The YUGSA works with and on behalf of individual students helping them navigate York’s administration, deal with issues and solve problems in a variety of areas. Some of the issues that we can support you on include:
- Issues with your professors, supervisors, graduate program directors, York staff, or York offices
- Funding Issues (not related to employment at York – we would refer you to CUPE 3903)
- Allegations of academic misconduct
- Experiences of discrimination, harassment, or lack of accommodation, including discrimination or harassment based on race, gender, ethnicity, sexuality, sexual orientation, religion, and ability
- Petitions and/or appeals
If you are facing any issues at York, be it academic or not, that you are not sure how to address, please feel welcome to drop by the YUGSA office to discuss your concerns.
YUGSA Student Services Coordinator
When Should You Come Seek Support?
You should definitely come to the YUGSA if you are experiencing any of the issues listed above. Some graduate students try to resolve these issues by themselves or ignore them altogether causing the situation to escalate. By speaking with your graduate student advocate, you might be able to address problems early on and avoid/resolve conflicts and stressful situations.
It is important to familiarize yourself with The Faculty of Graduate Studies’ (FGS) regulations as well as your own program’s policies, procedures and guidelines. If you do not know where to obtain this information or need help understanding these documents, please contact us!
What Will a YUGSA Advocate Do?
- Carefully listen to you and take your concerns seriously
- Ask questions to clarify and assess the situation based on information provided
- Direct you to information regarding University regulations, policies and procedures
- Explore how to address the situation and discuss possible solutions/outcomes
- Offer to make inquires to obtain information when appropriate and relevant
- Offer to intervene by setting up meetings with University administration, faculty and staff when appropriate and relevant
- At your request, a representative from the YUGSA can attend meetings with you as a support person
- Refer you to other appropriate and relevant services and supports as required
What Can’t YUGSA Do?
- Fill out forms on students’ behalf
- Provide legal advice or services
- Resolve employment issues with York (we would refer you to CUPE 3903)
All information you provide the YUGSA will be kept confidential. Information will only be shared with third parties with your consent.
How to Prepare Your Case
Familiarize yourself with the policies and procedures of your program, department and faculty. With over 50 graduate programs at York, we may not be familiar with the policies specific to your program. If you are unsure where to find these policies, please contact our office.
Be honest and tell your advocate the whole story truthfully. We are not able to defend you against or advise on issues or matters that we are not made fully aware of.
Please keep notes of any interactions (in-person, over the phone, email/mail correspondence) that may have an impact on your case. Important information to especially document: the date, the person you spoke to, their position/role and what was communicated to you.
Guidelines for Filling Petitions and Appeals
- Follow the guidelines for the petition or appeal process. If you are not sure where to obtain this information, please contact the YUGSA
- Pay attention to deadlines! Follow program, departmental, Faculty of Graduate Studies and appeal committee policies; failure to do so may negatively affect the outcome of your case
- Develop clear arguments by presenting evidence and examples to support your case
- Keep detailed documentation of all aspects of your case
When possible, students are encouraged to attempt to resolve the conflict as close as possible to the source of the problem starting with discussing any concerns directly with their supervisor. If a solution cannot be found or a student has already exhausted this route with no success or if pursuing this option would cause further discomfort for the student, then as a next step informally consulting with the Graduate Program Director (GPD) for their guidance would be recommended. The GPD’s role is to ensure that students are provided with an atmosphere that supports students’ learning, which includes monitoring supervisory relationships. If the GPD is unhelpful or is the subject of the student’s concern, then the next step would be to consult the Chair of the department or Dean of the Faculty. If consultation with the Chair of the department or Dean of the Faculty is not possible or is unhelpful, the YUGSA would recommend escalating your case to the Faculty of Graduate Studies (FGS) Student Affairs Manager and/or FGS Associate Dean – Students. The YUGSA can offer its support by accompanying students to meetings with the aforementioned parties to work toward finding a satisfactory resolution.