Currently, Post-doctoral fellows, students who have completed PhD programs and are now directly contributing to academic research, exist in a precarious limbo here at McGill. Classified as students by the Quebec government, they don’t receive the benefits of staff members. However, they are also not entitled to a package of student services that most members of the Students Society of McGill University (SSMU) and the Post-Graduate Students’ Society (PGSS) take for granted, including the McGill Health Clinic, Mental Health Services, Counseling, and Career Planning Services, just to name a few.
A PGSS referendum for post-doctoral students to opt into paying the Student Services Fee, $138.46 a semester will be open for voting between Nov. 4 and Nov 8, inclusive. While individuals can already opt into the fee individually in person, proponents of a “Yes” vote say that post-doctoral fellows being in the system as a bloc will allow them to negotiate for services tailored to their highly unique needs.
The Tribune endorses a “Yes” vote on this question. Post-doctoral students make substantial contributons to McGill, especially through their work on research projects, yet are in a seeming gap in the system, recognized as neither students nor employees, despite performing the roles of both. This fee, which would be non-opt outable in the event of a “Yes” vote, gives access to a vast array of services that will improve the lives of the post-doctoral students on our campus.
Full disclosure: the Tribune Publication Society (TPS) is also running a fee levy question in this referendum period. Adrien Hu, Steven Lampert, and Carolina Millán Ronchetti are on the TPS ‘Yes’ committee.