We appreciate that York University’s senior administration hosted a virtual town hall yesterday to answer urgent questions from the York community, but we are greatly disappointed in their responses to questions about graduate student funding.
Senior University administration said that graduate students should work with supervisors to discuss their program completion in light of the COVID-19 crisis. They recommended talking with supervisors to reorder components of degree requirements. In addition, they said that program extensions will only be given on a case-by-case basis, where necessary.
Basically, this means that the only option for us as graduate students is to work with our supervisors and program administrators to figure out our degree plans, despite the fact that this crisis has affected everyone’s capacity to continue working. There was no discussion of an automatic program extension and/or summer tuition waiver.
Other points mentioned:
– Deadlines for Major Research Papers (MRPs) will be extended for 30 additional days, without students having to pay any additional fees.
– University administration discussed accepting donations for a COVID-19 relief fund for students, both undergraduate and graduate.
– Tri-Council funding agencies are allowing research to continue.
Unfortunately, these initiatives fall short of what many graduate students need. The university’s response is disappointing and disheartening to our members, especially those who are facing unprecedented financial insecurities during this time and those caring for children and elderly family members.
Additionally, several of us have had to suspend research plans for the spring and summer, especially if we needed to travel for dissertation fieldwork. It goes without saying that we now lack much needed resources to continue working, such as our libraries and labs.
We urge you to SIGN THIS PETITION, endorsed by the YUGSA Executive, to call for an automatic program extension and a suspension of summer tuition for all graduate students.
The YUGSA Executive