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S.F.U. Biology Graduate Caucus

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Bisc Grad Caucus Meeting Minutes

December 03, 2004

In attendance: Suzanne Tank, Reza Babajani, Dawn Cooper, Holly Middleton, Raul Ursic, Niki Cook, Jason Catterson, BriAnne Addison, Sandra Webster, Aaron Wirsing, Charlotte Voss, Maxence Saloman, Melanie Hart, Courtney Albert, Keith Tierney, Sarah Jamieson, Katrina Salvante, Oli Love, Andrea Pomeroy.

1. Welcome

Andrea welcomed all; the agenda was introduced.

2. Christmas Party


a. The event will occur Dec 10th. Tickets are $2; one beer will be complimentary, pop & cider will also be available. Event tickets will go into a prize raffle; the Bisc Caucus paid for prizes. Food will be available at 3:30, and at 4:30, the Bisc Caucus will facilitate an entertainment program:

i. This year’s theme is ‘Reality TV’, including the ‘Biology Idol’, and spoofed Christmas songs. Participants are needed (labs or other groups) – email Holly or Meg to sign up. At this time, intent of participation is all that is required. A PC projector and computer will be on hand to show song lyrics. Please email these in when ready.

ii. Tony awards. Last year’s event was a success. Nominate labs or people for: best haircut, most obscure hobby, most obscure research animal/plant, research least likely to make you famous, most obscure paper title, most obscure private life, closest resemblance to your study animal/plant, most decrepit field vehicle, most decrepit field camp. Send funny pictures to Andrea Pomeroy.

iii. Funny newsreels of departmental activities over the last year will also be shown (by Kim).

iv. A spoof on ‘the Apprentice’ will be given to make light of the unsuccessful departmental searches. Skits will be 5-10 min long.


b. All present members were polled for pizza selection:

i. No comment (3 votes), Hawaiian (2 votes), vegetarian (5 votes), vegetarian, no cheese (1 vote), pepperoni & mushroom (1 vote), pepperoni (3 votes), all dressed (4 votes), Greek (2 votes).

3. NSERC Travel Awards

- Please fill in the recently emailed survey. The survey results will be used to craft a letter to John Driver and the Dean. This will help to further desired changes in award allocation policy.

4. Departmental seminar speaker

-The tradition was started last year; Paul Sherman was selected but never showed. Last year Elizabeth Elle championed the event and was going to put in extra money for dinner, thus allowing more students to attend or to provide for a special event afterwards. Bernie Roitberg is responsible this year; not many nominations have been received. We should act quickly to find someone locally (Washington, BC, AL). Caucus members can suggest people, and the candidates will be put to a Caucus vote. Discussion. If someone wished to speak more to life in academia, this is also acceptable. Please bring in your suggestions.

5. Christmas for a needy grad

- Andrea Pomeroy presented Cheryl Leonard’s email: Cheryl wishes to provide Christmas help to a grad family in need. People can donate food, presents, a turkey, a tree, or other. Thus far there are no candidates for this assistance. The faculty did not have any suggestions. Caucus members can offer suggestions; a Caucus executive will then approach nominated person(s).

6. Food Bank

a. A bin will be present for food donations at the Christmas party. Please bring in donations, especially if you are not bringing potluck.

b. A box for collecting toys could also be properly located. Sandra Webster enquired whether toys could be given to kids through donation cards? Local banks use this type of charity. Discussion.

7. Other Committee Reports

a. Graduate Issues Committee report from Raul Ursic: the BOD has started a student health plan committee; a grad student from Ed is on the committee. Raul provided news on time limits for the repayment of Canada Student Loans. This loans program widely advertises that, as long as a student maintains full-time status, he/she is eligible for in-study interest relief, no payments are required and the gov’t will subsidize any accrued interest. In fact, students are required to start making payments on their loans no later than 520 weeks after their first loan allotment is issued, regardless of student status. Several grad students (all in PhD programs) have received letters from the gov’t asking to start making their payments. The dean of graduate studies has started a survey to see how many people this affects at SFU.

b. Faculty Mole Dawn Cooper: There was an unremarkable faculty meeting.

8.Dual Purpose Meeting Room

a. The previous names (‘lounge’, ‘coffee room’) will not be acceptable. Henceforth, it must be referred to as the ‘dual purpose meeting room’. The biology department defined these purposes as ‘couch versus chair meetings’.

i. Dawn Cooper: the Caucus will remove money should we not have appropriate use of room. Andrea Pomeroy agreed: money was based on a ‘lounge’.

ii. Discussion ensued on the finer points of the supposed dual purposes.

9. Miscellaneous

a. Joline Widemeyer is doing well with her pregnancy.

b. Holly Middleton needs someone to put up posters for departmental seminars (March through April) due to her field season requirements. The presentation schedule is already established. Send enquiries to dippers@sfu.ca.

10. New Webmaster

- Jason Catterson will be the new webmaster.

11. Meeting adjourned