Grade Release – Oct 28, 2015

SFU Students,

Since we commenced “Marking for Education not Administration” in the summer of 2015, our members have been withholding grades from the University. Over the past 5 months, a team of volunteers has spent countless hours answering thousands of emails and approving hundreds of grade release requests to reduce the impact on students. Through that time, our Contract Committee toiled to reach a Collective Agreement to allow the grades to be released. Our members have been heartened by the tremendous solidarity from individual students, student societies, the Faculty Association and unions from across North America. Due to that solidarity and the strength of our job action, we can now announce all job action has ceased and the strike is over.

On October 21, the SFU Administration signed off on our Contract Committee’s offer to go to binding arbitration as proposed by Vince Ready. On October 27-28, our members voted on this proposal and have agreed to accepting binding arbitration. We still have another 21 days of bargaining before the binding arbitration, and your support is still needed to make that bargaining productive. Please continue to follow our website for information about future demonstrations and rallies.

Following the membership vote, the TSSU Strike Committee instructed members to cease all job action and start the process of releasing grades.

Grades from the Summer semester are currently stored within the SFU Archives and so you should expect it will take several weeks for members to pick up those grades, enter them into the SFU System and have the grades approved by the Department Chair. We thank you for your patience while the tens of thousands of grades are entered. Please refrain from requesting grades directly from your TA/TM or Course Supervisor, as the volume of requests will slow the grade release process.

Grades from the Fall semester are held by the individual instructors and the mechanism for getting the grading information to you is at their discretion and may take several weeks. Again, please refrain from requesting grades directly from your TA/TM or Course Supervisor, as the volume of requests will slow the grade release process. Grades for future assignments and exams are not subject to job action and should occur as normal.

Sincerely,

TSSU Strike Committee

If you need your transcripts for graduate school with a November 1st deadline, we would urge you to do the following:

  1. email urecords@sfu.ca and request a letter to your graduate school of choice explaining the situation
  2. send that letter to your graduate school of choice requesting an extension for submission of your transcript.

SFU has already made a number of exceptions for students. Please see this August 14 document and this August 25 document for some specific cases.

Some further information:

  • The now outdated form for grade release is here
  • All information you provide us is confidential, won’t be used for any other purpose, and will be destroyed at the end of our job action.
  • For information about SFU’s previous contingency plan for grades see this document.
  • For SFU Administration 2015 guidelines on withholding grades, please see this document.
  • You can find previous explanations regarding our decisions on grade release here

77 thoughts on “Grade Release – Oct 28, 2015

  1. It would really help if the cross-ed out sections of this page would be deleted. This looks highly confusing and unprofessional.

  2. Hi,

    I was just wondering if all TA’s are on strike, as one of my courses’ grades are GN. And for that particular course, the TA’s nor Instructor has ever notified us students that they were on strike.

    • Hi Kent,
      All TAs and all Sessional Instructors are currently on strike. It can be hard to tell the difference between a Sessional Instructor (on strike) and a Lecturer or Professor (not on Strike). The best way to find out is to politely ask. You can also receive a grade of “GN” (grades not yet reported) if your Professor has all the grades but has yet to input them. So your best course of action is to ask.

    • It depends on who is teaching your course and marking your work. If its a member of the faculty association, then they are working as normal and there’s no change. If a sessional instructor is teaching your course or a TA marking it, then grades are withheld.

    • In some cases, professors entered marks with only partial grades from the course. In others, the assignments may not have been marked by a TSSU member so they were not withheld. If you have a final grade then there’s no need to appeal.

  3. Hi,
    I was notified just yesterday to submit the required documents to tssu@tssu.ca for grade release for my graduation and I requested a letter from Registrar yesterday night. In the case I do not receive a letter before 4pm today, can I send the screenshot of my student account verifying the grad application status and a form? Please let me know.

    Annie

    • As mentioned in other comments, just submit your application with a screenshot of your email requesting the letter so you make the deadline.

  4. I just submitted my request to TSSU. I did not receive a response from the SFU Registrar so I sent a screen shot of the email I sent them to request the letter.

  5. I did not receive my grade until it gave me a GN today, and now the deadline has passed. Does it mean I would not be able to graduate in October??

