Fall Newsletter

Welcome and welcome back to grad school! Those of us at the Student Association for Graduates in English are looking forward to working with and for you in the coming year. To kick off the semester, here’s what we have lined up:

First, a few dates to note down: 

September 28: Elections, Annual General Meeting, Welcome Back Party;

September 30: Deadline to apply for Managing Poetry Editor, Fiction Editor, Visual Arts Editor, and Designer at Headlight Anthologies;

October 1st: Deadline to apply for the Colloquium Team

Welcome Back Party

Join us on Friday, September 28 at Kafein, located at 1429 Bishop St, Montreal, for a welcome back party. We will be meeting in the basement near the bar, however, Kafein also has a café located on the upper floor for anyone who wants food or non-alcoholic drinks. Doors open at 7:30 PM. Feel free to bring your partners and besties.

Fall General Assembly

Before getting ready to party, stop by the General Assembly on September 28 – Time TBA in LB 646. We’ll be providing an overview of what SAGE has planned for the year and how our finances will be distributed. This is also the time for bylaws to be proposed and adopted/rejected by vote, so do make sure you’re here to have your voice heard.

Elections for SAGE Council

SAGE is holding elections for the following positions on Council:

VP Administration: Records minutes, manages social media

Academic Representative: Represents graduate students in the academic stream, attends department meetings, and liaises with CASE, faculty, and staff

Creative Representative: Represents graduate students in the creative stream, attends creative writing faculty meetings, liaises with faculty and staff, and works with Speakers’ Committee

Involvement with Council offers students a direct say in their academic experience at Concordia, as well as the opportunity to engage in dialogue with faculty and administration.

The dates of the election process are as follows:

Nominations: Tuesday, September 18 to Monday, September 24

Campaign: Tuesday, September 25 to Thursday, September 27

Elections: Friday, September 28 in person in the Graduate Student Lounge or via email (details to be announced later this month)

For more information about the positions and current members, please check out the team or send us an e-mail at sage@concordia.ca. On September 28, when you join us for the General Assembly and our Welcome Back Party, make sure you take a moment to exercise your democratic right and vote!

Join the Colloquium Team

The 16thannual English Graduate Colloquium at Concordia is presently seeking team members to vet and edit papers and to help manage the event space during our conference on March 23 and 24, 2019, this year titled “Spectral Haunts: Issues of Lingering Pasts and Looming Futures”. The full details of the call can be found here.

If interested in the position, please submit a brief paragraph of intent stating why you would be a good fit for the team and detailing which tasks interest you to concordiacolloquium@gmail.comby Monday, October 1, 2018, at 11:59 pm.

Headlight Anthology

Headlight Anthology is a student-run literary journal that publishes poetry, prose, and visual art annually in print. We’re currently hiring a managing editor and treasurer. Interested students can send their resume and cover letter to headlightanthology@gmail.comby September 30.

CEVA

The Committee for Equity and Visibility in the Academy aims to maintain an open dialogue between students, faculty, and administration on issues of representation and visibility. If this initiative is something you wish to get involved with, you can contact the organizers at ceva.concordia@gmail.com.

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That’s it for now! In an effort to ensure that all English grad students receive notice of the goings-on in the department, please keep an eye out for our e-mails advertising the events we put together for you. You can also check out our website, which also boasts a bunch of resources and where we will keep you updated on the election results and events throughout the year.

Thanks for reading! If you have any questions, comments, or ideas/projects for the upcoming semester, please don’t hesitate to e-mail us at sage@concordia.ca. We’re happy to hear back about what you want from your department.

Best of luck with the semester,
SAGE

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SAGE Update in Response to Sexual Misconduct at Concordia

We are writing in response to the release of the “Consensual Romantic or Sexual Relationships Guidelines” and the announcement of the Task Force on Sexual Misconduct and Sexual Violence.

As of January 26th, Concordia has released their Guidelines concerning student-instructor relationships. While these Guidelines were identified by Concordia administration as a key step towards mending the rapport between students, staff, and faculty, they ultimately fail to address the power imbalances of these relationships. It seems like there has been little change to the earlier “Code of Ethics and Safe Disclosure Policy Applicable to Employees of Concordia University” which previously governed these relationships. Those guidelines have already been in place and have failed—and will continue to fail—students. For this reason, SAGE’s current position on relationships between faculty and students is that they are not merely conflicts of interests; they are actually unethical.

