December 5, 2023

SGPS Statement in Response to the Queen’s Coalition Against Austerity Teach-In

On Friday, December 1st, the Queen’s Coalition Against Austerity (QCAA) hosted a virtual Teach-In. In the days preceding the Teach-In, the SGPS became aware of leaked memos and documents from the Faculty of Arts and Science and claims made by the QCAA about concerns with the University’s current budgetary climate.  Since then, we have received many questions from our members about the memos and claims put forward by the QCAA as well as the SGPS’ knowledge or engagement with these items leading up to the Teach-In. We hope to answer some of those questions here. Firstly, we should make clear that we remain active on various committees within the Faculty of Arts and Science and were not made aware of many of the claims in the leaked memo. We have always acted in good faith with the University to devise creative solutions to budgetary challenges, and withholding this information has severely violated this trust and good faith effort.  Before an email from the University Provost was distributed to all students on Thursday, November 30th, the SGPS continued to operate based on the information the University had provided to us. Though we had been made aware of the leaked memo and the claims made by QCAA in the days prior, we decided not to respond to unverified information in the interest of ongoing good-faith discussions with the University.   What we learned from the organizers and presenters at the QCAA Teach-In has shocked us deeply, and we find them profoundly concerning. We question how long these policies have been harming students through cost-cutting measures (i.e. the cleanliness and repair of buildings), and we are deeply disappointed to see so many harmful policies being suggested by University. Policies affecting the employment and funding of graduate students, the majority of whom are already currently experiencing financial crises that are affecting their mental health and academic output, will have devastating consequences. We are gravely concerned by the fear of reprisal that students and University staff have expressed. No one should be afraid to speak up about concerns or advocate for themselves.   We stand with our members now and in the future and will continue to advocate for them to the best of our ability. To do so requires transparency from both our organization and the University and is predicated on an agreement that we are both acting in the best interests of students. The University must commit to this transparency in discussions going forward. The SGPS stands with PSAC 901 and all other unions at Queen’s on this issue that have been, and will be, impacted by the proposed cuts. The current and long-term implications of Queen’s proposed austerity measures will seriously impact current and future students for many years. We will continue to support our members and are dedicated to advocating for the needs of graduate and professional students.   This situation requires a level of solidarity amongst student organizations and individual students that has never been seen at Queen’s before. We must stand together, side-by-side, to make our voices heard. The University must commit to coming to the table for these discussions with the intention of making serious changes to help students, beginning with transparency and good-faith discussions. 
November 18, 2023

SGPS Statement on the Ongoing Conflict in the Middle East

As the situation in Israel and Gaza continues to unfold, the SGPS continues to reflect and work towards ways that we can support our students. Like many of you, we are shocked and horrified my the number of lives lost, displaced and forever altered. The SGPS acknowledges that this conflict has had devastating impacts on Gaza and Israel. We also recognize that the world continues to witness antisemitic, discriminatory, islamophobia, racist and xenophobic acts committed. We condemn any and all forms of antisemitism, disrespect, discrimination, islamophobia, racism, and xenophobia against any individual. The SGPS would also like to take this time to call for an immediate ceasefire. We call for the immediate and unconditional release of all civilians held hostages. We plead for the parties in this conflict to respect their obligations under international humanitarian and human rights law. This includes depriving civilians in Gaza from water, medicine, electricity, fuel, and food. We offer our deepest support and condolences to all members of our community who have been personally affected by this conflict.