We are very disappointed by the statement by Lisa Philipps, Interim Vice-President Academic & Provost, regarding the cut to graduate students’ printing credit. YUGSA firmly believes, as students made clear in our November 3 meeting with York administration, that the printing credit should be reinstated in full and we view the cut as a concessionary move by York and an attack on our funding entitlement.
We would like to respond to a few claims made by VP Philipps:
1. Claim: “there was a full consultation process with YUGSA, the Libraries, and FGS”.
In 2013, without any consultation with the graduate student community, the Faculty of Graduate Studies (FGS) announced the phasing out of the printing credit (see Appendix 1). YUGSA has always called for the permanent restoration of the printing credit (see Appendix 2 and 3). In Fall 2013, the YUGSA executive fought back against this decision with actions calling for its full and permanent restoration. York administration has never conducted an open and transparent consultation process for the graduate student community, and we believe that this is unfair and undemocratic.
The administration is fully aware that YUGSA has always rejected this cut, but they continue to give the impression to students that we agreed to it–this is highly misleading.
In February 2014, after several meetings between FGS, YUGSA, and the former Provost, and thousands of signatures collected in support of our campaign, the administration agreed to restore the $300 printing allocation for several more years (see Appendix 4). 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.
In September 2017 YUGSA launched a public petition to call for the printing credit to be reinstated in full. To date, our petition has over 1300 print and online signatures.
2. Claim: that York’s decision to make the cut “reflected and supported a joint commitment of the University and students to improved environmental stewardship and sustainability”.
As YUGSA has stated before, 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. We believe, however, that 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.
3. Claim: that the printing credit “was consuming significant financial resources at the expense of other more sustainable and effective ways to support students”.
YUGSA has identified areas in York’s budget where money could be reallocated to printing: York University had a $23 million dollar surplus in 2016 and currently $30.7 million is allocated for York Libraries for 2017-18, with incremental increases planned for the next 3 years (as shown in York’s multi-year budget). The Interim Vice-President Academic & Provost could also use money from her slush fund of $3 million dollars. At our meeting graduate students questioned the university’s priorities and asked why York senior administration are receiving significant salary raises, spending millions of dollars on advertising and PR campaigns, hiring a private, Bay street lawyer for bargaining with CUPE 3903, among other costs when these funds could be spent on basic services. We have offered budgetary evidence that York’s cutting of our printing credit is a result of the university’s flawed priorities and the austerity measures taken in recent years, especially under the SHARP budget model, and not due to a lack of financial resources as the provost claims.
In our meeting, the administration failed to show any proof that they consulted students on priority needs in York Libraries, and they failed to provide a list of costs for these items. As graduate students made clear in the meeting, it is a unilateral choice by the administration to make this cut. They are choosing to cut priority services for graduate students. It is deplorable that the administration refused to reinstate the cut, even when low-income students have spoken up to say that they need every dollar of funding, and this makes a huge difference in their quality of life and impacts their mental health in serious ways. This cut is not just a funding issue, but rather a matter of equity. The York administration is choosing to download costs onto students, thus making it hard for us to get by.
We are demanding the York administration to Stop the Cuts. TAKE ACTION NOW! Click here to e-mail a response to Lisa Philipps demanding that York restore our $300 printing credit!
The York University Graduate Students’ Association Executive
Dear GSA Executive,
I’m writing to let you know that the the following communication will be
posted in the GS News this week on behalf of the Library and UIT:
Please note that beginning in September 2013, ALL graduate students
(current and new) will receive a one-time only printing allocation, usable
for the duration of their studies at York through to August 2017.
- Printing allocations are based on the term of study:
One Year Masters – $75
Two Year Masters – $75 (per year for 2 consecutive years)
PhD – $300
– From January 2014 to January 2015, NEW graduate students only will
be provided with a one-time only allocation as above.
– From April 2015 onwards, no new printing allocations will be
provided and all existing printing allocations must be used by August
This change reflects the ability of students to submit and obtain
documents in electronic format anywhere and anytime as well as the
upcoming electronic theses and dissertations program. This phase out will
allow the university to continue to make other important and necessary
investments to improve the Library and information technology services
that will benefit all students.
