SIC advocates for equity grants in upcoming referendum

New optional fees to support equity-seeking students on campus 

Journal File Photo
The Social Issues Commission (SIC) is seeking to establish three equity grants  in the upcoming AMS winter referendum.
The three optional student fees seeking establishment are the Equity Grants fee, Mutual Aid Alliance fee, and Gender Affirming Assistance Project fee. 
“[The Equity Grants Fee] definitely become a grant that a lot of clubs have relied on to fund their work because, for clubs, it’s really hard to get funding,” Samara Lijiam, SIC Commissioner, said in an interview with The Journal.
“Those are grants that the SIC hands out every year, and any equity clubs on campus that are doing equity work can apply for it.”
The Mutual Aid Alliance fee was first proposed after the pandemic began to address gaps in emergency bursaries. 
“A lot of students were in really financially precarious situations,” Lijiam said.
“We really saw the need for an accessible bursary for students.” 
The Gender Affirming Assistance Project was created in 2021.
“It’s a program that provides resources and funding for trans students to take away the financial barriers that come with transition,” Lijiam said. 
She explained this fee will provide financial support for students seeking name changes, chest binders, or any other resources involved in their transitioning process.  
Lijiam noted that all three fees are a “joint project” with Levana Gender Advocacy Centre.
While equity resources are provided on campus through events such as “paint night” and Cares Week, Lijiam said these supports are often intangible. 
“The things that students need most are material resources or money—that’s often the hardest thing” she said.
Lijiam wants to ensure the fees are sustainable as well as accessible.
She emphasized that all fees are going “straight back to the students.” 
“I think that the equity community at Queen’s is bigger than it ever has been, we have more resources that we ever have,” she said. “So, we really do need more funding to be able to meet those needs.”

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