As we approach Week 13 of the CUPE 3903 strike, we continue to stand in solidarity with striking graduate students and contract faculty. We face much uncertainty about the Summer term, and even about the Fall term. We’re doing our best to inform the graduate community about what we know. The Senate Executive approved some summer graduate courses, and they’ve released information about disbursements of funding, which both can be found here. Today, in Senate, the York administration said that there’s no new information or updates about the Fall term.
1. What services is YUGSA offering right now?
Our Student Services Coordinator is available to advocate on your behalf if you have any concerns about your course directors, supervisors, program directors, Deans, and any other administrators. Please contact our Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org
We’re aware that some course directors, Deans, and administrators are putting pressure on students to complete course assignments from the Winter term. Remember that it’s your right NOT to cross the picket lines, and NOT to decide on any remediation options while the CUPE 3903 strike is ongoing.
We advocate for students on cases regarding allegations of plagiarism and academic misconduct, appealing past grades, responding to harassment and discrimination, and more. Full information about our advocacy services can be found here.
If you have concerns about the health plan, please read our information on our website, or contact our Health Plan Coordinator at email@example.com
If you have any other questions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for immediate assistance.
*Please note, that the YUGSA office is currently closed in solidarity with CUPE 3903, so we are not holding our regular office hours but we’re available to meet on campus for petitions and appeals cases with the administration.
2. Where can I access financial aid?
YUGSA offers an Emergency Loan Fund (ELF) – right now, we’ve extended the loan to $350.00. If you’d like to apply for the ELF, please apply online, and then make an appointment with our Student Services Coordinator at email@example.com, in order to process the loan.
YUGSA offers additional funding and financial aid which you can find here.
The Faculty of Graduate Studies (FGS) has said that they’re still figuring out financial aid options as a result of the strike. But eligible students may access the Bursary for Students with Disabilities.
CUPE 3903 has funding options for their members, which can be found here. We also recommend the following resources for additional help:
- Mental Health Resources: Available resources and information for members regarding their mental health.
- Toronto Rent Bank: Up to 2 months interest free loans for tenants facing imminent eviction
- Tenant Hotline: Provides information about landlord tenant issues: 416-921-9494
- Food Banks: Find one at Food Banks Canada.
- Community Services: Within Ontario, please call 211 or visit Ontario 211.
3. Should I register for the Summer term?
Senate Executive confirmed that graduate students may choose to register for the Summer term in order to maintain continuous registration, complete research ethics approvals, and have access to university services for doing research.
Some students have rightfully questioned whether they should pay for the Summer term. FGS said that in Graduate programs students pay tuition by term rather than by course, so refunds by course are not possible. In addition, no academic activity can be logged in a term when student is not registered.
If you’re unable to continue in your program, and or/you’re not be able to complete research activities or make any academic progress, etc., FGS has said that you can take a leave of absence – in which case, tuition will not be charged and fellowship will not be paid. Your funding arrangements would automatically be preserved for the next active term.
Full information about summer registration and summer funding can be found in the FGS notice about remediation here.
4. Why are some students receiving grades for Winter term courses?
The Senate Executive developed different ways for students to pursue grades based on partial completion of coursework. Faculty members retain oversight over their courses but some have expressed concern that their students have already been assigned provisional grades by the university administration. We’ll have more information to come about this issue.