Trustee I Position (2 Candidates)

Federica Cogoni

Hello TSSU members!
My name is Federica Cogoni and I am running for the position of Trustee.

I’m a TA and RA at the department of political science and I feel very motivated to run for this position.
As an international student, I recognize that affordability, permits and equal access to funding are
important concerns that need more attention, especially during a worldwide pandemic. We came here
with high hopes and big dreams, and we need to support each other!

I think that my motivation to run for Trustee aligns with my passion put into solidarity and social justice.
I followed and contributed to free MSP for international students and RA unionization campaigns, which
were further accomplished. I believe that solidarity and keeping high the awareness among members
were the main drivers to these successes!

We did these, but we can do more!

In solidarity,

Maria Cristina Albuquerque

Hi everyone,
My name is Maria Cristina Lima de Albuquerque Maranhao, but you can just call me Maria. I am from
Brazil, and as an international student I would love to keep the international student’s representation in
the Executive Committee. For the last year, I have been the TSSU Coordinator, and now, I am running for
the position of Trustee I.

Currently, I am in my third year of MA in Education working on my thesis in Environmental Education. As
the TSSU Coordinator, I have worked closely with the Trustees in the Internal Relations Committee,
Childcare Working Group, Finances Committee and other weekly duties. The current Trustees have
taught me a diversity of TSSU policies, procedures and enriched my institutional knowledge. Currently,
we are working on the executive restructure and it would be great to dedicate the hours for this process
as past coordinator and future Trustee I. Moreover, I became more familiar with the TSSU Bylaws as the
Coordinator and this knowledge will provide a solid foundation for me to take on the role of Trustee I.
As Trustee I, I would be around not only for Trustee-job related issues but to help the new Coordinator
to navigate in a very challenging and isolated position.

I would welcome the opportunity to extend my service to the Union as a Trustee. I would contribute
with my energy, patience and openness to learn, discuss and review policies. I have learned a lot about
the TSSU bylaws and policies in my role as Coordinator and I look forward to expanding my knowledge.
It would be a pleasure to work for the TSSU in my last year of university making the year even more

Thank for your consideration and feel free to contact me if you have any questions regarding my
candidacy at


Occupational Health and Safety Commissioner (2 Candidates)

Zohreh Dehghani Champiri

Dear TSSU members,

My name is Zohreh, which means Venus. 🙂 I am currently a PhD student and a member of the TSSU in School of Interactive Arts and Technology. It would be my utmost pleasure to serve as the next Occupational Health and Safety Commissioner at our union. I am interested and passionate about the work OH&S committee has been doing especially after I learned about the important history behind this committee. The committee and the commissioner position were created as part of the campaign to call out the serious mould issue in 2014. As a result of the campaign, TSSU members are now able to be part of the Health and Safety Committee at the University level to advocate for ourselves.

In the past year, I have been active as a member of the Membership Mobilization Committee as well as the MSP campaign. Outside of TSSU, I have also been a volunteer at UNISEF/Red Cross and Varity Children Charity. I would love to continue my involvement at the TSSU by serving as your OH&S commissioner and continue with you to advocate and fight for better working conditions especially during this challenge time of COVID 19.

Thank you for considering me.

In solidarity,

Sarah Cibart

As I start the second semester as a member of the contract committee with TSSU, I’m excited to have you consider me for OH&S Commissioner for TSSU. Having experience working with Worksafe and Occupational Health and Safety claims as a community point person in previous work, I hope to support and learn with members by hearing your concerns and advocating alongside other TSSU representatives and OH&S committee members to address employer negligence (a particularly important task at this time of a global pandemic). Thank you for your consideration!

