We are writing today to notify you that Justine Aman has resigned from the position of SGPS President, effective September 30, 2021. We are grateful for all the hard work that Justine has done for the SGPS membership over the past seventeen months. She played an integral role in the organization, and we wish her the best of success in all future endeavors. Effective October 1, 2021, the Office of the President will be assumed by the VP Graduate, Rohit Shukla on an interim basis. As per Bylaw B.12.c and B.11, an election will take place with the SGPS Council in late November, pursuant to Policy P.9.1.c. More information about this process will be made available in the coming weeks. As per Bylaw B.12.c and B.11, an election will take place with the SGPS Council in late November, pursuant to Policy P.9.1.c. More information about this process will be made available in the coming weeks. We would like to assure our membership and the larger Queen’s community that the SGPS remains committed to our mandate of providing services to and serving the interests and needs of our membership. We expect there will be minimal disruption to our overall operations, but we do ask for your patience as we navigate this period of change.
The SGPS is disturbed and grieved to hear of the reports of sexual and gender-based violence at Western University during orientation week and we stand in solidarity with those suffering the effects of sexual and gender-based violence. If you, or someone you know is suffering from such violence, please consider the following resources: Queen’s University sexual violence prevention and support website: https://www.queensu.ca/sexualviolencesupport/support Levana Gender Advocacy Center – student-funded Queen’s University organization committed to creating and nurturing a radical community of Kingston students and residents. Devoted to fighting gender oppression and advocating for broad ideas of gender empowerment for those of any or no gender, Levana operates on anti-oppressive practices. Open to all residents of Kingston, and offers a lending library free of charge. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Sexual Health Resource Center (SHRC) – confidential, non-judgemental, feminist, queer positive, pro-choice, sex positive and non-heterosexist information and referral service. Sells different sexual health and pleasure products, and serves as a confidential resource for those in need of immediate support. E-mail: email@example.com Education on Queer Issues Project (EQuIP) – seeks to create a safer environment for individuals at Queen’s and in Kingston of all sexualities and gender identities. EQuIP strives to create a fun, welcoming, and educational community for queer-related issues. Everybody is welcome! You do not have to be a Queen’s student, or even a student at all to be involved. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Sexual Assault Center Kingston – provides support services and programs to women and all trans and gender non-conforming individuals (14 years of age and older) who have experienced recent and/or historical sexual violence in Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox, and Addington. Tel:613-544-6424; Email: email@example.com Empower Me – has a number of professionals with various domains of expertise, including psychology, psychotherapy, social work, nutrition, etc., to support you and respond effectively to diverse needs. You can access services via telephone or videoconference: http://studentcare.ca/rte/en/IHaveAPlan_SGPS_EmpowerMe_EmpowerMe The SGPS and AMS will be hosting a solidarity walkout on Tuesday, September 21st. Details to follow on Monday. We believe you. We support you.
After careful consideration, the SGPS Executive has decided to temporarily suspend services of the Graduate Peer Support Centre (GPSC), an SGPS service that was created in 2019. This suspension of service will allow us to pause hiring a new GPSC Coordinator until we are able to bring the future of this service to the SGPS Council for a decision. More information will also be reported at our September Council meeting, including yearly usage statistics and service overlap. In the meantime, we want to highlight our service EmpowerMe, which allows all Graduate and Professional students to connect with a number of licensed mental health professionals as well as other resources. We also encourage our members and other stakeholders to let us know their thoughts about whether this service should continue. You can do so by contacting your SGPS Council Representative(s), emailing Rohit at firstname.lastname@example.org, or using our Anonymous Feedback Form. We thank you for your understanding while we work to reassess our programming in order to best serve our student body during these difficult times. In health and wellness, The 2021-22 Executive Team
In the wake of the targeted attack on a Muslim family in London Ontario earlier this week, the SGPS, first and foremost, offers sincere condolences to the family and community members impacted by this act of terror. A brief tribute to Talat Afzaal, Salman Afzaal, Yumna Afzaal, and Madiha Salman (who was a PhD student in environmental engineering at Western University) can be found here. Secondly, we want to ensure appropriate support for any of our members who are feeling adversely impacted by this event. Should you need support, please reach out to one or more of the following: Our Equity and Diversity Commissioner, Monica Garvie, at email@example.com Our International Commissioner, Sabrina Masud at firstname.lastname@example.org Queen’s University Muslim Students’ Association (QUMSA) Queen’s University Thaqalayn Muslim Association Isalmic Society of Kingston A Message of Encouragement for Allies Finally, these tragic and senseless deaths remind us of the urgency with which we must combat Islamophobia (and other forms of group-hate) that exist, overtly or subtly, in our society, our institutions, our communities, and our personal relationships. The Afzaal family were out together for an evening walk, a pastime many of us have taken up during the pandemic. For such a walk to end with the murder of 4 individuals spanning 3 generations and leaving only a 9 year old child alive to grapple with the cruelty of such terrorism is a reality and responsibility we all share. We must all be accountable for the role we play in a society where such violence is not only historical, but can and does occur in the present. For our members who wish to learn more, we strongly encourage you to go to Islamophobia Is, which has an excellent resource page. We also encourage you to reach out with messages of support to your Muslim colleagues and friends who may be grieving, isolated, and scared.