Secondly, the Guidelines that are provided by the University remain ambiguous in their definitions and descriptions. For instance, in the case of a graduate student who occupies the role of “Instructor,” how would their relationship with a non-teaching graduate student (or “Student”) be interpreted in light of these Guidelines? A similar example would be that of a graduate student “Instructor” who has an undergraduate partner—according to the current wording, it is unclear whether this is a relationship representing a conflict of interest that should be disclosed. SAGE has requested clarification of the terms used in the newly-released Guidelines, in order to accurately reflect their impact on both Faculty and graduate students. Furthermore, the problem areas previously identified and raised by SAGE and CASE, such as off-campus events, remain entirely unaddressed in the most recent iteration of the Guidelines.

We are similarly disappointed by the manner in which the Task Force has been deployed. While a unit to address the instances of sexual misconduct at Concordia is welcome, we strongly disagree with the choice of letting the administration appoint the undergraduate and graduate students who sit on the Task Force. The selection process outlined by the call for applications indicates that the student representatives will be selected by the Chair and vice-Chairs of the Task Force. However, we firmly believe that in order to function ethically, student representatives should be elected or appointed by students—not by Concordia staff, faculty, or administration. Additionally, the CSU has made the compelling argument that the selection process as it stands is, in fact, illegal.

We hope the University administration will reconsider this course of action. While we desire a timely process, we cannot condone haste at the expense of care and diligence.

In solidarity,

SAGE

CEVA Workshop

Thanks to everyone who showed up to the TA Teacher-Training workshop organized by CEVA and the Centre for Teaching and Learning on January 19, 2018. We’ll be writing up some more fully formed thoughts over the next couple of weeks as we process the knowledge and implement some of the practices in our classes, but we want to share the workshop resources with you in the meantime.

  • The workshop slides prepared by Alicia Cundell from the Centre for Teaching and Learning.
  • The Google Doc with all the resources Alicia prepared, the suggestions that came out of the activity, and links to further reading curated by CEVA.

If you have resources you’d like to contribute to our bibliography, please request editor access to the Google Doc or send us an e-mail at sage@concordia.ca.

SAGE Statement on Sexual Misconduct

On Monday, Concordia alumnus Mike Spry’s “No Names, Only Monsters” drew attention to sexual harassment within the Concordia Creative Writing program. This article came after other claims of gendered violence, including but not limited to Emma Healey’s 2014-article “Stories like Passwords”. The ensuing attention following Spry’s article has result in a response from Concordia University.

The University has outlined their process in an address from President Alan Shepard. The investigation will be conducted by a third party hired by the university and will provide recommendations to the University based on their findings. The administration has not yet released specific details of this investigation, such as the investigating party, the specific process, and the timeline. They have confirmed that more information sessions will be held in the coming weeks.

We have a number of concerns around the forthcoming investigation which we would like to see addressed. This process has the potential to re-victimize survivors of sexual abuse, harassment, and assault, as well as expose them to new harassment. It is currently unclear how the investigator will accommodate requests for confidentiality and anonymity. We are also concerned about the limited legal and financial resources available to graduate students.

For this reason, we are requesting that a legal disclosure form be released prior to the investigation so that we can review it with a lawyer to determine whether it addresses our concerns. This review of the disclosure document will be shared with students.

At this time, the courses assigned to the named professors have been reassigned, the books by these professors have been removed from the glass display cases by the English office, and the Department of English is reviewing the location of the Matrix office.

We acknowledge the exposure of sexual misconduct will directly or tangentially impact a variety of people in different ways. We would encourage those who need additional support to check out the list of resources compiled by CASE. Many of these resources are confidential and survivor-focused and can help inform those who might be struggling during this time.

Finally, we would like to say that we believe survivors of sexual violence and will support you and advocate for you to the best of our abilities.

We will be hosting a meeting on Thursday, January 18 at 5:00 pm in LB-659-4 to talk and listen.

In solidarity,

SAGE

List of Resources

Centre for Gender Advocacy: http://genderadvocacy.org/

Provides respectful, confidential peer-to-peer support, advocacy, and resources for those who seek it with a focus on harm reduction, empowerment and self-determination.