Coordinator Position (1 Candidate)

Rahil Adeli

My name is Rahil Adeli, and I just got my master’s degree in Urban Studies. I have been engaged with
various activities at TSSU in the last 18 months. I joined TSSU during the RA campaign since it was one of
the most important motivations to get engaged with student activism. When RA Unionization Campaign
started, I found it in alignment with my long-lasting concerns, and I got highly involved with the
campaign from the initial stages. Later in the last summer, I helped the team to overcome the obstacles
on the way of shaping the union caused by SFU’s violation of the Memorandum of Understanding. Part
of my role was coordinating the collaboration between GSS and TSSU on this matter since I had joined
the GSS as the Director of Academic Relations. This collaboration has continued in other areas of mutual
concerns of the two student groups. As the GSS DAR and with the help of TSSU folks, I initiated SFU
Internationals Coming Together that focused on issues facing international students and workers due to
the pandemic. The group later changed to COVID-19-Coalition, which is currently highly active. I also
helped with the joint TSSU-GSS orientation session, whose central focus was raising awareness about RA
issues and the RA union and the advocacy efforts of TSSU and GSS. A current mutual project I am leading
the GSS part is some joint actions to fight against high tuition fees. In general, I tried to increase the
collaboration between GSS and TSSU since I have joined the GSS last January. At the GSS, I have also
initiated and led some structural changes to increase GSS capacity; in terms of both scale and areas of
advocacy at the GSS.

I have also joined the contract committee recently to contribute to the process of preparing the first
Collective Agreement of SFU RAs. I would like to increase my involvement with TSSU by serving as the
Coordinator. I believe all these experiences, from organizing, advocacy, and campaigning to planning
and structural/organizational changes, along with my general familiarity with TSSU work and culture,
have provided me with the ability and skills required for the Coordinator position. TSSU has always been
a vibrant and influential union, a place that you can fight for the just rights of all members of the
community in a friendly and democratic environment that people care about human dignity and
decency. Any opportunity to serve at the TSSU is a valuable opportunity for me.

Chair (1 Candidate)

Devan Prithipaul

It is with humility and determination that I submit my nomination for the Chair position in the
upcoming TSSU Executive Election at the General Meeting this October 27, 2020.
Although I only started my studies at SFU in 2019, during this time, I have taken the initiative to
get involved with as many extra-curricular activities as I can manage. In this past year, in
addition to my studies in the Global Communication MA program (GCMA), I have also taken on
Research Assistant work, Teaching Assistant work, and have been a TSSU steward for over a
year as well as being the GCMA representative for the CMNS grad student caucus for the same
amount of time. These experiences have immersed me into the student advocacy world at SFU,
and of these experiences, I have found the TSSU to be one of the most meaningful and
impactful. I personally participated in the “research is work” campaign to unionize RA’s,
something which, as an RA myself, had direct implications to my life.

I now wish to take the next step in my journey with the TSSU by submitting my nomination for
the position of Chair of the TSSU. This is a big responsibility, but it is one which I believe I am
well suited for. For two years of my undergraduate degree, I was Chair of the Judicial
Committee of the Arts and Science Federation of Associations (analogous to FCAT). I am familiar
with both Bourinot’s Rules of Order as well as Robert’s Rules, and have experience with
consulting authoritative documents such as the Collective Agreement and TSSU By-Law’s. In
addition to my experience as Chair, I believe I possess the qualities of punctuality and
adherence to rules which are critical for the Chair position.

In conclusion, it is my duty and honour to submit my nomination for the Chair position at the
TSSU. It is my duty because the TSSU performs an essential task within the university
bureaucratic apparatus, and to participate in this process I believe is my responsibility. It is also
my honour because of how much I admire the TSSU as an exemplary union which not only
fiercely advocates on behalf of its members but does so warmly with a smile and a laugh.

Yours in solidarity,
Devan Prithipaul

Chief Steward I (1 candidate)

Katie Gravestock

Hello TSSU!  

My name is Katie Gravestock (she/her), and I am running for re-election for the position of Chief Steward I. In my role as Chief Steward over the last year, I have been working hard to ensure that the terms and conditions of the Collective Agreement are enforced.

The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically changed the work of the TSSU Executive and all TSSU members. Health and Safety issues have become even more important. As a result, I have become a member of a local joint health and safety committee at SFU Burnaby, and a member of the Central University Health and Safety Committee. I have been working closely with the TSSU Occupational Health and Safety Commissioner to ensure the health and safety of workers and the entire SFU community is prioritized. 

