Members of Unit 1 entering their seventh year of a PhD program who have been granted a funding extension should have received the minimum guarantee for year 6 over the summer. We have received reports that this has not occurred, and are collecting information on all those affected. If you are entering year 7 with an extension and have not received $5,384 as minimum guarantee in addition to the Graduate Financial Assistance (GFA) ($814 for domestic students or $1295 for international students) this summer, please contact Sheila Wilmot, our Equity Officer, at email@example.com
There are three reasons for funding extensions provided by the Unit 1 Collective Agreement: parental leave (article 17.12), disability/illness/injury leave (article 15.10), and executive/bargaining team service (article 15.09). The majority of these extensions affect those members who are often the most vulnerable. Withholding this funding over the summer is especially galling because York has repeatedly assured the union that this exact scenario would not occur. Most recently, during the May 18 Labour-Management Committee meeting, Fahim Quadir, Interim Dean of the Faculty of Graduate Studies (FGS), assured us that these members would receive the minimum guarantee over the summer, as has been past practice for members with extensions.
If this change is the result of York’s somehow still-nebulous Fellowship Funding Model, it also contradicts all of the employer’s assurances that their new model would not result in any clawbacks.
CUPE 3903 calls on York to honour both past practice and the commitment that was made by FGS and pay the minimum guarantee to those members who were granted an extension. Students with disabilities or newborns should not have to worry about whether or not they will receive their funding. Funding should be designed to empower the most vulnerable of York’s graduate students, not hinder them.