Who is the GSA
If you are a graduate student at Carleton, then you are the GSA. You have (or should have) a representative on council. To find out who represents your department on council, see our councillor list. Your councillor represents you and communicates with the GSA executive.
The council is the legislative authority of the GSA and has the final word on all matters. For further information on council, see the council page.
The GSA is administered by five executive members (a president and four vice-presidents) who are elected by graduate students each spring for a one-year term.
Your 2013-14 executive is:
President, Grant MacNeil
VP Operations, Maggie Simpson
VP External, Lauren Montgomery
VP Finance, Justine De Jaegher
VP Academic, Justine Mallah
Carleton University Board of Governors
The Board of Governors (BoG) is the highest financial decision-making body at Carleton University, and deals with issues like tuition fees and the university budget. This year, your graduate representatives on the Board is Nick Falvo
Carleton University Senate
Decisions relating to academic programs, awards, rules and regulations, and the granting of degrees are made at the Senate, where graduate students are represented by three Senators.
Contact the VP Academic for more information.
Graduate Faculty Board (GFB)
Graduate students have five seats on the GFB. The GFB reports to Senate and oversees the administration and content of graduate studies at Carleton.
For further information contact the VP Academic.
What is the GSA
The GSA also represents your interests in the community, on national and provincial student political bodies, and to other off-campus organisations. To this end, the GSA is Local 78 of the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS), Canada's national student movement. The CFS unites over half a million students at over eighty colleges and universities across Canada. Through our participation in the CFS, Carleton grads advocate for a high-quality system of post-secondary education that is accessible to all.
In its role as a political body, the GSA represents grads on university committees, to the outside community, to the CFS, and voices grad issues directly to university administration. Politically, the GSA is governed by a council, and, on a day-to-day basis, by the elected executive. Over the years, the GSA has undertaken a number of on-campus campaigns, either alone or in solidarity with CUSA and CUPE 4600, in addition to endorsing and contributing to various off-campus organisations and activities.
As a service provider, the GSA provides a large array of services to graduate students at Carleton, including: academic advocacy (for grads dealing with things like academic appeals), a health and dental plan, emergency grants, travel grants for grads participating in conferences, Mike's Place, a weekly e-newsletter, the Grad Bulletin, photocopy, fax and document binding services, a boardroom, the Grad Lounge, and a reference library with information on graduate programs across North America and the world. Grads also help fund a number of on-campus services in conjunction with CUSA, such as the service centres.
Finally, the GSA tries to stimulate social, intellectual and political contact among graduate students by organising and supporting numerous social and academic events throughout the year.
History of the GSA
For more than thirty years, the Graduate Students' Association has been serving graduate students at Carleton University. The exact date of the GSA's formation is clouded in mystery, as almost no written records of the early days exist. The first clear record of the GSA dates from the 1972-73 school year, when Mike's Place, the grad pub, officially received its name.
During the 70s, evidence suggests that the GSA was preoccupied with finding a permanent home for Mike's Place, which had been moved numerous times by the university administration; trying to get graduate student fee money from CUSA; and responding to requests for funds.
The university administration saw the GSA as a sub-unit of CUSA, and subsequently funnelled all student fee money to CUSA, which then passed on only 33-50% of graduate student fees to the GSA. Attempts to gain autonomy from CUSA are reported as early as 1980 (it would be many years before this was achieved).
The 1980s were marked by the GSA's growing visibility, the expansion of Mike's Place, and the drive for autonomy from CUSA. In 1981, the GSA incorporated as a non-profit corporation, named GSA Carleton Inc. Mike's Place finally found a permanent home in its present location. Renovations in 1986 expanded the grad pub from approximately thirty seats to seventy-five, and included the construction of a permanent bar.
In 1986, the first contested elections in the history of the GSA were held. Also at this time, the first GSA handbook was produced. The original version was only eight pages, but it helped to increase the visibility of the GSA among grads.
Finally, in 1990, the university recognised the GSA as a fully autonomous student organisation and started forwarding all student fees from graduate students to the GSA. The 1990s were characterised by the growth of the GSA as an organisation and as a political force at Carleton. The GSA moved into a suite of offices with a lounge, founded many of its current services, and expanded Mike's Place to seat one hundred. In addition, the GSA began to offer a dental and prescription drug plan to grads. This service is now jointly run with CUSA – an indication of how far the GSA and CUSA's relationship has come since the 1970s.
Today, the GSA continues to serve grads at Carleton. Following the university's decision to renege on its commitment to a new student building in 2006, the GSA renovated the existing Mike's Place and began investigating renovations to the Grad Lounge in 2007. We have expanded traditional services, such as travel grants, emergency grants and departmental support to meet growing needs and have introduced new services, such as scholarships and awards. At the same time, through the GSA, graduate students are represented on university committees and the organization has been front and centre in efforts to support a sexual assault support centre on campus, in making public transportation affordable for students, improving student services and space on campus, expanding academic opportunites, and fighting against skyrocketing tuition fees and the elimination of post-residency fees (and the struggle to bring them back), as well as other issues identified by graduate students.