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Student Government

College Councils

Student or college governments take different forms in each of the colleges but have the same general goal - to serve their student members using the funds that are available to them each year and to represent their interests in a variety of dealings with the University Faculties, service offices and departments, both academic and administrative.

York Federation of Students/Fédération des Étudiant(e)s de York (YFS/FÉY)

The York Federation of Students is dedicated to the representation and support of the student movement at York University. It is a democratic, non-profit, service-oriented organization committed to working towards a university environment wherein members of the Federation (all undergraduate students) can pursue academic excellence as well as personal and social growth free from all forms of discrimination and harassment.

The Federation is committed to universally accessible postsecondary education and rejects all impediments to postsecondary education including, but not limited to, financial constraints through tuition fees, residence costs, streaming and discrimination based upon gender, race, sexual orientation, class, religion, colour, ethnicity, nationality, geographic location, state of health or age.

In its quest, the Federation strives for the highest quality of postsecondary education available. It supports student organizations, on and off campus, which promotes its stated principle.

The Federation offers many services, including a health plan, a course evaluation guide, a student datebook, a courtesy phone, 5˘ photocopies, and free International Student Identity Cards and Student Saver Cards.

The Federation is located in Room 336 in the Student Centre, 416-7365324. Come and visit for more information.

Other Student Governments

There are 16 recognized student governments within the York University community: 14 within the colleges and Faculties of the University and a "federation" - York Federation of Students/Fédération des étudiant(e)s de York - which is a central student government consisting of all students in the Faculties of Arts, Fine Arts, Education, and Pure and Applied Science and undergraduates of the Schulich School of Business as full members. Students of Glendon College and Atkinson Faculty of Liberal and Professional Studies are associate members. These latter units, as well as the Faculty of Education, the Faculty of Fine Arts, and the Legal and Literary Society (Osgoode) also have their own student governments. In addition, at the graduate level the student governments are the Graduate Students Association, the Graduate Business Council, and the Graduate Environmental Studies Students Association. Each of these organizations receives an annual levy of between $11 and $57 per member to finance its activities and programs. Student societies receive over one million dollars of support in this way. Annual elections within each unit provide the executive officer group which is responsible for the administration and accounting for these funds. Many of these organizations publish newspapers and newsletters to inform their members about their services and programs.

Eleven student organizations receive operating grants annually: Excalibur Publications, CHRY North York Community Radio, the Community and Legal Aid Services Program (CLASP), ProTem, Theatre Glendon, OPIRG (refundable), Glendon Women's Centre, York Women's Centre (refundable), the Atkinson Essay Service (Atkinson students only), Cafe de la Terrasse (Glendon students only), SASSL (refundable), and WUSC (refundable) in the amount of $4, $4.50, $1.50, $3, $2, $3, $6, $3, $4.50, $13.50, $2.10, and $0.90 per full-time member respectively. These organizations are subject to the same financial reporting requirements as student governments.

Constitutions and financial reports of these councils are public documents and are available through the Office of Student Affairs, or the office of the individual council.

Student Representation on University Committees

The participation of students in the governance of the University is an important element in effective decision making and policy development at York University. Students are entitled to participate as full voting members on the Board of Governors, the University Senate, Faculty Councils and other bodies. The system of governance established by the York University Act is bicameral, with two central governing bodies: the Board of Governors and the Senate. Decision-making powers are divided and/or shared among the Chancellor, the President, the Board and the Senate and some of these powers are delegated to or shared with other bodies.

The Board of Governors. The Board of Governors is vested by the York Act with authority for the "government, conduct, management and control of the University and of its property, revenues, expenditures, business and affairs". The Board consists of 30 members in addition to the President and the Chancellor. There are two designated seats on the Board for students. By agreement of the Board and the Student Senator Caucus, the selection of one student nominee each year has been done through a process of popular election among registered York University students, usually held in the Spring. Upon election, the student's nomination must be confirmed by the Student Senator Caucus and recommended to the Board. The term of office is two years. The Board conducts much of its business through committees such as the Finance, Property and Staff Resources Committee, the Academic Resources Committee, the Audit Committee, the Student Relations Committee, the Investment Committee and the University Advancement Committee.

The Senate. The Senate is responsible for the academic policy of the University, including the recommendation to establish new Faculties and Colleges, admission standards, student aid policies, the establishment of degrees and diplomas and the structure and content of all academic programs. It is composed of the Chancellor, the President, the Chair and representatives of the Board of Governors, Vice-Presidents, Deans, Department Chairs and elected faculty members from each Faculty with some representation from other groups both inside and outside the University. Students are elected to the Senate through their Faculty Councils and in numbers which reflect the relative size of the Faculty in the University. Student representation on Senate constitutes 15 per cent of the total number of Senate seats and elections are conducted each March. Students are represented on all Senate committees, examples of which include Executive; Tenure and Promotion; Senate Appeals; Academic Policy and Planning; Curriculum and Academic Standards; Library; Admissions, Recruitment and Student Assistance; and Research.

Faculty Councils. York University consists of 10 Faculties and each has a Faculty Council which is responsible for making decisions on the variety of matters affecting the curriculum and academic policies of the Faculty. Each Faculty Council is a committee of Senate and has, in turn, a number of council committees on which students sit as members. More details on the specific structure and student participation in a Faculty Council may be obtained through the office of the secretary of the Council in your Faculty.

The Council of Masters. One student is named by the combined college councils to join the Council of Masters.

Other Advisory Committees. There are a number of university departments and services which receive advice and recommendations throughout each year from advisory committees on which students have a voice. The precise mechanisms whereby students may join these committees varies and further information about membership and terms of reference may be obtained from the office named in brackets after the advisory committee.

  • Athletics and Recreation (Director, School of Kinesiology and Health Science)
  • Board of Referendum Commissioners (Office of the Assistant Vice-President, Student Affairs)
  • University Food Services Committee (Food, Beverage and Hospitality Services)
  • Residence Budget Committee (Student Housing Services)
  • Presidential Advisory Committee on Parking (Security and Parking Services)
  • Arboretum Committee (Facilities, Planning and Management)
  • Student Security (Security and Safety Services)
  • Advisory Committee for Persons with Special Needs (Office of the Assistant Vice-President, Student Affairs)
  • York University Development Corporation (Office of the York University Development Corporation)
  • Presidential Committee on the Administration of the York University Smoking Policy (Department of Occupational Health and Safety)
  • Advisory Council on Child Care Services (Office of the Vice-President, Finance and Administration)
  • Presidential Advisory Committee on H.I.V. Infection (Office of the Assistant Vice-President, Student Affairs)
  • Committee on Alcohol (Office of the Assistant Vice-President, Student Affairs)

Other Participation. Students also are entitled to participate on decision-making or advisory bodies at other levels in the University, e.g. in individual academic departments, most of which have formal Departmental Councils consisting of faculty and students. As well, students are entitled to membership on residence councils and on committees established by their College or Faculty-based student government.

General questions about student participation in university governance should be directed to the University Secretariat.


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