Happy New Year

As announced in last month’s newsletter, I am privileged to have taken on the role of APSA president, with Kim O’Donnell taking up the role of vice-president and with Jasper Stoodley continuing as treasurer. Congratulations to Melanie Brown, Nicole Manson and Mike Peragine, who have joined the board and a big thanks to the continued work of our returning board and committee members. I would also like to express my appreciation to our former president, Jill Sutherland, who has been a tireless advocate for all of us and has been incredibly supportive of me during my time on the board. Jill’s commitment to creating a strategic plan for APSA and a return of social events are initiatives I fully endorse. I look forward to working together on these items this spring semester.

In the role of president, I believe in the core tenets of being member-led, transparent and democratic, with the goal of acting as a voice for all APSA members. Times are tough and precarious – we’re in the midst of cost of living and mental health crises in the province; the hiring freeze directed at APSA and CUPE roles, budget cuts across the University and being caught in the middle of labour action on campus are unsettling for many and have undoubtedly affected morale within our membership. Whilst I cannot give concrete assurances, I promise that APSA will do everything in our power to protect jobs and amplify your concerns to the current SFU leadership as best we can.

Negotiations for our new Basic Agreement commence this month, and the bargaining teams for both APSA and SFU have now been decided. Separate from the economic bargaining that saw our general wage increases and improved benefits, the Basic Agreement formalises the rights of APSA and determines the nature of our relationship with SFU – from recognition of our association, to how compensation and policy matters are to be dealt with. These are crucial negotiations for our collective rights at SFU and we are hoping for a speedy and fair conclusion of them.

In order for the APSA Board to know what our members need, and for all members to connect with each other and stay informed, it is important that we come together. My plan is to run at least one Coffee Conversation/Tea Talk a month so that we have an opportunity to have an in-person and informal forum to discuss items and ideas that are important to you and that APSA may be able to support or initiate. As previously mentioned, we also want to bring back social events starting this spring semester and are looking into establishing a new committee which can be tasked with organising such occasions.

Finally, the APSA Board approved a $250 donation to the SFU Food Pantry before the end of the year. Our APSA budget allocates a certain amount for community engagement, and after meeting with a representative of this initiative, we were impressed of the altruistic work being done to support SFU students with food security. My view is that we are one community at SFU, regardless of role, labour group affiliation or the primary campus in which we work. My hope is that we can continue to collaborate with our fellow community members, labour groups and the SFU leadership to support vital initiatives such as the SFU Food Pantry, not just financially but with volunteering time expertise too.

Upcoming Priorities

  • Basic Agreement bargaining
  • Coffee Conversations/Tea Talks – dates, locations and times to be decided
  • New committee for organising social events and a member social gathering this semester
  • Member surveys
  • Strategic Plan

Recent Work

  • Board elections
  • SFU Food Pantry donation – we have invited them to contribute a piece in next month’s newsletter to give further details of what they do and how we might be able to support them further
  • Ongoing dialogue with the University on an important case – we will be sure to share the details on this once concluded

Thank you for reading, and please do not hesitate to reach out directly. I hope to see you at an APSA event sometime soon.

All the best,