Concordia Student Union Advocacy Centre: https://csu.qc.ca/advocacy

Aims to help students who find themselves in difficult situations by accurately identifying their needs, as well as determining and executing the necessary course of action

Sexual Assault Resource Centre (SARC): https://www.concordia.ca/students/sexual-assault.html

Provides confidential and non-judgmental support and services to Concordia   University students, staff and faculty of all genders and orientations who have been affected by sexual violence and/or harassment.

Sexual Assault Center of the McGill Student Society (SACOMSS): http://www.sacomss.org/wp/

Volunteer-run organization committed to supporting survivors of sexual assault and their allies through direct support, advocacy and outreach. Their services include Drop-in, DIAL hotline phone number, support groups, advocacy and outreach

Quebec Coalition of Sexual Assault Centers (RQCALACS): http://www.rqcalacs.qc.ca/index-en.php

Provides support services for victims and their relatives and close friends throughout the judicial process. According to the individuals’ needs, they may also provide support through health services, group support meetings and referrals to other organizations.

Election Results

The election results are in! Your new SAGE Council members are:

Academic Rep: Jennifer Breaux
Creative Rep: Melanie Power
VP Administration: Miles Forrester

Thank you to everyone who voted and everyone who ran in the election. We look forward to working together to bring you exciting SAGE events this year!

Election Time!

Calling all Graduate Students!

The nominations are in and your candidates for President, VP Internal, VP Social, and Treasurer are listed below!

The election will be held on Wednesday, October 5. Although some of these positions only have one candidate, you still need to vote. All SAGE Council members must be voted in through election, or they will not be eligible to perform their duties.

Voting will be open in person from 10 AM to 5 PM on October 5 in the Graduate Lounge (locker room, LB-660), or via email at sage.elections@outlook.com any time between 12 AM and 5 PM on October 5. If voting via email, please write the name of your preferred candidate beside positions with multiple candidates, or write “Yes” or “No” beside uncontested positions. A ballot template has been provided!

Please include your student ID when voting so we can ensure no one votes twice and that all votes come from SAGE members.

Our CRO for the election will be Sandy Martin, and SAGE members who are not running for Council will be manning the physical polling station.

Once elected, the new Council members will begin their term on October 5, 2016.

Here are the nominees!

 

poo3Academic Representative #1: Jen Tracy

My name is Jen and I am a first year MA student in the academic stream. A fierce lover of democracy, for this blurb I have decided to let the people speak for themselves:

“What, you want me to just describe you? Okay, um, Jen is a funny, kind person who I’ve known for 11 years and… is good at snowboarding…? I don’t know Jen, this is weird.” -my friend Lauren.

“She can be a little too, well, she needs to remember, there are certain dates and things she needs to remember to acknowledge in other people’s lives, like her mother’s and her sister’s birthdays.” -my mum, Harriet.

Recently, I asked for some feedback on the TA conference I lead. A number of students described the conference as “good” and “relaxed.” Other students had “nothing much to say.” One glowing review said that “Conference seems great. I haven’t had a lot of experience with which to compare it.” -anonymous

“Jean makes mean chai from scratch!” -my roommate, Laura.

Hopefully these testimonials convince you why I would be an outstanding choice for academic representative on the SAGE council. This I do promise, that I will not forget to go to faculty meetings like I have consistently forgotten my sister’s birthday. Thank you very much.

poo1Academic Representative #2: Carmelo Marsala

I am a hard worker, with an eye for perspective. I do not take the thoughts, interests, or ideals of my peers, superiors or colleagues for granted, and have the greatest respect for others. I enjoy the prospect of thinking with others, and all but embrace the notion of being allowed to grow as a community in an environment of courtesy and equality. My interests lie squarely on prospects of thought, truth, and language, and the interrelation between meaning and sound. As such, I cannot help but appreciate the value of clear and concise communication, and admire the variance and quality of opinion. I believe that bias, however insurmountable, is an obstacle which is, although unconquerable, always meant to be opposed.

poo2Creative Representative: Emily Jane Crompton

 

I am a student in the creative stream. While my personal focus is poetry, I will indiscriminately represent fiction and non-fiction writers, and any incoming to outgoing student who is interested in making new and lovely things to read. My past experiences include helping at weekly writing workshops, acting as an editor-in-chief for 7 Mondays, and sitting on the selection committee for the Graham Atlantic Creative Writing Prize in 2016. I’m looking forward to drawing on the skills I’ve developed during my undergraduate and am looking forward to participating in a larger departmental community as the creative rep.

