GSA Election Notice
The GSA elections have been set for:
March 19, 10am-8pm, and March 20, 10am-6pm, 2014
Visit elections.gsacarleton.ca to read the Notice of Graduate Student Elections, Call for Nominations for Referendum Questions, and Poll Clerk Hiring
GSA Statement against Rape Culture on Campus
In light of recent events at the University of Ottawa, the Carleton University Graduate Students’ Association would like to reaffirm its commitment to opposing rape culture on campus.
It has recently been uncovered that five male students exchanged violent, sexually explicit comments over social media that involve the president of the Student Federation of the University of Ottawa (SFUO), the undergraduate student union. These comments were made by men in positions of leadership in some of the university’s academic associations, as well as one executive member of the SFUO, all of whom have since announced their resignations. There have also been allegations of the men’s hockey team at the University of Ottawa committing sexually violent acts while representing the school.
We think it is important to acknowledge that rape culture is prevalent on campuses across the country. Rape culture is present when sexual violence is promoted through speech, actions, attitudes, or behaviours. Rape culture not only creates an unsafe environment for women, trans, and non-binary individuals to work and live in, but it also furthers attitudes of complicity in sexual violence.
Recent events including the pro-rape chants during the frosh weeks of Saint Mary’s University and the University of British Columbia, the concert booking of Rick Ross, whose lyrics perpetuate rape culture, by the Carleton University Undergraduate Student Association (CUSA), and the violent, sexually-explicit comments made by student leaders at the University of Ottawa. These events have all shown that rape culture continues to be normalized on our campuses and that sexual violence is still a very real concern for students.
We think it is important to acknowledge the high rates of sexual violence on campuses across North America, and to think about the ways in which places of learning are also increasingly becoming places where sexually violent acts are occurring. We think it is important to fight back against the culture that is allowing our universities to be unsafe spaces. We also think it is important that university administrations support students in responding to sexual violence and ending rape culture on our campuses.
The GSA denounces the social media comments made and extends our solidarity to Anne-Marie Roy, the president of the SFUO. We support her in bringing forward the sexually violent comments made against her, and in bringing to light the ways in which threats of sexual violence are a tool used to disempower woman-identifying leaders, to keep individuals who identify as women subordinate, to silence them, and to debase them. We recognize that threatening sexual violence towards leaders who identify as women is not only damaging to the individuals being threatened, but that it also contributes to a culture of fear and misogyny that prevents other individuals from feeling comfortable and safe taking leadership positions. We acknowledge that these types of attitudes have no place on our campuses.
We also acknowledge that there are individuals on our campuses who experience threats and/or acts of sexual violence who do not have the forums and power to bring them forward and encourage public response, and to those individuals we offer our solidarity and support as well.
The GSA extends its support to those affected by rape culture and calls on both the University of Ottawa and Carleton University administrations to work with our student unions to challenge rape culture on our campuses.
Coffeehouse Conference - Student-led Discussion about Gender and Sexuality Research Interests
All our welcome to join the GSA's inaugural Coffeehouse Conference: Student-led Discussion about Gender and Sexuality Research on Thursday March 13th. This is a fantastic opportunity to practice communicating your past or present research to an intimate audience and to get helpful feedback from individuals who are interested in or studying similar topics.
We welcome discussants who would like to present on a research paper they've written, a past research topic, their thesis topic, or any research they're currently working on that focuses on Gender and/or Sexuality and related issues.
This is a great opportunity to get to know other students who are studying similar topics from diverse perspectives and start a thoughtful conversation about the implications of this research for the Carleton community as well as broader society.
Graduate Research Forum Winners!
Congratulations to Amanda Cox with her poster "Tricycle for Employment” that won first place in the Graduate Research Forum. Katy Hartling’s “Identifying the Higgs Boson” and Martha Attridge Bufton poster and video “Solidarity by Association the Unionization of Professors, Librarians and Support Staff at Carleton University (1973-1976) were the runners up.
Thanks to all the participants volunteers and the Carleton FGPA who helped make the day such a success.
GSA Membership Advisory on CUSA Legal Action over the UC Fee
February 7, 2014
The Carleton Undergraduate Students' Association (CUSA) has filed a legal suit against the GSA, instead of following through with planned mediation over the 2012-2013 University Centre (UC) fee.
Under a 1999 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Carleton University and a recently terminated 2004 MOU with CUSA, the UC fee was collected from graduate students. A significant portion was transferred to CUSA from the GSA for health plan administration, the ombudsperson office, student service centres, and clubs and societies. Some of the benefits to graduate students included: an on-campus health plan administrator; access to all student service centres, clubs and societies, and; opportunities to conduct outreach through service centres, clubs and societies.
CUSA broke health plan contracts with the GSA and stopped providing health plan administration in 2012. At least some graduate students were refused full access to student service centres and clubs and societies while the CUSA executive ordered all service centre staff to remove all materials that referred to the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS). Given that the GSA logo includes reference to the CFS, all GSA materials were purged. Furthermore, the CUSA executive continues to refuse to provide the GSA with a financial breakdown for graduate students' contributions, and for information on which clubs did or did not receive funding.
As a result of the actions of the CUSA executive, the GSA informed CUSA that the full amount of the UC fee would not be transferred because services for graduate students were not fully rendered. With support from senior administration at Carleton University, the GSA asked CUSA to enter into mediation with the Ombudsperson. This was intended to avoid the costs associated with legal action. However, unbeknownst to the GSA, CUSA had filed legal action on July 25, 2013, even though CUSA President Alex Golovko indicated to the Charlatan in August of the same year that no legal action was planned. This indicates that the negotiations to arrange mediation were only, at best, a delay tactic and, at worst, a failure to go forward in a good faith dialogue with graduate students.
The GSA Board of Directors believes that graduate students should not have to pay the full price of services that were not, or were only partially delivered. Rather than transfer a blind lump-sum to CUSA, the GSA has previously proposed using the UC fee to directly fund student groups - including graduate departmental societies - through an application process that ensures graduate students can participate. This will ensure that graduate student money is being handled and is accountable to graduate students.
The GSA is confident that its position is reasonable and is preparing a Statement of Defense that will correct much of the factual inaccuracies contained within CUSA's legal suit. By filing a lawsuit rather than participating in mediation, and by his inaccurate statements in August 2013 the actions of the Alexander Golovko and the CUSA executive have given the GSA additional reasons to question CUSA's ability to handle funds from or services to graduate students.
Health Plan Opt-Out Cheques
Refund cheques for those students who opted-out of the Health and/or Dental plans are now available for pickup at the GSA offices on the 6th floor of the UC building. They must be claimed before April 30, 2014.