    • We’re still hopeful that we’ll get to a collective agreement soon and everyone will get their grades and graduation will proceed as normal. SFU Administration might also have other plans to deal with graduation in the event there is still no agreement when the ceremony comes, but you’d have to ask them about that.

  6. I was not able to submit my email to appeal my grades for graduation by 4:00 today and I need them for the start of PDP in September. I was not aware that there was a deadline with the confusing process that I haven’t had time to sit down and figure out until now. Please let me know what I can do to fix this problem. Thank-you!

  7. Hi,
    I just submitted my request form to the email address that you provided on the webpage. I made it after the deadline since SFU just replied to me. Just wondering if my application will be considered or not? What else can I do? I really need my grades for some purposes. Thanks a lot.

    Charlene

    • Yours was received and categorized and we will get to responding to it. Its in the queue but there’s other more urgent ones still to deal with.

    • You may have a GN mark for several reasons. It could be that your professor just hasn’t finished grading yet and you’ll see a grade appeal in a few more days. It could also be the case that your grade is being withheld as part of the job action. In that case the grades won’t be released until the TSSU and SFU Administration reach a Collective Agreement.

  8. I believe it states on the TSSU update page on sfu.ca that we will be getting grades no matter what. Is this true? Does it mean that the release is being delayed until after an agreement has been reached?

    • You’re probably referring to this statement:
      “Ultimately, all grades will be reported and no student will lose grades or credits as the result of job action.”

      We can’t speak for SFU Administration, but we think what they mean is at some point there will a collective agreement and then all the grades will be released. No one knows when that will occur, but we certainly hope it will be sooner rather than later.

  9. I have been approved about grades release.
    However, two of my Econ classes still GN,
    I called few times they ask me to talk to registry.
    I talked to registry and econ department and even my professors, still have no answer. And very stressed.
    My professor said she uploaded grade a week ago, but I only find GN on SIS. What is the next step should I do to get my grades? I need my grades for post-grad school and visa.

  10. Hi,

    I’ve been reading through previous comments to avoid any repetition but I’m noticing that there are two different emails going back and forth regarding the grades appeal process: tssu@tssu.ca and grades@tssu.ca. Some of my friends have already received confirmation emails but I have yet to hear anything back about the request I sent. Does this mean that I sent it to the wrong email (tssu@tssu.ca) or that you didn’t receive my application/it was somehow incomplete?

    Thanks. (:

    • The right email was grades@tssu.ca, but SFU put the wrong email in their email they sent to everyone. We went through and found all of them that went to the wrong spot and forwarded them to the right spot, so you shouldn’t worry. Yours was received fine.

  11. I submitted a request form with all the appropriate documentation and I haven’t received a response, acknowledgement or otherwise. Are you still responding to submissions?

  12. Hi, I have send an email for declosure of grade around 2 weeks ago, and I still did not get any response from tssu. I checked my grade this morning and see GN as my final grade for my summer course. Should I resend another application to tssu?

  13. So how is withholding grades any benefit to the TSSU strike? Is the goal to use student’s as tools to make them email the corresponding individuals that are in charge of handing the issue and make them side with the strike so that we can receive our grades? If so, I find it hard to believe why anyone would support the strike when it is harming the students. Wouldn’t it make more sense to NOT harm the middle-man? But what do I know, I just have common sense.

    • The unfortunate reality of any strike in the education sector is that its going to have some impact on students. The reason why we’ve chosen to withhold grades, rather than go to picket lines, is because it offers a reduced impact on students while an increased impact on those in charge. A picket line would result in no grades, no classes, and complete cancellation of events such as convocation. SFU Administration is currently expending significant efforts to deal with the impact of not having grades and, in most cases, students with urgent needs (deportation, loss of job, etc) who applied before the deadline received their grades. We hope that soon SFU Administration will decide its easier to just come and negotiate rather than continue to try deal with all the headaches that are being caused. In 2012, we know that’s what eventually brought the Senior Administration to the table in late November, and we hope they won’t wait that long this time.

  14. I had only just received notification about the need to submit a form to request grades. However, the deadline has passed and I need my grades urgently. I understand this process takes time and the form says to allow at least one week. Would there be any way to speed up this process?

