EGSA Constitution

The Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Graduate Student Association (EGSA) represents the graduate students across all three University of Toronto campuses and the Royal Ontario Museum in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (EEB).

EGSA Membership

The entire EEB graduate student body shall be members of the EGSA and shall be represented by an elected executive body called the EGSA Executive Committee.

Mission Statement

The purpose of the EGSA Executive Committee shall be:

I.            To create unity among the graduate students of the EEB Department

II.            To promote dialogue between the graduate students within the EEB Department, and with the graduate students in our sister department, the Department of Cell and Systems Biology

III.            To act as a liaison between the graduate students and departmental staff for discussions, planning, and general communication

IV.            To represent the graduate student perspective on issues that will directly impact their graduate school experience, such as funding, hiring, and space allocation

V.            To keep the graduate students informed about events in the EEB Department, both intra-curricular and extra-curricular, particularly events that directly concern them

VI.            To assist in the planning of social, recreational, and other events in the EEB Department

  1. To participate in and encourage any activity which will further these aims and enrich the graduate student experience as a whole

EGSA Executive Committee

The EGSA Executive Committee shall be comprised of one President or two Co-Presidents, one Secretary, one Treasurer, one Graduate Student Union (GSU) Representative, one CUPE Representative, two Ombudspersons (one male, one female). These positions are to be elected for one calendar year, and must be filled by current EEB graduate students.

The EGSA President or Co-Presidents must be elected. If two or more EEB graduate students are nominated to the position of the President of the EGSA, they can either (a) run against each other in the subsequent election, or (b) chose to share the position and run to be elected as Co-Presidents. The Treasurer, GSU Representative, CUPE Representative, and Ombudspersons may be appointed by the President or Co-Presidents if:

I.            No EGSA members are nominated for this position, and

II.            No EGSA members oppose the appointment. (If there is opposition, then an election must be held for the position.)

Executive officers may be recalled by two-thirds majority of the student body.

The EGSA Executive Committee shall meet at frequent intervals through the year, as found necessary.

The duties of the members of the EGSA Executive Committee shall be:

1. Presidents or Co-Presidents

  • Organize(s) and chair(s) the EGSA meetings
  • Ensures that all EGSA meetings are advertised at least four days in advance to all EGSA members
  • Act(s) as principal liaison between the EGSA and the departmental administration and faculty
  • Organize(s) the annual EGSA elections
  • Help(s) organize and coordinate all EGSA activities
  • Have/has signing authority along with the Treasurer (the signature of the Presidents or one of the Co-Presidents and the Treasurer are mandatory for legitimate signing authority)
  • Ensure(s) that all EGSA members are informed of all EGSA activities through meetings and email correspondence

2. Treasurer

  • Ensures that all EGSA money is deposited in the EGSA bank account
  • Ensures that petty cash is balanced and accounted for
  • Has signing authority along with the President or Co-Presidents
  • Presents budget proposals at the EGSA general meetings, to be approved by the majority (51%) of a quorum assembly of the EGSA
  • Presents an annual financial statement at the end of his/her term of the membership

3. Secretary

  • Keeps written minutes for EGSA meetings
  • Sends minutes to EEB graduate students following EGSA meetings
  • Assists with organizing EGSA and departmental events
  • Attends faculty meetings, when necessary

4. GSU Representative(s)

  • Attends the monthly GSU meetings
  • Keeps the EGSA membership informed of GSU issues and developments through EGSA meetings and email correspondence

5. CUPE Representatives

  • Attends the CUPE union meetings
  • Keeps the EGSA membership informed of CUPE issues and developments through EGSA meetings and email correspondence

6. Ombudspersons (one male, one female)

  • Contact person for students who wish to confidentially address a serious conflict between him/her and his/her supervisor, fellow lab member, or other member of the department
  • Confidentially help the student obtain support from appropriate groups, such as the EEB Graduate Coordinator, SGS, CUPE3202, GSU, etc., as required

7.  ROM, UTM & UTSC Representatives

  • Link to co-presidents and social representatives on campus activities
  • Help to plan, organize, and advertise tri-campus social events
  • Help to organize student seminars
  • Help to provide connectivity between the campuses via video-conferencing
  • Encourage intra-departmental interaction, especially among new students

8. Social Representatives

  • Helps to plan and organize departmental parties with co-presidents
  • Plans, organizes, and advertises monthly social events
  • Coordinates parties and social events with those occurring in the EEB department, and help to plan, organize and advertise cross-departmental social events, as necessary
  • Attends GSU sports meetings, and organize sports teams and events, as desired by the EGSA membership

9.  Information Technologies Representative(s)

  • Updates the EGSA webpage, as required
  • Attends Information Technology Committee meetings
  • Answers students IT-related questions