A link to Frequently Asked Questions will also be provided:
SARAH HILDEBRANDT Academic Affairs Officer
Faculty of Graduate Studies
230 York Lanes 4700 Keele Street
Toronto ON Canada M3J 1P3
T 416.736.2100 ext 66958 F 416.736.5592
YUGSA Condemns FGS Cuts to Graduate Student Printing
Toronto, September 4, 2013
The York University Graduate Students’ Association (YUGSA) Executive Committee, representing more than 6,100 graduate students at York University, condemns the recent changes to graduate student printing and urges the Faculty of Graduate Studies (FGS) to revoke them.
The recent changes to graduate student printing, effective September 2013, cut dramatically the level of printing graduate students have access to. These include a decrease in free printing from $300 per academic year for all graduate students to $75 per academic year for Master’s students and a non-renewable one-time only $300 stipend for PhD students for the duration of their program. According to York University, “[t]his phase out will allow the university to continue to make other important and necessary investments to improve the Library and information technology services that will benefit all students.”
The decision by FGS to unilaterally cut student benefits reflects a broader attack on the graduate student experience at York, as well as ongoing attempts by the administration to transfer educational costs onto students. FGS appears to assume that printing services may be cut because students are now able to “submit and obtain documents in electronic format anywhere and anytime”. What is missed, however, is the fact that graduate students rely on printing for far more than simply retrieving documents and drafts. The extensive reading that is necessary for graduate work (which is well over 1000 pages per week) is neither possible, nor accessible, to many graduate students when conducted electronically. Having access to hard copies of reading materials, as well as the ability to choose between paper and electronic access, is a fundamental part of the graduate student experience. Furthermore, not all graduate students have equal access to electronic-based learning and such cuts serve to further exacerbate these inequalities. Given that the majority of graduate students live below the poverty line, it should not be assumed that they in fact all have access to affordable options (such as access to computers, internet and printers) beyond the campus.
The YUGSA Executive Committee believes that this change reflects a conscious decision by the administration to callously offload increasing costs onto students and departments. While we do not oppose further investment in our library services, we urge the administration to seek all other avenues of funding to facilitate these important and necessary changes. We call upon the university to maintain its $300 per year printing allocation for both Master’s and PhD students. Graduate students at York are already burdened with unreasonable tuition fees, even in their post-residency years, and should not be made to bear the costs of further improving university services. If FGS is truly concerned about investing in students’ education and the graduate experience at York, it should not cut back on existing financial support. We further recommend that, rather than unilaterally instituting changes such as cuts to printing, the Faculty of Graduate Studies consult with the YUGSA Executive Committee and Council, as well as other concerned groups, before implementing changes that directly affect graduate students.
For more information, please contact YUGSA Media Contacts:
Nausheen Quayyum, VP Campaigns: firstname.lastname@example.org, 647.896.5660
Kimalee Phillip, Resource Coordinator: email@example.com, 416.836.0231
Sept. 29, 2013
1) Update on FGS cuts to Graduate Printing Allocations
On Thursday, September 5th, executive members and staff of the
Graduate Students Association (GSA) met with Barbara Crow, the Interim
Dean of the Faculty of Graduate Studies (FGS) to discuss, among other
matters, the drastic cuts on graduate student printing allocations. We
were joined at this meeting by representatives from Library Services:
Mark Robertson (Associate University Librarian, Information Services),
Cynthia Archer (University Librarian), and Bob Gagne (Chief
As many graduate students are by now well aware, new changes
instituted this year have decreased the free printing that graduate
students have access to from $300 per academic year to $75 per
academic year for Master’s students and a non-renewable $300 stipend
for PhD students for the duration of their program. In 2017, free
printing allocations will be ceased altogether. The GSA has strongly
condemned this decision by FGS to unilaterally cut student benefits,
and views this move as only one component of broader and ongoing
attempts by the administration to transfer educational costs onto
students. An online petition calling for the reinstatement of the $300
printing allowance has been signed by close to 500 graduate students
at York to date, while over 150 additional students have signed a
paper copy of the petition so far.
