June 11, 2021

A Message of Support for our Muslim Members 

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 equity@sgps.ca Our International Commissioner, Sabrina Masud at international@sgps.ca 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.
May 31, 2021

The SGPS Offers Sincere Condolences and a Message of Support for Indigenous Members

With the devastating discovery of a mass grave containing 215 Indigenous children who were killed while attending the former residential school at Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation, we at the SGPS would first like to send our sincere condolences to all of the families, communities and nations grieving the loss of their children. It is our priority to ensure our Indigenous members know that we are here to help you find the support you need, and encourage you to reach out to us at any time. Our Indigenous Student Liaison, Brittany McBeath, can be reached at indigenous@sgps.ca and our Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Commissioner, Monica Garvie, can be reached at equity@sgps.ca. Indigenous students who have been affected by these recent reports in need of immediate support can also contact the 24-hour Indian Residential School Crisis Line at 1-866-925-4419. This recent discovery serves as yet another brutal reminder of the genocide continually perpetuated by the Canadian nation-state and educational institutions against Indigenous Peoples. In the words of Mayorga et al., (2019):  this “… is not an isolated historical event, nor a regrettable vestige of times passed. It is, rather, an enduring reality, re/structured by the settler insecurities of living on stolen land, and reckoning with the violence of their own existence.” Indigenous communities continue to experience violence through the current child welfare system, MMIW, youth suicide, unsafe drinking water, and high incarceration rates of Indigenous people.  As a Society supporting graduate and professional students at Queen’s, we don’t just want to denounce atrocities retrospectively. We recognize that it is our responsibility to advocate for decolonization throughout the university on an ongoing basis while challenging the colonial structures ingrained within ourselves and our organization as well. We are committed to creating a safer space for Indigenous students within the Queen’s community. We have mobilized this commitment through recent actions, including 1) hiring additional Deputies to work within the Indigenous and Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion portfolios and 2) advocating for increased action on past recommendations from reports like PICRDI. We will continue to pressure the university to seek justice for continuing anti-Indigenous racist acts such as those perpetrated against Four Directions last year and residents of Chown Hall in 2019.  We are committed to the continuous work of decolonization, which includes being open to listening, learning and examining the ways in which we perpetuate colonialism on our campus, and then actively changing. We want all of our members to know that we are always open to hearing from you on ways we can continue this work. If you would like to provide feedback anonymously, you can do so here: https://sgps.click/anonform.  For those non-Indigenous members who might want to educate themselves further on how they can be part of the work of decolonization, we encourage you to look at the following resources, and to seek out others yourselves: Queen’s TRC Task Force Reports Tuck, Eve, and Wayne Yang. 2012. “Decolonization is Not a Metaphor.” Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education, & Society 1, no. 1: 1-40.  Mayorga, Edwin, Lekey Leidecker, and Daniel Orr de Gutierrez. 2019. “Burn it Down: The Incommensurability of the University and Decolonization.” Journal of Critical Thought and Praxis 8, no. 1. Sellars, Bev. 2013. They Called Me Number One: Secrets and Survival at an Indian Residential School. Vancouver: Talonbooks.  King, Thomas. 2013. The Inconvenient Indian. Toronto: Anchor Canada. Simpson, Leanne Betasamosake. 2017. As We Have Always Done. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. Indigenous and Decolonizing Studies in Education: Mapping the Long View (ed. Linda Tuhiwai Smith, Eve Tuck, and K. Wayne Yang) Smith, Linda Tuhiwai, Eve Tuck, and K. Wayne Yang, eds. 2018. Indigenous and Decolonizing Studies in Education: Mapping the Long View. New York: Routledge. Gorlewski, Julie and Eve Tuck. 2019. Who Decides Who Becomes A Teacher? Schools of Education as Sites of Resistance.New York: Routledge. Freire, Paulo. 2000. Pedagogy of the Oppressed. New York: Continuum. Secwepemc Museum and Heritage Park – while this site is currently closed during COVID, it provides an important opportunity for those able to go. 
March 18, 2021

By-Election March 2021 Results

Turnout: 757 (18.6%) of 4072 electors voted in this ballot. Please select one of the following candidates to assume the role of Vice President Finance and Services of the Society of Graduate and Professional Students at Queen’s University for the 2021 – 2022 term. Option Votes Rohit Shukla 332 (53.4%) Darren Zanussi 290 (46.6%) VOTER SUMMARY Total 757 Abstain 135 (17.8%) Do you agree to the continuation of an optional student fee of $4.66 for Ontario Public Interest Research Group – Kingston? This fee is subject to triennial review. Option Votes Yes 436 (68.7%) No 199 (31.3%) VOTER SUMMARY Total 757 Abstain 122 (16.1%) Click here for the certified results PDF.
March 15, 2021

Rescheduled April Town Hall Meeting

To All SGPS Members, The 2020-2021 Executive team will be holding a town hall-style meeting on Saturday, April 10th @ 2:30 pm EST. Zoom Etiquette Please mute your microphone to avoid background noise. If you have video capabilities, please use it when speaking or asking a question so that we can make it a more personable experience. Use the hand raise function when you have a question. The chat function should only be used for a question if you do NOT have access to a video or microphone. Guidelines for Engagement Be responsive, not reactive: Listen with the aim of understanding and intent of learning. We strongly encourage all members to actively take part in the discussion. Speak from your personal experience; don’t expect others in the group to represent more than their experience. Ask for clarification, not to judge: Sometimes it can be difficult to understand someone’s meaning, especially when it is a newly formed idea. Work with that member to bring about clarification and insight, both for them and for the group. Discomfort or tension need not be a negative experience: times of emotions, stress, tensions, or misunderstandings need to be addressed, not dismissed, otherwise it negatively manifests in your physical, mental, and emotional well being. Seek out additional support such as the EmpowerMe program or Student Wellness Services at Queen’s University. Should you have any questions or concerns leading up to this meeting, please feel free to reach out to our President, Justine Aman, at president@sgps.ca at any time. Thank you, The SGPS Executive Team Click here to access the Zoom link for the Town Hall The password will be sent out via the SGPS mailing list one hour before the meeting.