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AS THE GRADUATE Student Association (GSAÉD) election draws near, the candidates, all of whom are running unopposed, have begun their campaigning. The Fulcrum sat down with the five hopefuls and asked them why graduate students should cast a ballot in their favour March 19–21.


Caitlin Campisi, internal commissioner candidate

Caitlin Campisi, current internal commissioner is a master’s student at the Institute of Women’s Studies on campus who also completed her undergraduate degree at the U of O. She has spent many years as an active student in various campus communities and feels this experience will assist her if elected.

The Fulcrum: Why are you running?

Campisi: I’m running for re-election for the position of internal commissioner because I want to continue to be a strong graduate student voice on campus.

My mandate this past year has been extremely rewarding, and I have had the chance to work with so many amazing students. I want to build on the experience I’ve gained and continue working on important student issues, such as student space on campus.

The internal commissioner is the link between the GSAÉD staff and departmental graduate students’ associations. How will you ensure positive communication takes place, especially in times of disagreement and crises?

The position of internal commissioner is responsible for the internal structure and governance of the GSAÉD, which includes coordinating executive, board, and council meetings, human resources, working with our departmental associations, and developing our bylaws, policies, and procedures.

Effective communication between all these different levels of governance requires consistent and positive dialogue, as well as clear, effective internal policies and procedures.

What are the goals you hope to accomplish?

Next year, I want to continue to work on lobbying for the creation of more graduate student space on campus, including access to resources for students on all our campuses.

I will also undertake a complete review of GSAÉD’s bylaws and constitution, ensuring they reflect our current policies and procedures, as well as our policy of bilingualism.

Finally, I will continue to work on comprehensive internal policies, as well as developing effective operational policies for our new Grad House and ensure a smooth transition to GSAÉD’s new space.


Taiva Tegler, external commissioner candidate

Taiva Tegler, current external commissioner of GSAÉD running for re-election, is in the second year of her master’s program in education with a specialization in women’s studies. Tegler said her experience as a community activist, support worker, and graduate student at the U of O are valuable qualities for an external commissioner.

The Fulcrum: Why are you running?

Tegler: This past year has been an incredible learning experience.  I have worked on many projects and forged important partnerships within the union sector, indigenous solidarity, and student services, which I would like to continue to expand on and strengthen.

I am incredibly dedicated, vocal, and passionate about student advocacy, and I know graduate student issues well, while I am always open and willing to learn more.

The external commissioner oversees public communications and representations of GSAÉD. How will you ensure the grad student association will be visible and positively represented?

It is important that GSAÉD follows our mandate and principles, as well as council decisions, which help set the political direction and voice of the organization.

Moreover, I will assure graduate students have the opportunity to voice their concerns and causes through the student issues action committee, and by ensuring the campaigns and advocacy work we do are visible for students to engage with.

GSAÉD does—and will continue to—take strong stances on sociopolitical issues and develop campaigns with a social justice focus toward a more equitable, accessible, and publicly funded post-secondary education system.

What are the goals you hope to accomplish?

Just this month, GSAÉD’s council passed my motion for a mental health awareness campaign. I am looking forward to developing a campus-specific campaign that can map resources for graduate students and address issues that are not talked about enough, such as the burden of high student debt; balancing work, school, and personal relationships; stress; and being overworked.

I am also looking forward to continuing my work and partnerships with on-campus groups and unions to address political changes that will affect graduate students.


Douglas Webb, finance commissioner candidate

Doudlas Webb is, current candidate for the finance commissioner of GSAÉD running for re-election is pursuing a masters of business administration at the Telfer School of Management. He was elected to GSAÉD in December, 2011 to fill the vacant position of finance commissioner.

Webb’s background is in information technology operations in the education sector. He has focused mainly on IT implementations as a systems analyst.

The Fulcrum: Why are you running?

Webb: I am running because I believe I can make a difference. The themes of efficiency, transparency, and fun, on which I gave my prepared remarks during the byelection, are resonant. Since December 2011, I have been bringing life to those themes in my work at GSAÉD.

I think GSAÉD does great work on behalf of graduate students. I am always heartened to see the visible commitment in council and elsewhere. I am honoured to be able to serve and to make a difference.

How will you go about raising funds for GSAÉD?

Before raising funds it is important to make sure we have the lowest cost structure possible. I hope, in time, to bring more efficiency to the budget. Seeking out the lowest cost structure will raise the funds available for our graduate student programs. It is about making the dollar go further.

Since being elected to GSAÉD in December, I have brought efficiencies to our banking relationships. I do believe transparency structures how we think about how resources should be allocated. The more transparent and engaged the dialogue between GSAÉD and graduate students is, the better allocations can be made in terms of new thinking, new programs, new ways of doing things. So raising funds is a multifaceted question.

