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March 2021 By-Election 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%)


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%)


Total 757
Abstain 122 (16.1%)

Click here for the certified results PDF.

2021 – 2022 Election Results

Turnout: 796 (19.5%) of 4073 electors voted in this ballot.

Do you agree to the acclamation of Emils Matiss to the position of Graduate Student Senator of the Society of Graduate and Professional Students at Queen’s University for the 2021 – 2022 term?

Option Votes
Yes 602 (91.9%)
No 53 (8.1%)


Total 796
Abstain 141 (17.7%)

Do you agree to the acclamation of Justine Aman to the position of President of the Society of Graduate and Professional Students at Queen’s University for the 2021 – 2022 term?

Option Votes
Yes 667 (93.9%)
No 43 (6.1%)


Total 796
Abstain 86 (10.8%)

Do you agree to the acclamation of Anthony Lomax to the position of Vice President Campaigns and Community Affairs of the Society of Graduate and Professional Students at Queen’s University for the 2021 – 2022 term?

Option Votes
Yes 658 (94.1%)
No 41 (5.9%)


Total 796
Abstain 97 (12.2%)

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
Courtney Bannerman 311 (50.5%)
Gina Azer 305 (49.5%)


Total 796
Abstain 180 (22.6%)

Do you agree to the acclamation of Jennifer Li to the position of Vice President Professional of the Society of Graduate and Professional Students at Queen’s University for the 2021 – 2022 term?

Option Votes
Yes 650 (95.4%)
No 31 (4.6%)


Total 796
Abstain 115 (14.4%)

Click here for the certified results PDF.

March 2021 By-Election

Referendum Package

Ontario Public Interest Research Group - Kingston

$4.66 - Optional

Vice-President Graduate Candidates

Darren Zanussi

Candidate for Vice-President Graduate

I’m a first year PhD student in the School of Cultural Studies and a settler researcher with a focus on Indigenous-settler relations and critical engagement with reconciliation.

I have extensive experience in student and departmental organizations and clubs. During my M.A. at Carleton, I served as V.P. Social and Co-President of the Indigenous and Canadian Studies Grad Community and was an Executive Member of the Centre for Indigenous Research, Culture, Language, and Education conference planning committee in consecutive years. I also worked for two years as a Litigation Assistant through the Federal Student Work Experience Program. I’m currently a member of the Cultural Studies Steering Committee, Co-Chair of the Community Based Research sub-committee, and a research assistant with the Indigenous Hockey Research Network.

This experience has prepared me to take on the VP Graduate’s responsibilities representing graduate students’ interests and overseeing the Graduate Student Support Centre and Peer Academic Advisors. I’m able to effectively communicate with a variety of people and I am well versed in peer support in the university context.

If I become your VP Graduate, I will work tirelessly on pressing issues and represent graduate interests while collaborating with key stakeholders, groups, and administrators.

My goals as VP Graduate are as follows:

  • Increase the transparency of the SGPS Executive
  • Ensure funding extensions for PhD candidates forced to extend their research into a fifth year due to the pandemic
  • Re-establish five year timelines for PhD students and standardize funding packages to reflect this
  • Decrease international student tuition

None of these goals are easy to achieve, but they are all related to key issues facing graduate students and need to be taken seriously. If elected VP Graduate, I will pursue these goals with the care and passion required to make progress.

Rohit Shukla

Candidate for Vice-President Graduate

Rohit is a passionate, determined and proactive student, currently pursuing PhD in the department of Civil Engineering here at Queen’s University. Presently, he is serving as the International Student Affairs Commissioner at SGPS. Being on this role Rohit has actively advocated and organized events for international students during this unprecedented time. During his short tenure at SGPS in this role he has contributed to Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, & Indigeneity (EDII) resource guide creation, International Scholarship Award, Campus to career workshop and Global Grub cooking club. Moreover, he also hosted student check-ins regularly in order to create international graduate student community.

Prior to coming on board with SGPS he was associated with International Student Working Group (ISWG) in International tuition reduction campaign. You may also have encountered him at Queen’s University International Centre (QUIC), where he works with students from around the globe, assisting their smooth transition in a new environment. Rohit has also served at PSAC901, as departmental steeward in which he was able to protect, maintain and provide advocacy for the concerns and interests of the graduate students.