VP Administration: Kaitlynn McCuaigpoo4

Hello email list of the chosen,

I’m Kaitlynn McCuaig, I come from the Toronto area, and I have spent the last 20 years or so trying to decide on an artistic form (or at least narrow it down to a manageable handful). Prose writer, amateur photographer, visual artist, television and film enthusiast, social performer, musician that’s forgotten how to play, and general art- and school-lover, I’m in the English creative stream and am actively trying to make the most of an experience my solitary, ground-squirrel nature would otherwise have me retreat from.

I’m fascinated with art as a cultural influence that brings like minds together, invested in issues of advocacy and representation in the Canadian and North American context, and as I’m interested in training myself to be a more social creature, the position of VP Admin (as it has been described to me) sounds like an excellent exercise in social yoga (that may also benefit the program or something like that).

I also promise double recesses if moved from a nominated party to an elected one, and a more-or-less constant presence on the internet for contact, social media and blog-related purposes. Thank you for your consideration!


These are your candidates, SAGE. The choice is yours. On October 5, help us help you by choosing the first four members of next year’s Council.

Yours,

SAGE Council

Election Results!

Hello, SAGE members!
The results are in from Friday’s election and your first four 2016-2017 SAGE Council members have been chosen!
President: Ariane Legault
VP Internal: Torin McLachlan
VP Social: Liam Lachance
Treasurer: Brieanna Lebel
Thank you to everyone who voted and everyone who ran! These newly elected Council members will assume their positions onJune 1, 2016.
The election’s over, but we still have a few matters to wrap up. Don’t forget to come to our General Assembly this Wednesday, April 27 at 3:30 PM in LB 646 (poster attached). A friendly reminder that if you have something you want discussed in our last GA of the 2015-2016 school year, you need to ask us to add it to the agenda sometime today! We will send out the agenda by tomorrow afternoon.
Hope to see you there, SAGE members!
 AGA poster

It’s Election Time!

Calling all Graduate Students!

The nominations are in and your candidates for President, VP Internal, VP Social, and Treasurer are listed below!

The election will be held on Friday, April 22. Although some of these positions only have one candidate, you still need to vote. All SAGE Council members must be voted in through election, or they will not be eligible to perform their duties.

Voting will be open in person from 10 AM to 5 PM on April 22 in the Graduate Lounge (locker room), or via email at sage.elections@outlook.com any time between 12 AM and 5 PM on April 22. If voting via email, please write the name of your preferred candidate beside positions with multiple candidates, or write “Yes” or “No” beside uncontested positions. A ballot template has been provided!

Please include your student ID when voting so we can ensure no one votes twice and that all votes come from SAGE members.

Our CRO for the election will be Mona’a Malik, and SAGE members who are not running for Council will be manning the physical polling station.

Once elected, the new Council members will begin their term on June 1, 2016.

Here are the nominees!

 

PRESIDENT — ARIANE LEGAULT
List of reasons why you should vote for me:

  • A vote for me is a vote for chocolate – I promise to bring tiny coloured Easter eggs sporadically throughout the year and spread them around the department.
  • Democratic values will prevail, with an emphasis on inclusivity and tolerance – I promise not to turn into a dictator and conspire to take over the world.
  • A concern for aesthetics – I promise to brighten those atrocious grad study rooms. While destroying walls to create windows may be out of my power, I will attempt to make them slightly more bearable.

giphy2Most importantly, I am deeply invested. I care a great deal about this department – both in its current form and future manifestation. Over the years, I have worked in affiliation with social organizations such as QPIRG and Divest Concordia for the betterment of a campus that emphasizes the respect of diversity and the importance of social responsibility. As president of this upcoming year, I promise to maintain an unwavering commitment to equity; I am acutely aware that academic and creative growth is contingent on having a safe environment within which it can be nurtured. Tolerance, respect, and active listening are values that I will uphold and personally ensure that the department does so too.

As for my organisational skills, I am annoyingly meticulous about getting things done in a timely fashion. While this has its downfalls – most notably, on my stress level – it allows those whom I work with to maintain a clear and constant notion of what is happening and what remains to be done. I will inevitably carry this trait to my presidency as it is an integral part of my personality which I can’t get rid of – trust me, I’ve tried.