    • Even in the most urgent of cases, a week is the bare minimum as the committee must adjudicate the application, then inform the TA/instructor they can release the grades. If a TA has the grades, then the instructor may still have calculate a final grade, then input it into the system. Following that, the department chair has to approve the grades. All of these steps take time and so a week is the overly optimistic best case in an extreme urgent (e.g. deportation) situation. If you’re in a time crunch, you may want to consider sending the letter you get from urecords@sfu.ca to the organization in question to see if they will extend your deadline. We’ve found that many universities are accepting the letter and giving extensions.

  15. I’m worried about one of my classes being on the line for passing (and unsure as to whether I need to be re-registering for another class), as well as another class where I know the instructor has gone to do work in another country as of last week. I am supposed to be graduating in October so you can see my concern. It’s been just barely a week, but this is really getting me worried as we get closer to Sept 8.

  16. Hi there,

    I completely missed all communications. Work/non school brain mode. Should I wait until the strike reaches positive terms for the strike? WHAT DO I DO?

    Michelle

    • The quickest way to get your grades at this point, is for TSSU and SFU to get a contract. The main impediment at this point is that SFU Administration needs to be convinced to come and bargain. At the moment, they’re continuing to just send their HR Directors to bargain, and they are completely unwilling and unprepared to do the hard work of getting a deal. The SFU Administrator in charge is VP Academic Jon Driver – driver@sfu.ca. In 2012, we got to a deal within 48 hours of Jon Driver coming to the table.

  17. Dear TSSU,
    There are a lot of undergraduates out there whom are in need of their grades. We all understand the situation but then again, we need our grades in order to graduate on time. All of us has plan after graduation and for many of us, convocation means a lot and it symbolizes our accomplishments. I do not think it is fair that TSSU has to face what its facing right now, but it is also unfair for the students that are affected. I really hope our grades can be released as soon as possible. Thank you all for reading over this and I really hope you guys can understand where students are coming from as well.

    • Hi Michael,

      Like you, we’re hoping for a swift end to this strike, and for SFU Administration to deal with our core issues at the bargaining table. This is why we are still at the bargaining table, and why we went through a full year of SFU Administration’s stalling at the bargaining table before affecting students. This is also why we did not go to picket lines sooner, and why we try as much as possible to minimize the hardship students face because of our strike action. Many of our members are students as well as educators, so we don’t undertake these actions lightly.

      However, our working conditions are your learning conditions. As workers, we do not have the power of a multi-million dollar Administrative budget that we can mobilize; instead, we have our work, and the power to withhold that work from our employer, SFU Administration. The work we do for them provides a service to you, so that strike affects you. Unfortunately, they won’t bargain with us otherwise. In the TSSU’s history, we have had to call a strike vote every time we bargained for a new contract, because without that pressure, SFU Administration would not address our concerns.

      The changes to our contract that we are striking over are basic provisions like health and safety training, being paid on time, and job security for instructors who have worked at SFU for years (but must still reapply for work every four months).

      Now that VP-Academic Jon Driver has taken over as the spokesperson for SFU Administration, we hope that SFU Administration will address our concerns and this strike will end soon.

  18. I have been away and was unable to submit my appeal for grade release under the ridiculously short deadline given. I just completed the PLP and have been hired as a Teacher on Call by SD43 (Coquitlam). Today I was offered a contract to teach 3 days a week. The District Principal of Coquitlam informed me that I can only teach 20 days without my certification. If My grades are not released, and I am not recommended by SFU for certification through the Teacher a Regulation Branch, I will lose my contract and will potentially be terminated. This is unacceptable. What can be done in my situation?

    • Hi Sue,
      The appeals process was put online in the middle of June and available since then, its unfortunate that SFU chose not to send out the link until the last minute but completely out of our control. As you’ve noted, you do have 20 days of teaching, which at 3 days a week should take you almost until the end of October. We’re still in mediation this week and certainly hope to have a deal well before October. In order to get to a deal, we will need SFU Administration to decide to come and bargain. At the moment, they’re continuing to just send their HR Directors to bargain, and they are completely unwilling and unprepared to do the hard work of getting a deal. The SFU Administrator in charge is VP Academic Jon Driver – driver@sfu.ca. In 2012, we got to a deal within 48 hours of Jon Driver coming to the table, which could happen with plenty of time for you to get your certificate in time.