The pandemic has also meant that, now more than ever, we must safeguard the founding principles of our union — that TSSU is a non-hierarchical, directly democratic, and feminist union. I will continue to uphold these principles as Chief Steward.

I am a fourth year PhD candidate in Geography. Since the beginning of my PhD, I have been an active TSSU member. I have served as a Steward in my Department, and have sat on the Grievance, Anti-Harassment, Finance, Internal Relations, and Contract Committee.

As Chief Steward I, I am the Chair of the Contract Committee. In March, after approximately 13 months of bargaining, the Contract Committee was able to secure a number of improvements for members despite the employer’s repeated attempts to take away a number of our rights. Since February, the Contract Committee has been working diligently to prepare for RA bargaining. Recently, the Contract Committee served noticed to the employer to commence bargaining for Research and Grant Employees (RAs).

I have worked on a number of grievances in the past year at the informal, Step I, and Step II stages where I have learned more about the grievance procedure and how to effectively advocate for the rights of our members. In June, I was also involved in a Mediation for RAs where we won a legally binding order forcing the employer to live up to the terms of the Voluntary Recognition Agreement.

I would love the opportunity to continue in this role for one more term in order to complete the work I have begun. In particular, I would like to see bargaining through for RAs. I would also love to be able to continue working closely with Seamus Bright Grayer (Chief Steward II) and Derek Sahota (our Advocate) to support and advocate for our members. As Chief Steward I, I would continue to fight for the issues our members have identified.

In solidarity,

Katie Gravestock

Organiser II (1 candidate)

Lea Hogan

Hello lovely folks,
      My name is Lea Hogan. I am your current Organizer 2 and, with your support, would love to continue this work moving forward. I’ve been a TA in the School for Communication and Contemporary Arts and I served as a Steward in Contemporary Arts. I’m also a member of the Membership Mobilization Committee (currently facilitating it in my role as Organizer), Contract Committee, OH & S Committee (and chair of the Vancouver Local Joint Health & Safety Committee), SSJC, Grievance, IR, and Finance. Since I’ve joined TSSU, I’ve been interested in learning about the holistic structure and functions of TSSU. The experiences in each committee continues to help me learn and grow not only as an Organizer but as a labour activist and have played a crucial part in helping me guide members when they’re searching for a place that feels right for them in the TSSU Community.

      Before becoming your Organizer, I was actively involved in many of our campaigns. I was one of the many organizers working on the Research is Work campaign for Research Assistants/Grant Employees and our collective effort, alongside all the work of each Research Assistant led to them joining our union. After RAs joined, I helped out with outreach to assist the Union in getting an RA contact list from the employer. As part of a team tasked with this, our organizing efforts, alongside the work of our advocacy team, finally got the list in July so that we could reach out to RAs to find out what they want in their first Collective Agreement. I also helped with the C 19 Coalition with their townhall and streams, alongside helping with the initial planning of what the Coalition represents. I also helped with the log your hours campaign, reaching out to Stewards to ensure they’re checking in with members about their hours alongside making videos about what counts as work and the importance of doing a workload review.  

    Since becoming one of your Organizers, I’ve been helping out on restructuring our Steward’s elections, reaching out to different grad caucuses to discuss the new structure. In addition, we’ve been working on navigating outreach in the pandemic, having trained up members to reach out to members through phonebanking, direct messaging, and emails. As organizers, we need to empower people to make connections with our members and through running MMC, alongside my fellow execs, I have been able to support our members in getting new members involved. In continuing this position, I want to further foster ideas from our membership in making connections with each other and continue to build on remote campaign ideas. I was recently elected as your Organizer 2 at the end of June and I know there is more work that I would love to do with everyone in this role. We are approaching RA bargaining and this will require our collective efforts to secure a strong first Collective Agreement for RAs. As an Organizer, my main goal is to help and support every member in their work and to support the power our membership has collectively to advocate for better working conditions.
     I’m grateful to everyone who has been with me during this journey and I look forward to meeting more members and helping them find a place within our wonderful community in TSSU!

     Forever in solidarity!
Lea Hogan