It all comes down to this: As president, I am mouthpiece working for you guys. I will ensure that your concerns are being heard and treated in a concrete and respectful manner.


VP INTERNAL — TORIN McLACHLAN

giphy1I would love to continue my involvement with SAGE Council by serving as VP Internal during the second year of my MA. Serving as the SAGE Academic Rep for the past year has given me a good working knowledge of faculty/staff/cohort relations, and I feel confident that I can put that knowledge to use in representing and mobilising the concerns and aspirations of SAGE members from both streams. Having sat on a few organising/sub-committees this year and co-developed a successful grant proposal to fund various initiatives within the department, I also feel well-situated to leverage my experience to support next year’s event organisers, schemers, and/or dreamers. I continue to marvel at the industry and imagination of the people in this program, and hope to work alongside them in developing important creative and critical contributions to the Concordia community and wider world.

VP SOCIAL — LIAM LACHANCE

giphy3I’m interested in helping out as the VP Social because an advantage of our program seems to be all the reading/writing events and the literary community here at Concordia and in Montreal. Some examples of events that stay with me include Jess Bebenek’s group poetry readings at the Centre for Expanded Poetics, Tess’ Writers Read, Monstrous Impositions and the truly amazing Off The Page festival, as well as the lovely Caterina Incisa’s Lit Pop series. I also had the pleasure of being with a gorgeous team of prom organizers who conspired to pull off quite a ‘unique’ prom, and I’d be interested in helping repeat a mild to significant variation of next year. I’ve also had the chance to host a series of creative writing events with Concordia Write Nights in a variety of random spaces such as the Biodome, and I’ll be hosting a similar series next year so that academic and creative stream students have a chance to write together.

As the VP Social I would also aim to welcome our arriving students with some key events, something along the lines of the ultra creative and very cool Tiny Room Series that’s been hosted by the always wonderful Karissa ‘LA-rock’ LaRoque. I would also like to make better use of the Richler Room. We hosted a successful event there this past winter due to the work of Chalsley Taylor, Kate Sterns, and Jason Camlot, so I’m optimistic that going forward we can continue to integrate the room into the program. Also, if we haven’t had the chance to meet, I’m very open to collaborating with others, and I’m invested in ensuring and learning about accessibility and diversity in the program. As VP Social I’d aim to bring forward these values of collaboration and creativity – feel free to contact me at word@wordandcolour.com if you have any event suggestions in mind!

TREASURER — BRIEANNA LEBEL

giphy4

I think supporting SAGE as treasurer would be great way to contribute to the English program. I even have a bit of experience dealing with budgets/payouts as I was the financial manager for my partner’s band when they a received a US grant to tour in the UK for a month in 2012. Embarrassing fact: I actually think that spreadsheets and all that jazz are a pretty good time!

 

TREASURER — JESSICA CADIEUX

giphy5

I am interested in getting more involved in Concordia’s student life and becoming SAGE’s treasurer gives me a great opportunity to do so. I see becoming treasurer as an opportunity to represent Concordia’s English grad department and as a chance to work with great people in the program. I’m organized and I work well under pressure so I don’t think this responsibility would interfere with my school work and I’m confident that I would be able to be a good treasurer.


These are your candidates, SAGE. The choice is yours. On April 22, help us help you by choosing the first four members of next year’s Council.

Yours,

SAGE Council

SAGE Special General Assembly: Race, Respect, Responsible Marking

On February 12 at 1:30 PM, all SAGE members (any MA or PhD student in Concordia’s English program) are invited to come for a Special General Assembly discussing the matters of representation of POC in the department, reducing bias in marking, and kitchen access for grad students. This SGA has been called following concerns raised by SAGE members on all of these counts.

The agenda is as follows:
1. Chair’s Remarks
2. Representation of POC in the department
3. Marking bias
4. Kitchen access
5. Adjournment

The agenda cannot be amended.

Supplementary materials will be posted here. SAGE’s introductory background material on the genesis of this SGA will be posted here shortly, and circulated to the cohort via email. SAGE members are encouraged to comment on this event with further reading that they believe is pertinent to these matters.

If you cannot attend, but would like to make your thoughts on these issues heard, you are free to express them here, or to send written comments to sage@concordia.ca to be read aloud at the SGA.

RSVP on Facebook.