February 8, 2018

Statement on the Nullification of the Presidential Election

Kingston, ON – Today, SGPS President Adam Grotsky made the following statement: On February 7, 2018, the SGPS Judicial Committee released a statement declaring the results of the presidential election null. The statement also recommended that SGPS Council appoint either Stephanie McKnight or Tyler Morrison as president at its February 13 meeting. The SGPS relies on the separation of powers between the executive, judicial and legislative branches of our organization – such a system provides indispensable checks and balances on power. While I accept the authority of the SGPS Judicial Committee to nullify the results of the presidential election, I do not accept its lack of transparency. A decision that throws aside the will of the student body, in an election that saw the Society’s highest voter turnout on record, must be accompanied by a justification of that decision. I am calling on the Judicial Committee to release an updated statement that provides a full explanation of the circumstances that resulted in nullification and the reasons for their decision. I also respectfully disagree with the Judicial Committee’s recommendation to appoint a president through SGPS Council. As per SGPS Bylaw and Policy, the Judicial Committee is comprised of seven members of SGPS Council. Their decision to have Council select the next president blurs the line between the judicial and legislative branches. SGPS Council cannot act as both judge and jury. At the start of the February 13 Council meeting, I will call for a by-election to be held between Stephanie McKnight and Tyler Morrison, and I urge Council for their support. A by-election is the only path forward that will confirm the right of the student body to elect its leaders. The Judicial Committee has the power to nullify the election, but the student body must have the power to choose their president. Finally, while I encourage debate and welcome criticism, I will not tolerate the harassment of my peers. The behavior and conduct that I have witnessed is not acceptable and does not reflect the student body I am proudly a part of. I look forward to continuing a respectful dialogue on these important issues. 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. PDF Statement
February 7, 2018

Statement on the SGPS Presidential Election Results

Kingston, ON – Today, the SGPS Judicial Committee made the following statement: The Judicial Committee was activated regarding the recent SGPS presidential election. On Wednesday, February 7, 2018, the Judicial Committee nullified the Presidential election, as per SGPS policy. No other election or referenda questions are affected by this decision. The Committee has now made the following recommendation to SGPS Council: SGPS Council, as the highest elected body of representatives in the SGPS, shall appoint either Stephanie McKnight or Tyler Morrison as the incoming SGPS President at the February 13th Council meeting; Each voting SGPS Councillor shall have one vote, as per SGPS policy; McKnight and Morrison will participate in a 45min debate, followed immediately by a secret ballot vote; and The candidate who receives a simple majority (50% + 1) in the vote shall be selected as the president-elect, subject to subsequent ratification by SGPS Council at that same meeting. Both McKnight and Morrison have taken a leave of absence from their current SGPS Vice President roles until the Council meeting. Additionally, no campaigning will occur by either candidate during this time, apart from participation in the debate. The February 13th Council meeting will commence at 5:30pm in Wallace Hall of the JDUC. All students are encouraged to attend and engage with their elected department or program Councillor in this process. We thank you for your time and patience as we move forward. For questions or concerns, please email Jennifer Williams at speaker@sgps.ca. PDF Statement
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 (predetermination required) 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