In our meeting with the Dean and the Library, executive and staff
members of the GSA provided an extensive outline of student concerns
relating to these latest cuts, including written feedback provided by
dozens of students on our petition website. Some of the issues
expressed by the GSA included: concerns over accessibility and equity;
the unaffordability of these cuts for students, particularly in the
context of unfair tuition fees and already-existing financial burdens
faced by many graduate students; the importance for students to have a
choice between electronic and paper-based learning; and the lack of
consultation with the student body in the decision-making process.
While the Dean of FGS expressed her sincere regrets about the lack of
consultation over this issue, neither the Dean nor representatives
from Library and Information Services presented any legitimate
justifications for not reinstating the original $300/year allocation.
Library representatives informed the GSA that, while the printing
quota was originally intended to facilitate the production of theses,
students? use of the free allocation has grown significantly as they
began to print other types of documents, particularly articles from
electronic journals. The Library believes that students should seek
other ways to access journals in order to allow the budget allocated
for graduate printing to be directed towards new investments in
library and information services.
In responding to these statements, GSA executives insisted that
graduate students should not be made to bear the costs of much-needed
investments in our library services. While we welcome such efforts to
improve services, we have urged the administration to find other
avenues of funding them. Furthermore, we argued that the increased
demand for access to printed copies of electronic journal articles by
students should be cause for the further provision of student funds
and services, not the slashing of already minimal services. In
addition, while we were pleased to hear about efforts underway by
Library Services to ensure accommodation for students with
disabilities in light of these changes, we will continue to advocate
around this issue until concrete accommodation measures have been
brought into place. Moreover, we have urged the Library Services to
adopt a broader understanding of accessibility that includes wider
concerns about financial access and equity, as well as the risks
associated with electronic-based reading for students’ physical health
in the absence of ergonomic learning environments.
As we communicated in our meeting with FGS and the Library, we will
continue to advocate for a return to the $300/year quota. We urge the
graduate student community to sign the online petition if you have not
already done so. We would also like to invite all graduate students to
an open Q & A session with Barbara Crow, the Dean of FGS, to further
raise concerns relating to this and other graduate student issues at
York. Please see below for details about this session.
Open Q & A with Barbara Crow, Interim Dean of FGS
Tuesday, October 8, 2013
3 pm – 5 pm
GSA Lounge – Room 430, Student Centre
For more information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
From: Barbara Crow <email@example.com>
Subject: Graduate printing
Date: February 18, 2014 at 9:20:33 AM EST
To: Yasar Bukan <President@yugsa.ca>, VP Equity <Equity@yugsa.ca>, VP Finance and Services <Finance@yugsa.ca>, VP Internal <Internal@yugsa.ca>, VP Gender <Gender@yugsa.ca>, MB Chair <Mbchair@yugsa.ca>, Kimalee Phillip <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Adrie Naylor <email@example.com>, VP Campaigns <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Cc: Barbara Crow <email@example.com>, Cynthia Archer <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Bob Gagne <email@example.com>, Rhonda Lenton <firstname.lastname@example.org>, “email@example.com Wells” <firstname.lastname@example.org>, “email@example.com Crow” <firstname.lastname@example.org>
After a number of meetings with the GSA regarding graduate printing, the Provost has agreed to increase graduate printing to the following:
PhD – $300
MA – $300
PhD – $300
MA – $300
PhD – $300
MA – $150
One time only allocation:
PhD – $600
MA – $150
These changes will be announced in the FGS News, in a notice to the GPAs and GPDs, and posted on the Library webpage.
Barbara Crow, Ph.D.
Dean, Graduate Studies
Associate Vice-President, Graduate
Faculty of Graduate Studies,
230 York Lanes
4700 Keele Street,
Toronto, ON M3J 1P3
T 416 736 2100 EXT 40549