Tuesday, April 21, 2020

April Meeting Minutes

The minutes of the April 2020 BISC Graduate Caucus meeting are available here.

Here are some highlights from the BISC caucus April meeting (via Zoom):

  • Positions for the 2020-2021 BISC grad caucus were voted on. Cheers to the new caucus!
  • The GSS has a great resource page that’s being updated weekly on info for grad students, including where to apply to find relief. They also have plans to provide an emergency bursary for grad students, based on our needs. Please visit the info page and *answer this survey* to let the GSS know how they can help you during this time.
  • There are *enormous* changes with Translink to the UPass program. For April, if you have not used your UPass you may apply for a refund for April (details to come in a GSS email to students soon). For the summer semester (and beyond), Translink is unfortunately forcing a program suspension, meaning that students who need cheap to access transit will not be able to use a UPass. Buses are now free but many of us still need access to skytrain so the GSS is creating a relief fund to help students who still need access. *If you still require a transit pass*, please email Biology GSS Rep Allison Dennert (adennert@sfu.ca) with the number of zones (1-3) and months you anticipate needing supplemental transit support and she will pass this on to the GSS for their information. The GSS is collecting data on student needs now and will roll out the relief fund in the coming weeks. It is unclear when the Translink UPass program will continue.
  • There is a very unfortunate forced increase in our benefit plan fee from Student Care (our provider). The GSS was forced to vote increase the Health Plan Fee by ~$10, from ~$460 to ~$470 (in accordance with this year’s inflation). The GSS has plans to supplement the remainder of the increase with their own contingency funds so that students will not be forced by Student Care to cover the entirety of this increase. As of now, your health coverage will not change in the 2020-2021 academic year. If have any questions, please contact Allison Dennert, Biology GSS Rep (adennert@sfu.ca). Mona Mehdizadeh, GSS Director of Graduate Services, may be better able to answer specific questions (grad-services@sfugradsociety.ca).
  • Info on compassionate leave for international students: The GSS, TSSU, and certain caucuses are STRONGLY recommending that international students consult an immigration lawyer before taking compassionate leave. Taking this leave could have enormous consequences on your visa, post graduation work permit, and applications for permanent residency in the future. Legal help is available through the SFU International Student Advising, and various other free immigration consultants on the TSSU and GSS websites. https://www.sfu.ca/students/isap/contact.html

Monday, March 30, 2020

March Meeting Minutes

The minutes of the March 2020 BISC Graduate Caucus meeting are available here.

Our March caucus meeting commenced via Zoom. Here are some highlights from the meeting:

  • TSSU’s General membership meeting will be held online Thursday, March 26 from 4:30-6:30 via bluejeans: bluejeans.com/776880593. Discussing urgent bargaining updates, covid-19 updates, and voting on important measures
  • Should you go on fieldwork? Check out the BISC decision tree:

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

February Meeting Minutes

The minutes of the February 2020 BISC Graduate Caucus meeting are available here.

The DGSC student reps, currently Melissa Orobko and Sarah Johnson, will be inserting important updates from the committee into Caucus update emails from now on! To begin, Melissa and Sarah would like to emphasize that they are both open to hearing any individual graduate student concerns, especially with student-supervisor conflict, and assisting in any way they are able to. They keep any information 100% confidential and may be able to assist with mediation through the DGSC.

Also, to help address confusion about degree requirements:
  • The SFU Calendar has the most formal, binding requirements for completing your degree program. Any changes to these SFU Calendar requirements that happen after your start date do not apply to you. Note that the link to the most current calendar changes each semester.
  • Therefore, we highly recommend you look at the degree requirements in the SFU Calendar for your program for the semester in which you started (archived versions are HERE).
  • Information that is only found on the Biology website can be updated on an ongoing basis and these updates do apply to you on an ongoing basis.
  • Therefore, we highly recommend that you review this page on the Biology website, especially before starting to prepare for any major upcoming event (e.g. transfer to PhD, Master's proposal, APR details, candidacy exam) to find the most up-to-date information on it. Jenny Cory (the DGSC Chair) is in the process of re-organizing this page so it should look different in a month or two.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

January Meeting Minutes

The minutes of the January 2020 BISC Graduate Caucus meeting are available here.

  • TMRA and PS applications due Feb 16th
  • MSP campaign: We won!!! Please see tssu.ca/msp for information of the settlement. The settlement has two key parts:
    • Invoices from Sept 1, 2019 to March 31, 2020 will need to be submitted to SFU by March 31, 2020 and you will be retroactively reimbursed by SFU Admin with payments to come by July 31, 2020.
    • From April 1, 2020 onwards those still being charged premiums for MSP will be able to enroll in a group plan through SFU, who will pay their bills just like under the old system.
  • Please join the TSSU RA mailing list if you have been, are or will be a research assistant at SFU by registering at researchiswork.com/signup

Thursday, December 12, 2019

December Meeting Minutes

The minutes of the December 2019 BISC Graduate Caucus meeting are available here.

  • TSSU emergency meeting about SFU refusing to pay international member MSP premiums/fees. Dec 12 at 4:30pm in room AQ6229. Sign TSSU open letter to SFU Administration responsible for this decision.
  • Diversity and Inclusion Committee are having a meeting Tuesday, December 17th at 1:30 in the BISC 7000-level lounge. Come join the team!

Monday, December 02, 2019

November Meeting Minutes

The minutes of the November 2019 BISC Graduate Caucus meeting are available here.

  • Research Assistants unionized! On Nov 15, SFU and TSSU agreed to make RAs employees of the University and voluntarily recognize them as TSSU members. Collective bargaining will commence May 1st
  • MSP Changes: The system for charging MSP premiums is changing, resulting in major increases in costs for international students, particularly for international students with families, who could end up paying hundreds of dollars per month. TSSU is organizing to make sure SFU continues to cover the costs for TSSU members, as clearly stated in the Collective Agreement. To stay updated of further info or future actions, please see: http://www.tssu.ca/mspfees