  19. Hi there,

    I am supposed to be graduating in October and I just got a letter from the TSSU saying that my appeal has been denied. It also states that I am able to graduate with GN on my transcript but I am a little confused and need some clarification. In the letter it states: An internal document sent to all Department Chairs, Deans, etc on August 24th, specifies that: Students who have GN grades and do not make the recommendation to the September Senate meeting (September 14 2015) will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis for executive action.
    Does this mean that I personally have to go to the meeting on September 14th to make a recommendation for me to graduate. What recommendation am I supposed to make for executive action> More clarification would be nice. Thank you.

  20. Hello, I discovered too late that I could put an appeal.
    I am starting working at school on Tuesday, I still don’t have my Bachelor, neither my Teaching Certificate, nor my teaching license. I finally got through all those courses after all those years, but now It is in the air somewhere and I can’t have my papers!
    Is there anything I can do to avoid losing my job?
    Thank you for your answer

  21. Is anything happening at the moment? I need my grades for graduate school and the deadline is approaching quickly. I was told I cannot use the appeal process because I am not at risk of being deported… I emailed the VP a week ago

    • Hi Ash,

      We’ve just posted an update which has important information about a pathway that would get everyone’s grades released within a few days, you can read that update here: http://bargaining.tssu.ca/pathway-to-settlement/.

      In short, Vince Ready has proposed a binding arbitration process called “Final Offer Selection” which would end the strike. TSSU’s Contract Committee is prepared to recommend this process to our members (they must vote on it) which, once also accepted by the employer would end the strike and get your grades back. SFU didn’t accept Vince Ready’s proposal, and has instead proposed their own process which our Contract Committee has some significant concerns about.

      At the moment we don’t have an update on the grade appeals process because we think the best route forward is to get SFU Admin to accept Vince Ready’s expertise and knowledge and agree to his proposal as he wrote it. We understand you’ve already emailed Dr. Driver, which is great, so we would also encourage you to get your friends to do it as well. We’d also encourage you to keep watching this page for updates.

  22. I applied for my grades to be released for graduation back in August and the request was denied. I understand the reasoning because I can still graduate. However, I am a teacher and have completed my PB+15 diploma through SFU, and the TQS requires my full transcript with all letter grades in order to acknowledge my new teaching category. It is affecting my job, placement and salary increase. The TQS has provided me with the letter stating that they will not do anything about my category change until they get my completed transcript with letter grades. As a student, I am stuck in the middle of negotiations with SFU and TSSU and this strike should not be affecting my career in such a manner. Please advise me what to do, as I am in a time crunch now and have to meet the TQS deadlines for my salary increase.

  23. I’m confused as to why I’m being punished, and other students, by not getting my grades when the problem is not with me and I’ve done nothing wrong.

    • We’ve been trying to negotiate a new contract with SFU for 18 months. For the first 12 months, we continued to do our work as normal and the Administration refused to negotiate or even discuss any of our issues with us. After 12 months of that, our members decided to take a strike vote and commence job action.

      Since we’re teachers, any job action we take will have an impact on students. We’ve chosen to withhold grades, rather than engage in full picket lines, because it allows us to keep working and keep providing education but still have a significant impact on the administration. We’ve already heard the administration complain about the hundreds of hours of overtime they’ve put in plus the thousands of emails they have to deal with. And this pressure from withholding grades has a significant effect on negotiations. Since we started job action the Administration has agreed (but not sign off on) some significant fixes to the childcare bursary and also brought the VP Academic to come to the table as Chief Spokesperson. We haven’t gotten to a deal yet, but we’re far closer to a deal than we were before we started job action.

      We’d rather be working as normal and providing grades to everyone, but we also need to settle this dispute. There’s two ways this ends and the impact on students stops: 1) SFU Admin agrees to Vince Ready’s binding arbitration and then the strike ends or 2) we get back to the table and negotiate a settlement.

      TSSU is more than willing to get a solution in the near future using either of these routes, but we need the SFU Administration to do the same.

  24. Hi,
    what do you mean by “several weeks”?! It’s students right to know the exact date and time…it’s better to set a deadline

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