Today is the beginning of the campaign period for the Society of Graduate & Professional Students (SGPS) at Queen’s University Presidential election, with Tyler Morrison and Stéfy McKnight as candidates. Over the course of the last month, we (Stéfy McKnight and Tyler Morrison) have collectively received a number of questions about why there is a by-election for the position of SGPS President, and we hope that this statement will clarify those points and concerns. The original SGPS Presidential election in January was nullified. The SGPS Chief Returning Officer (CRO) received notice of a self-disclosed accidental infraction of election policy, brought to their attention as soon as it was discovered by the candidate, Stéfy McKnight. McKnight utilized more than the allotted campaign budget. The CRO placed a fine for the violation, which was then appealed by Tyler Morrison, who has since pardoned the infraction. This appeal activated the SGPS Judicial Committee who nullified the results of the election, triggering the upcoming by-election. Although the over spending infraction was small, both candidates accept the decision by the Judicial Committee to nullify the results, and are looking forward to engaging in the upcoming campaign period. We prepared this statement with the desire to put this violation and appeal behind us, and attempt to have the most neutral and fair by-election as possible. Moving forward, we have respectively agreed to not respond to further questions about this issue. We wish to focus the campaign period and election on SGPS issues, policies; our platforms and plans for the SGPS, and not on the infraction and appeal. We urge SGPS members to positively engage in the electoral process, focusing on graduate and professional student issues and policies in the upcoming campaign period, and not on the infraction. We are adamant that this is the most productive and logical way to move forward. Remember to cast your votes online through your email on March 12th and 13th. Submitted respectively, Stéfy McKnight & Tyler Morrison
Kingston, ON – On the evening of Tuesday, February 13, SGPS Council passed the following decisions: To reject the recommendation of the Judicial Committee to have SGPS Council appoint either Stephanie McKnight or Tyler Morrison as president for the 2018-19 academic year. To instead hold a by-election between the two candidates, allowing the student body to elect their president directly. To reduce the threshold for opt-out fees to pass from a 2/3 majority to a simple majority. To reduce the threshold for mandatory fees to pass from a 2/3 majority to a simple majority, so long as quorum of 15% voter turnout is met. If quorum is not met, mandatory fees will require a 2/3 majority to pass. To hold a re-referendum on the Bus-It and OPIRG fees, with the new fee policies, described above, in effect. The by-election and re-referendum will take place March 5-13. The campaign period will occur from March 5-11, and the voting period will occur from March 12-13. Please direct any inquiries to Jennifer Williams, SGPS Speaker, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kingston, ON – Below are the results of the 2018 Special Referendum on JDUC Redevelopment held among SGPS members: “Do you agree to the establishment of a mandatory, non-reviewable $40 fee to support the redevelopment of the John Deutsch University Centre, to be collected annually commencing in 2019-2020 academic year? Approval of this question will result in a University capital contribution of $20,000,000 and additional funding to cover financing costs.” Choice Votes Percentage Yes 1065 77.3% No 312 22.7% Abstain 79 Voter turnout: 33.7% SGPS President Adam Grotsky made the following statement: While the SGPS fee for JDUC redevelopment was successful, the AMS fee fell narrowly short. The collection of the SGPS fee is contingent on the University’s capital contribution and project financing, as stated in the referendum question. Therefore, the SGPS will not collect this fee from students unless there is a path forward that retains the University’s contributions. The SGPS is committed to working together with the AMS and University to determine how to proceed. In any case, the SGPS results cannot be ignored. Our campaign for JDUC redevelopment was fuelled by the need for graduate student community – and a space that will foster it. Students spoke loud and the results are clear: graduate students need graduate space to strengthen the graduate experience. I look forward to working with the University to ensure that is made a reality.