Building on his past initiatives, representing students voice and experiences, his primary aim through the role of “VP Graduate” would be to lobby for issues such as allocation of graduate spaces amid campus shutdown, funding extension of 1 year from SGS due to loss of research time, advocacy for mandatory fee reduction as students are unable to use on campus services, removing structural barriers on completing thesis on time, providing mental health support for graduate students during this stressful time, and advocate for more equitable academic policies. Given this position, Rohit hopes to continue representing graduate student interests on campus and ensuring that their voices are being heard with utmost diligence and at the highest administrative levels.

2021-2022 Election

Presidential Candidate

Justine Aman

Candidate for SGPS President

If re-elected into the role of SGPS President for the 2021-22 year I will be uniquely qualified having had served Graduate and Professional students as President for the 2020-21 term. It is my belief that my previous knowledge of the organization and rapport with Queen’s administration will allow me to better provide supports and services to Graduate and Professional students.

This year, despite the global pandemic I sought to govern with the mindset of “unprecedented, not impossible”, a mindset that I will continue to use to in the coming year. In 2020-21 the needs and expectations of Graduate and Professional students (not Queen’s admin) fuelled the campaigns run by the SGPS and I would continue this framework if re-elected. We pressured the university to reconsider “fees for services” which yielded a partial refund of ARC fees; this pressure would continue with focus being placed on the administration to transparently present their ARC budget to all paying students.

This term we have been revamping SGPS bylaw and policy as well as hiring on an HR firm to provide support to our employees; being re-elected would allow me to ensure these tasks were completed and implemented.

Continuing a smooth transition of the SGPS into the temporary facilities during the JDUC renovation will also be a top priority.

Although I have had less opportunity to connect with students in person this year, I instituted monthly town halls, weekly President office hours, and a bi-weekly newsletter to improve transparency and participation in student government; initiatives which will continue if I am elected for a second term.

Vice-President Community Candidate

Anthony Lomax

Candidate for Vice-President Community

Relevant experience:

  • SGPS Vice President Campaigns and Community Affairs, 2020-2021
  • SGPS Social Commissioner, 2019-2020
  • Queen’s Cultural Studies Program Steering Committee Co-Chair, 2019-2021
  • York University Graduate Student’s Association Representative, 2018-2019

In the past two years, some work I’ve been proud of at the SGPS:

  • Being on the planning committee for the innovative SGPS Scholarship Beyond Boundaries Conference
  • Along with other valued colleagues, writing a motion that forced the 2019-2020 SGPS executive to push tuition waivers in meetings with university administration
  • Greatly improving our relationship with the International Student Working Group, and assisting the AMS in creating a position for an international student representative
  • Fostering great relationships with the SGPS Commissioner Team whose work I supervise
  • Creating and promoting a student survey that has allowed us to better understand what our students are looking for during the pandemic
  • Working with PSAC 901 and seeing the university reverse its policy that prohibited students outside Canada being able to take on TA/RA work at Queen’s
  • Working to create an SGPS student mentorship award, and pushing for all SGPS student awards to include a financial component
  • Working with Queen’s students and the CFS to lobby provincial and federal governments to increase tri-council award amounts so they provide a living wage
  • Working with the executive to hire an external HR firm to better protect all SGPS members, employees, etc.

Next year’s priorities:

  • Building on our SGPS anti-racism and anti-colonialism website in collaboration with Queen’s University Libraries and Archives
  • Evaluating our Bylaws & Policies to ensure they represent the most effective democratic processes for our students and fair working conditions and wages for SGPS employees
  • Ensuring that transit pass agreements are restored in the most effective way for our students after the pandemic
  • Continuing to listen to our members, work effectively on their behalf, and build positive relationships with other student and community organizations.

Vice-President Finance and Services Candidates

Courtney Bannerman

Candidate for Vice-President Finance and Services

You may have seen me around before; I’m your current VP Graduate (2020/2021) and Graduate Student Senator (2019/2020/2021). I became involved in student government with my department student council in 2018, and I’ve enjoyed it ever since.