What are the goals you hope to accomplish?

I hope to bring a greater sense of engagement with all graduate students, who can see where their hard-earned student fees go and have a voice in how they are allocated.

Transparency is central to my goals.  When we can see each other we can have better conversations and get the best outcomes for graduate students.


Patricia Barra de la Tremblaye, student life commissioner candidate

Patricia Barra de la Tremblaye, current council chair of GSAÉD and a PhD candidate in neuropsychology at the University of Ottawa, is running for election as the student life commissioner.

She won the prize for best honours thesis in the School of Psychology in 2009, graduating with excellence obtaining the title summa cum laude, the highest possible honour.

She has also been an active volunteer with people who have mental health disorders, paralysis, and other disabilities. Barra de la Tremblaye said her experience in planning social events and conferences will assist her in performing her role if elected.

The Fulcrum: Why are you running? 

Barra de la Tremblaye: I am running because I want to be in the heart of student life and I believe I can make a difference for the best. I hold fellow students and their hopes and tribulations at heart, so much so that student life is a large part of my mentality and existence on campus.

I already play the role of a big sister to new grads, a guide and mentor, and a senior buddy. I can see the big picture, but I can also be sensitive to the personal ordeals and challenges facing students. I have extensive experience organizing conferences, events, and social activities. Most importantly, I am open to feedback and suggestions from our diverse community.

How will you ensure inclusivity and outreach of the events you organize? 

First and foremost, I will be communicating with the different departmental student associations and the many student services and clubs. I will also ensure channels are open to communicate with individual students. The upcoming commissioners and myself have created a survey to help us learn what graduate students would like to see happen on campus next year. I will absolutely ask that all department representatives answer the survey and share it with the graduate students they represent.

I have many creative ways to outreach and host events in the new year at all our campuses, whether that is at Roger Guindon Hall, Lees Campus, or main campus. Now that the graduate house and Café Nostalgica are under construction, we can have events at different campuses and departments, and in fun and beautiful areas of Ottawa. I will definitely increase the amount and diversity of student participation in these types of events.

What are the goals you hope to accomplish?

The goals I want to accomplish are to provide an exciting life on the campus for students, promote networking and community building, and to foster socializing among [students]. I am planning a visit of the capital, movie nights, concerts, and more. The survey will help us learn what graduate students want.

Additionally, as we are a team working together for students, I will do my part to help other commissioners accomplish their own agendas, all for the best interest of the students.


Brenna Quigley, university affairs commissioner candidate 

Brenna Quigley, university affairs commissioner hopeful, is a PhD candidate in the Faculty of Education at the University of Ottawa, researching consequences of high-stakes standardized exams in high schools. Quigley is the graduate student representative for the University Senate, part of the Graduate Programs Committee, and involved in the Faculty of Education Graduate Students’ Association as the communications officer.

The Fulcrum: Why are you running?

Quigley: I am running for the position of university affairs commissioner because I think it is important to constantly critically review what we are doing here as graduate students and why.

I would like to ensure we are all having the best academic experiences possible, and that students have access to the resources, support systems, and communities that facilitate their learning at the graduate level.

I also highly value active participation and critical engagement with education. I look forward to the opportunity to work with a strong team at GSAÉD, and hope to share some of my experiences and my passion for learning and education with others.

The university affairs commissioner advocates for the rights and academic interests of graduate students on campus. How are you planning to ensure all voices are heard and advocate fairly on behalf of all graduate students?

I plan to communicate with students frequently, and through multiple methods of communication, to learn more about what graduate students would like to see happening on campus.

Facilitating communication with the graduate student representatives who serve on various committees across campus, the departmental representatives, and the many student associations, groups, and organizations will help me to learn more about how students’ needs and interests could be best addressed.

Working collaboratively with the other executive members of GSAÉD will be really important when advocating for students’ rights. I plan to be as inclusive as possible, and to always welcome a multiplicity of perspectives.

I hope that establishing clear and open lines of communication will help students feel confident that they can talk to me and let me know how their rights and academic interests can be most thoughtfully addressed.

What are some of the goals you hope to accomplish?

My goal is to build a research community and culture for graduate students on campus. To accomplish this, I plan to offer numerous opportunities for graduate students to share their experiences, knowledge, skills, and talents with other graduate students as part of a series of workshops, mentoring sessions, discussion groups, and panels.

I also plan to create an academic journal for graduate students, which will give students valuable experience with publishing. Continuing my current work with members of the University Senate and GSAÉD, I plan to continue to advocate for increased access to academic services on campus for graduate students. I look forward to seeing a number of positive changes on campus that will enhance the quality of students’ educational experiences.


—Christopher Radojewski