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