I believe I would be well suited to move into the VP Finances and Services because:

  1. In my role as VP Graduate, I’ve been able to work with our current VP Finances and Services Tamara this year. I have been able to gain some insight into the challenges and strategies for this role. Should I be elected for this position, I am confident I will have a strong foundation of knowledge when I begin the transition process.
  2. Although I have never managed a budget as large as the SGPS budget, I have extensive financial management and budgeting skills. Most notably, I am the treasurer for the 2nd Kingston Sparks and Brownies (2020 to present), the Financial Executive for Queen’s Chronic Pain association (2020 to present). I was also the Vice President of Sponsorship for Women in Science and Engineering (Queen’s WiSE) (2017/2018).
  3. During my time as Vice President Graduate, I started and led the advocacy work for a reduction or partial refund of mandatory student fees when the services charging the fees were closed.

In the 2020/2021 year, the SGPS fee was reduced to reflect our actual operating cost. Should I be elected, I will be committed to ensuring that our budget is transparent and reduces unnecessary additions to the student fee.

Gina Azer

Candidate for Vice-President Finance and Services

My name is Gina Azer and I’m a 2L student at Queen’s Faculty of Law. I have had the privilege of attending 3 of the best universities in Canada, including McGill, University of Toronto and now Queens. My experience with the various universities as a student and my involvement with several student bodies made me passionate about participating in student government and advocating for student rights.

As part of the executive team with the Biochemistry Undergraduate Student Society at the
University of Toronto, I had the opportunity to sit on budget voting meetings with the Arts and Sciences Student Union, which got me interested in the role of VP of Finance and Services. The experience of voting on the ASSU budget referendum incited my passion to be engaged in student government and specifically in the planning for future budget needs while looking for cost saving opportunities for current students.

I also managed the spending of a large conference budget as the Chief of Operations for the
2017 Ontario Model of World Health Organization Conference, organized by UofT. My role
involved leading a group of 3 students and collaborating with several other committees
involved in the planning and promotion of the conference to ensure its success.

If I am selected for the role, I will focus on advocating for money saving opportunities for
graduate and professional students and advance the current negotiation initiatives by SPGS
with the larger University governing body. My experience as a nurse and a mature student has given me a unique perspective on the need and utility of health insurance benefits for graduate and professional students. I believe this would help me negotiate our Health and Dental plan to optimize its usage based on the shifting student needs.

Vice-President Graduate Candidates

No candidates submitted nominations for this position.

Vice-President Professional Candidate

Jennifer Li

Candidate for Vice-President Professional

Firstly, some information about me: I hold an Honours degree in Political Science, Book and Media Studies, and English from the University of Toronto and I am currently a first year here at the Queen’s Faculty of Law.

Being involved in student politics was the highlight of my undergraduate career; I loved the opportunity to have a voice and represent my classmates in a school as intimidatingly large as U of T. I served for two years as an Assistant to the University of Toronto Student Union, and I was also elected the Vice-President of the Book and Media Studies Student’s Association in my fourth year. In my capacity as the Vice-President, I was responsible for acting as the liaison between the student body and the department heads in order to ensure that student concerns were heard, and expectations were met. The Book and Media Studies department was a relatively new one in comparison to other departments, so I had the unique opportunity to help build a program environment that was innovative and adhered to student expectations.

As your Vice President Professional, I will import much of the valuable experiences that I gained from these positions. I will ensure proper and accurate representation of all professional students under my jurisdiction, as well strive to maintain the best interests of all students in the course of doing so. I will work tirelessly to be the most effective advocate I can be to help students resolve academic and non-academic issues.

If elected, transparency and responsibility will be policy, and increased community amongst graduate students will be priority.

Graduate Student Senator Candidate

Emils Matiss

Candidate for Graduate Student Senator

I am a Queen’s Neuroscience Master’s Student with a passion for education, research, and social justice.

Over the past few years I have run a youth organization with more than 200 members, participated in hackathons, startup incubators, earned my pilot’s license, and started learning Mandarin, Italian, and Russian. I have diverse interests and care deeply about helping those around me.

While not an iconoclast if I see a rule I don’t believe is reasonable I will challenge it. I sit on the graduate committee at the Centre for Neuroscience Studies where I have the opportunity to provide the graduate student body a voice in an institution where there is an obvious power asymmetry. Policy decisions concerning finances and curriculum changes can dramatically impact the quality of life, career trajectory, and ultimately the success of graduate students. It is important that these decisions are not taken lightly, and that their impact is evaluated by someone who is likely to be affected by them.

March 2021 By-Election

2021-2022 Election

SGPS Elections Team

Benjamin Mercado-Cruz and Devin Fowlie

Issues with Election Information or Website?

Andria Burke, Executive Director