10. Fundraising Representative(s)

  • Organizes EGSA fundraising activities, particularly Holiday Charity Raffle
  • Assists Interdepartmental Representatives in planning and organizing cross-departmental fundraising initiatives

11. Graduate Studies Representative(s)

  • Attends and represents the interests of graduate students at departmental Graduate Studies Committee meetings.
  • Keeps the EGSA membership informed of issues and developments regarding graduate funding, course requirements, conference funding, caps on graduate student numbers, via EGSA meetings and email correspondence
  • Informs the EGSA membership of helpful academic resources outside of EEB (e.g., SGS workshops)
  • Attends departmental space committee meetings pertaining to graduate student space, and voices popular opinion of graduate student body for space needs
  • Provides graduate student with general meeting minutes

12. Health and Safety Representative(s)

  • Attends annual departmental safety meeting and reports
  • Organizes annual departmental safety meeting

13. Undergraduate Affairs Representative

  • Attend meetings of Undergraduate Affairs Committee (about six 1.5-hour meetings Sept to Apr; three each in fall and winter terms)
  • Provide student input on undergraduate issues such as courses, programs, policies and procedures.

Departmental Seminar Representatives

If a graduate student representative is needed on a departmental committee, ad hoc representative positions can be created for up to one year. New standing representative positions must be created via Constitutional Amendment.

General Meetings

General meetings shall be held:

I.            Monthly from September through April, with at least one weeks notice to EGSA members

II.            At times and locations convenient to EGSA members, determined by the members of the EGSA Executive Committee

Quorum shall consist of 15% of the EGSA members or 20 members, whichever is the lesser. Voting majority shall be defined as 51% or more of the EGSA members present.


EGSA elections will be called by the EGSA President or Co-Presidents in April of each year. Here is a summary of the elections process:

I.            Survey nominees (one week period)

II.            Prepare list of nominees – inform nominees (if a nominee feels extremely strongly against being in the voting stage, they can send an email to the current President or Co-Presidents to withdraw – however, at this stage, the President or Co-Presidents will not be approaching each individual nominee and asking if they would like to proceed/withdraw)

III.            Survey for vote on nominees (one week period)

IV.            Approach those with highest number of votes moving down the list until the position is filled

All EGSA members are eligible to be nominated for any elected position. Nominations and elections shall be held by online secret ballot, with details accessible only by the EGSA President or Co-Presidents. Additional details of the election process can be found in the document EGSA Elections Constitutional Amendment (please contact the EGSA President or Co-Presidents for this document).

Atwood Lecturer Selection

All graduate students are able to nominate potential speakers (any senior scientist in the field of ecology and evolution) to the Atwood Lecturer Committee Chair(s) and/or the EGSA President or Co-Presidents. Nominations should be accompanied with a short description of the candidate and why they would make a good Atwood Lecturer.

The Atwood Lecturer selection process involves appointment of an Atwood search committee (6-8 members, voluntary appointment) to vet the nominated candidates.

The following is a list of criteria developed and used by the selection committee to generate the Atwood shortlist. For each nominee, the committee considers:

I.            Seminar delivery quality

II.            Whether she/he was easy to talk to, in student meetings and otherwise

III.            General appeal to both ecologists and evolutionary biologists

IV.            Whether she/he was actively publishing

V.            Major academic awards

VI.            Authorship of scholarly books

  1. Citation record
  2. Seniority and perspective

IX.            Whether the nominee recently gave a talk to our department

This will lead to a shortlist of candidates and their associated career profiles. Then all graduate students will then be asked to vote for their favourite candidate from the search committee’s shortlist.

The issue of gender quality in selecting the Atwood Lecturer shall be raised each year prior to the selection process. Current EGSA members shall determine how to proceed in rectifying potential gender-bias annually.


The EGSA funds, which include a head grant from the GSU and profits from fundraising activities, shall be used only in a manner that benefits the majority of the EEB graduate students, according to the discretion of the EGSA and subject to its approval. Should the EGSA at any time cease to exist, the future of funds shall be decided upon at a general meeting. Any corruption discovered in the EGSA will result in immediate elimination of the entire EGSA Executive Committee and the calling of elections of a new EGSA Executive Committee.

Constitutional Amendment

The constitution of the EGSA may be amended at any time by a two-thirds majority of the EGSA members attending a general meeting. Any changes to the constitution must be reported to the GSU for ratification. Both amendments and ratification can be processed through email, as long as all correspondences are forwarded to the EGSA Executive Committee.

Written: March 1, 2006

Last Amended: September 7, 2010

search previous next tag category expand menu location phone mail time cart zoom edit close