The Union is governed by two important documents: the Constitution and the Policy Document. The Constitution is more important, and overrules the Policy Document, which contains more detailed information about how we work. Here are some highlights from those documents.
The Executive Council
The executive council is made up of the President, the Vice President, the Treasurer, the Secretary, the Social Events Chair, the Diversity and Equity Officer, and the Health and Sustainability Officer. Any attending graduate student at Daniels, besides those in Forestry, can vote and run for these positions. Elections are held at the end of the Winter Semester for positions held the following academic year.
Student reps (Program Level Representatives)
Student Reps, known as Program Level Representatives in our Constitution, are graduate students that represent their cohort’s interests. They are elected each year in September. Students are encouraged to speak with their Reps first, since they may already have answers to their questions; this also keeps Reps in the loop. Elections are held at the beginning of the Fall Semester for the academic year.
CUPE 3902 Stewards
CUPE 3902 is the union which represents contract academic workers, like Teaching Assistants, at UofT. Outgoing stewards from the previous year organize the election of new stewards, with at least 1 Executive Council member from our Union assisting. These elections are held in September during Teaching Assistant training.
Internal faculty committees
Members of the Executive Council and Student Reps sit on all internal faculty committees. This means that students have a seat at the table where faculty makes decisions. The committees include:
- Faculty Council (3 +President)
- Executive Committee (1)
- Diversity and Equity Committee (1) *
- Curriculum Committee (1)
- Appeals Committee (1)
- Admissions Committee (1)
In addition, we have an inter-union committee with the Forestry Graduate Association where members who sit on internal faculty committees can convene and share information.
* As of March 2021, GALDSU has jointly suspended its participation in the Daniels Equity and Diversity Committee with AVSSU and the FGSA.
General Council Meetings
Every year, there will be 6 General Council Meetings. These meetings are open to all students, though only the Executive Council and Program Level Representatives (often called Student Reps) can vote. At minimum, there needs to be 7 student reps and 4 Executive Council members for meetings to take place (this is known as Quorum). One of those Executive Council members must be the President or Vice President.
All School Meetings
Every year, we hold two All School Meetings, which include graduate students, faculty, and the Dean. However, All School Meetings can be called at any time by a petition of 15% of members (students like yourself). Decisions made in All School Meetings are binding and cannot be overturned by the Executive Council or the General Council (which means the Executive Council plus Student Reps). A minimum of 30 graduate union members must be present.
Meetings with the dean
The school (Daniels) and the Executive Council have agreed to having at least 2 meetings per year, usually before All School Meetings. It is important that the Council carries out these meetings to communicate important matters to Faculty and Administration, and vice-versa. Although the Constitution and our Policy Document does not require it, the Executive Council should let students know when these meetings happen, because it is important that they occur.
Amendments to our Constitution
Making changes to our Constitution requires a two-thirds (2/3, or 67%) majority vote made during an All School Meeting. Of course, quorum must be reached for such a vote to take place and be legitimate.
Amendments to our Policy Document
Our Policy Document contains 3 types of policy: Governing policy, Operating policy, and Issues policy. Governing policy changes can be made with a two-thirds (2/3, or 67%) vote made by members of the Executive Council and the General Council. Operating policy and Issues policy changes can be made with a simple majority (over 50%) vote made by members of the Executive Council and the General Council.
Members of the Executive Council, editors of The Annual, and Cafe managers are paid according to amounts set out in our Policy Document. Changes to how much people are paid can be made following a two-thirds (2/3, or 67%) vote during a General Council meeting.