On March 31, 2020 the SGPS AGM endorsed PSAC 901’s call to suspend summer tuition in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The decision to endorse that campaign was the result of over 150 SGPS members who attended the virtual AGM and voiced their concerns for graduate and professional students in the COVID-19 era and voiced strong support for the suspension summer tuition. The SGPS has now committed to achieving this outcome for graduate and professional students and calls on Queen’s University to suspend graduate and professional student summer tuition. The 2019 – 2020 SGPS Exec Link to the petition to Suspend Summer Tuition for Graduate Students [Queen’s University]
It has come to the attention of the SGPS that over the weekend some students decided to attend a party with a theme that was insensitive and inappropriate. The SGPS strongly opposes parties and social gatherings that seek to make light of the novel coronavirus. More importantly, it is important that all members of the Queen’s and SGPS community feel supported and included on campus and in the community. We recognize the impacts of this virus particularly on the Chinese and Asian communities. The SGPS would like to echo the message of Principal Deane and call on all members of the Queen’s community to reject fear, misinformation and false assumptions. We would like to remind the community to be compassionate to those who have been affected by this virus and cognizant of the impacts of this illness on other parts of the world. Specifically, to members of the Chinese and Asian student community on campus, the SGPS will do its utmost to respond to concerns and is here to support you along with all students on campus. If you feel affected by this incident and require support, please do not hesitate to reach out to the support services available on campus, including our own Graduate Peer Support Centre and Peer Academic Advisors Program. Additionally, the SGPS Equity and Diversity Commissioner and the SGPS International Commissioner are always available to speak with students who have questions or concerns. Concerned students can also reach out to QUIC’s International Student Advisors and Queen’s Intercultural Advisor. Finally, resources after hours and over the weekend for students include Empower Me and Good2Talk. To learn more about the novel coronavirus check out Queen’s Department of Environmental Health and Safety, the World Health Organization, and the Ontario Human Rights Commission’s Statement.
On January 14, 2020, SGPS Council voted to sign onto Queen’s Backing Action on Climate Change’s (“QBACC”) call for Queen’s University to divest from fossil fuels. At the same council meeting, the SGPS council also voted to begin the process to divest the SGPS’s investments from fossil fuels. Both votes were the culmination of months of debate and discussion. These decisions were not taken lightly by the SGPS. It was noted by council members that funding from fossil fuel companies in Canada directly supports students, research and the development of green technology. Nevertheless, the SGPS recognizes that immediate and bold action needs to be taken by all sectors of society to tackle climate change. We hope that by joining QBACC’s petition, Queen’s University will take the appropriate steps moving forward and commit to combating climate change. 2019 – 2020 SGPS Executive