February 1, 2018

Statement on the “Bus-It” Referendum Result

KINGSTON, ON – Today, SGPS President Adam Grotsky made the following statement: The results of the 2018 SGPS Elections and Referenda revealed that the “Bus-It” student fee failed to meet the two-thirds majority threshold required for it to pass. As it stands, the consequence of this vote is that, beginning September 2018, SGPS members will lose their unlimited Kingston Transit bus access. Following the announcement of the referendum results, the SGPS has heard from a significant number of students who fundamentally misunderstood the referendum question that was posed to them: Do you agree to an increase in the Bus-It (Kingston Transit Student Pass) mandatory student fee from $68.30 to $90.00, an increase of $21.70? It is apparent that some students believed the proposed fee increase was for enhanced transit services, rather than unlimited access to the bus itself. Others thought that by voting “no”, the fee would revert back to its current price. I strongly believe that affordable access to public transit is an essential service for graduate and professional students. If SGPS members do not benefit from the preferred student rate of $90 per year, they will need to pay the public rate of $76 per month or $912 per year. In consideration of the confusion and misunderstandings outlined above, I am calling on SGPS Council to vote against ratifying the results of the Bus-It referendum. All referendum results must be ratified by SGPS Council prior to taking full force and effect. This measure is in place for circumstances precisely like the one we now face. In consultation with the SGPS Elections Team, should SGPS Council vote against ratifying the Bus-It referendum results, I will move to hold a special referendum on the Bus-It fee. The special referendum would be conducted in March 2018, using language that clearly underscores the question’s purpose and meaning. This is an option of which I see little downside. Either the original referendum results will be reaffirmed, or it will be made clear that those results did not accurately reflect the will of the student body. I strongly encourage students at large to share their concerns with their elected representatives, and I strongly encourage members of SGPS Council to vote against ratifying the results of the Bus-It referendum at the February 13 Council meeting. For questions related to SGPS Policy, please contact Jennifer Williams, SGPS Speaker, at speaker@sgps.ca. For all other inquiries, please contact Adam Grotsky, SGPS President, at president@sgps.ca.
August 8, 2017

Health and Dental Plan Changes

Dear Students, As you review your fees for the upcoming year on SOLUS, you will find that the SGPS health and dental rate has increased from last year. I want to take this opportunity to explain the increased rate, as well as the increased value that accompanies it. This 2017-18 single person health and dental rate is $567.58. Compared to last year’s rate of $500, this is an increase of $67.58. Part of this rate increase is attributable to drastic changes in plan usage. For example, the establishment of an on-campus dentist last year resulted in a sharp spike in dental claims. If you’re familiar with how insurance companies operate, you’ll know that such a spike leads to an unavoidable rate increase. Of course, this isn’t all negative: it means you are taking fuller advantage of your benefits. The second – and more deliberate – reason for the rate increase was to address changes you requested. Last year’s health and dental survey (which was emailed to all SGPS members) provided us with important data that revealed common concerns and aspirations pertaining to plan benefits. In response, the following benefits were added: Dental maximum increased from $750 to $1000 Scaling increased from 1 unit to 2 units Paramedical increased from $500 to $600 The addition of mental health coverage at $500 The addition of night guard coverage In total, these changes equate to over $1000 in increased benefits for an added $67.58. I am confident that this year’s plan is a better reflection of the needs of SGPS members. Yet I also remain cognizant of the added financial barrier this change imposes. That is why we will be increasing the money allocated to the SGPS Bursary Program. In combination, the new plan benefits and increased bursary support will lead to improved wellness and access – a guiding principle of the Executive’s term. Adam Grotsky SGPS President