Concordia’s Graduate Student Association Cancels General Assembly

Graduate Students to Express Discontent With GSA

The Association of the Graduate Students in Psychology are disappointed in the lack of funding for mental health resources within the GSA. Photo Brian Lapuz

The Graduate Student Association scheduled their general assembly from 6 P.M. to 8 P.M. on Friday, but the meeting was called off due to short attendance.

The question period following the assembly allowed graduate students to ask GSA executives about the lack of funding for mental health services within the association.

“We have some of the worst coverage when it comes to psychological services,” said Sarah Hines, a PhD student and the Vice-President of Student Affairs at the Association of Graduate Students in Psychology. “We are subsidizing people’s mental health treatment to zero dollars.”

Hines said she attempted to contact the GSA for more information about the lack of resources in the association in November of 2017, but was not met with an answer until the question period.

“We Psychology students can’t access the Applied Psychology Centre for free or cheap therapy, which is Concordia’s in-house training clinic, as we are the one’s providing therapy in this context,” explained Hines.

“I have two days a week at a hospital giving therapy for free,” she said. “I can’t go to hospitals to get therapy if that’s what I want because my colleagues are giving training there.”

She added that the AGSP has no money in terms of psychology and mental health coverage, and that they are not able to access the same services that qualify other graduate students. They are only provided with a short-term solution focused orientation, that are focused on only one or two sessions at most.

Vice President External, Amir Sadra Khorramizadeh, mentioned the start up plan called “Empower Me,” which was supposed to be a twenty-four hour hotline for students to handle stress and as a way to help them in the right direction.

“Having a hotline alone is not enough for students in need of therapy,” said Hines. She suggested that this startup would be better fit for students with minor issues, but is not fit for people who suffer from severe anxiety and depression.

“The last decision that is made within the moral of this issue was not to offer a program by GSA itself,” explained Sadra Khorramizadeh. He said “Empower Me” would be a peer-to-peer hotline in order to help students with stress.

“When we looked at other options, you’re telling me that we’re going to get a crisis peer-to-peer line, and I’m really disappointed,” expressed Hines.

Two council meetings this semester on Jan. 30 and Feb. 27 were also cancelled due to unmet quorum.

This is the second time the GSA’s General Assembly was cut short, as last year’s assembly was stopped due to a fight that broke out because of online voting motions.