers the entire program of study.
- Advocating against international tuition hikes and trying to find solutions for the widening the gap between domestic and international tuitions and fees.
- Expanding the role of GSS in formation of a more united campus regardless of gender, nationality, religion, belief, or color.
I hope you would consider electing me for the position of Director of Student Affairs and giving me the opportunity to play a role in helping our current and future graduate students experience a better life at UVic.
Thank you for your consideration, and looking forward to moving forward together!
Candidate for Director of Finance
Candidate Statement For Director of Finance
I am excited and happy to stand again as a candidate for Director of Finance for the Graduate Students’s Society. Over this past year in the job, it has been a steep learning curve, but definitely a worthwhile one. It remains an honour and a privilege to work with and learn from so many fellow graduate students both on and off council and now also from the GSS staff as part of my duties this year. Part of my purpose in running for this position again is to continue paying it forward, and more specifically to contribute to organizational continuity as the Grad House recovers its level and the Side Project finds its feet. Both my institutional memory and now established relationships within and outside of the UVic community are key tools in this work.
I bring both student government and professional experience to the Director of Finance position via similar positions during my earlier graduate studies at both UVic and the University of Calgary, as well as the post of conference coordinator for a mid-sized undergraduate-graduate conference and group leadership in a research team. All of these projects required me to work with the team to coordinate our work and keep our communication lines open.
But a key question of an incumbent is what new skills they have learned that it would benefit the GSS membership to have back on the job, especially since the GSS organizationally is still completing a period of intense change. In fact, probably the skills I have developed most are in change management and applying and revising strategic plans. Both call for balancing the fiscal needs of the organization with the principles of fairness and maintenance of member services that we all value so much.
If re-elected as Director of Finance one of my first priorities is to do my part to continue to uphold the solid financial position of the GSS. This will involve continuing to work on increasing Grad House and Side Project sales with Communications and GSS staff. But this priority isn’t just about the money: it is at least as much about maintaining services and growing improved connections between grad students and the wider Victoria community. Since many of us come to UVic from elsewhere, it is all too easy for us to become isolated and unable to access financial and other forms of help when we need it. The Grad Centre is a key nexus to make connections from. Finally, I plan to follow up on members’ requests for clarification of how graduate funding works in the Faculty of Humanities and UVic more widely, and to contribute to working with GRC to set out and share our own ideas on what principles should guide grad student funding levels.
I hope you’ll consider re-electing me to the Director of Finance position, and look forward to continuing to contribute positively to the UVic graduate student community.
– Carla Osborne
PhD Student, Department of History
Candidates for Director of Communications
Hello again GSS!
My name is Kelly Clark, your current Director of Communications, and I’m running again in the hope that you’d all like an encore!
For those who don’t know me, I’m a MA in the History Department’s new Public History Stream. My background is in communications work, event planning, writing, hosting, acting, and film-making. If I’m not on campus, I’m probably streaming on my Twitch channel, working on film projects, watching Netflix, or skipping the gym to try and fit some sleep into my schedule.
Prior to my current role, I was a communications officer for the UVSS, social media specialist for a luxury hotel, blogger for a local charity, and am the managing editor of a Victoria-based theatre review magazine (that is always looking for new writers) called Showbill Canada. I am passionate about connecting people, building relationships, and encouraging excitement and community engagement.
During this past year, my focus was in improving our agenda planners, encouraging community involvement, advertising events, connecting grad students to opportunities around campus, and supporting my fellow board members. If re-elected, I intend to double down on these points, and to also focus my energies on increasing advertising for our Grad House restaurant and the Side Project Cafe, as I feel that these are not only crucial enterprises that contribute our society’s income, and thus our ability to provide services and events, but that they also serve as hubs for graduate student life and our community.
I was incredibly lucky during the 2018-2019 term to have a dedicated executive team to work with, wonderful staff members, and a passionate student body that was nothing but supportive of my work. I want to thank you all for your support, ideas, and energy this past year, and I hope that we can continue to make the GSS an organization of connections that will live long beyond graduation.
In short, this year was amazing. Let’s do it again!
Student Advocate fee referendum
The Student Advocate’s responsibilities “would be to guide, represent, and interact with students in matters that deal with official appeals administration policies.” The role would be explicitly student-focused, to assist students who find themselves needing support with self-advocacy and navigating university processes. “The Student Advocate will have an office on campus, contact information, and will be able to assist students in any formal complaints with the university — ranging from academic disputes or housing appeals to parking and library fines.
The creation of a Student Advocate position has been many years in the making. Since 2011, the GSS Student Affairs Committee has researched models used at other Canadian universities, met with the Ombudsperson and UVSS to discuss options, and ultimately endorsed the model proposed in this referendum.
While the GSS staff and elected Executive Board members have traditionally taken on student advocacy cases, a dedicated Student Advocate will ensure students receive support and advocacy from a subject expert. The role will also free up significant amounts of time and resources to be able to complete projects on behalf of the graduate student body. If successfully funded by the GSS and UVSS referendums, this position will be co-hired and overseen by the GSS and the UVSS.
The GSS Executive Board has officially endorsed the “YES” side of this referendum question.
(All citations originate from http://www.martlet.ca/uvss-elections-student-advocate-position-referendum/.)
No campaign side formed for “NO” side of this referendum
AntiViolenceProject fee referendum
Vote AVP: because gender-based violence on campus does not end with a bachelors degree.
Vote AVP: because graduate students need more information and support to confront the systemic violence inherent in their subordinate status.
Vote AVP: because everyone is affected by gender-based violence.
No campaign side formed for “NO” side of this referendum
Ombudsperson fee referendum
No YES or NO campaign formed
Campus Food Bank fee referendum
No YES or NO campaign formed
Campus Clubs fee referendum
No YES or NO campaign formed
Constituency Group fee referendum
No YES or NO campaign formed
Election & Referendum Information
NOTICE OF ELECTIONS:
Elections for the Graduate Students’ Society’s Executive Board will be held between
9am on March 6th and 4pm on March 8th , 2019. All currently registered graduate students can run and vote in this election.
2. Director of Finance
3. Director of Services
4. Director of Student Affairs
5. Director of Communications
Nominations are now closed.
NOTICE OF REFERENDA:
The UVic Graduate Students’ Society will be holding referenda on proposals for fees for on campus services. All currently registered graduate students can campaign and vote on each of these referenda.
PROPOSED FEE INCREASES*:
1. Constituency Groups, increase $0.33 per term to a total fee of $1.33 per term.
2. Clubs, increase $0.75 per term to a total fee of $1 .25 per term.
3. Campus Food Bank, increase $0.75 per term to a total fee
of $1.79 per term
4. Ombudsperson fee, increase $0.50 per term to a total fee
of $1.50 per term.
5. Anti-Violence Project, increase $1.00 per term to a total fee of $2.00 per term.
PROPOSAL TO ESTABLISH A NEW FEE*:
Student Advocate Office, new fee of $1.00 per term.
*Note: Students on co-op pay 50% of the regular fee as stated here. Distance and co-op students do not pay the Campus Food Bank fee. Campus Food Bank fee is currently increased annually by CPI. This referendum would not change that practice.
For more information on the source of these referenda, the services involved, and a detailed explanation of how your fees would look under a YES or NO vote, please see the Referenda FAQ.
The GSS Electoral Officer is Ryley Erickson. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also contact the electoral officer through the GSS office, Room 102, Halpern Centre for Graduate Students.
email: email@example.com Phone: 250-472-5163