This week you may have received an e-mail from Fahim Quadir, Interim Dean of the Faculty of Graduate Studies (FGS), about printing support for York University graduate students.
FGS refers to a past agreement between YUGSA, FGS and York Libraries to phase out the $300 printing allocation. This is very misleading. In Fall 2013, the YUGSA executive fought back against a unilateral decision by the York administration to cut the graduate printing allocation from $300 to $75 (along with a three-year phase-out of the fund altogether) with town halls, petitions, and clear public statements calling for its full and permanent restoration. This was and continues to be YUGSA’s position on the printing allocation, which reflects what we have heard from our members and the direction provided to us by our elected Council.
In February 2014, after several meetings between FGS, YUGSA, and the Provost, and thousands of signatures collected in support of our campaign, the Provost backed down and agreed to restore the $300 printing allocation for several more years. It was understood as a temporary victory, and one that YUGSA knew would have to be fought again in the near future due to the administration’s refusal to make the restoration permanent.
Which brings us to where we are today.
We understand the need for more sustainable and environmentally friendly alternatives to printing and we encourage members to reduce their use of paper as much as possible. However, FGS is not working with us to find alternatives to printing, as the FGS interim dean claimed in his e-mail. In addition, we believe there are much more environmentally destructive practices that York University is involved in which they need to take immediate action on to pursue sustainability. A clear example of this is divestment of York university’s endowment and pension funds from fossil fuel companies. In the past year we have witnessed the university administration’s resistance to a broad community divestment campaign culminating in the unilateral and top-down suspension of the committee in charge of reviewing the divestment proposals from York community members.
The truth is that printing is still a need for an overwhelming number of graduate students, be it for coursework, scholarship applications (including SSHRC, CIHR, and NSERC applications), bursary applications, research evaluation reports, and thesis work (and some even use this credit to print materials for tutorials). Furthermore, FGS and York Libraries still haven’t specified where the money previously allocated to the printing allocation will go to directly fulfill the needs of graduate students.
We urge you to sign our online petition (and come to our office, located at 325 Student Centre, to bring petitions to your departments) and join us on Tuesday, September 19 at 2:30pm (Click here to RSVP) in the YUGSA lounge (Student Centre Room 430) to organize further actions in this campaign! We also encourage members to respond to the email from Dean Quadir, as some of our members have already done, and both emphasize our need for this service and inquire about what the university has done with the funds that were previously used for our printing allocation.
The YUGSA Executives