Student Union

The WGSI GSU is an active course union enrolled in the University of Toronto Graduate Students’ Union (UTGSU). The UTGSU provides health and dental insurance, conference bursaries and other resources. Find more information on their homepage.

Students enrolled in a graduate program at the WGSI are welcome to join our course’s Graduate Student Union (GSU).

The GSU and UTGSU are different than CUPE 3902, which represents contract academic workers including Teaching Assistants and Course Instructors.

WGSI GSU Executive Team

Students are elected to act as representatives of the Graduate Student Union (GSU). GSU representatives work with the Graduate Administrator to plan academic events and act as a source of information and support for students.

The WGSI GSU’s 2019-2020 executive team can be contacted individually or through the course union’s email:

Chair: Sam Sanchinel

Hello everyone!   

I’m a second-year PhD student, right in the middle of comprehensives, doing work in trans studies. Originally from the Jane and Finch neighbourhood, I completed my BA and MA at York University in the Humanities. My pronouns are they/them!  

As Chair, my main aim would be toward further developing our WGS community, which is especially important given our current covid year. In previous roles as the WGSI Department Steward to CUPE 3902 and a member of the conference committee, I’ve come to learn the ins and outs of union support and member engagement.   

In following the steps of the previous executive, and part of this community building, is the goal toward academic and professional development and greater access to supports. Recognizing many of us aren’t Toronto based this year, and the feelings of isolation are higher than before, it’s important to push for having our voices heard in our department, with faculty, and the larger graduate community at UofT, with support and opportunities being provided to the members of our student union. As such, as chair I would strive toward providing representation for all our members.  

Interim Co-Chair: Binta Bajaha  

It is me again! As a second year PhD student, I will continue supporting the WGSI-GSU in the capacity of co-chair. We understand the difficulties of getting our new MA students in taking over the role amidst such an unprecedented year. However, the show must go on! As Co-Chair, my role will be to engage with the MA students and support the Chair in all other GSU activities that we have planned for the coming year.  

Communication Officer: Darlyne Bautista 

Hi there! I am a second year PhD Student in WGSI. My research interests include Transnational Affect, Labour Migration, and Southeast Asia (Philippines). I played a supporting role in the WGSI GSU inaugural year as media support. This year I will be the Communication Officer, a role that has transformed to match the times we are in.   

Treasurer: Esra Kazanbas  

Hello. I am a PhD student and a Connaught Scholar at The Women & Gender Studies Institute, University of Toronto. I earned my master’s degree from the University of Alberta and bachelor’s degree from Bogazici University, Istanbul. My areas of interest include biopolitics, violence, transnational feminism, spatial theory and feminist movements. As the treasurer of the union, I will continue work to ensure students are centred in the financial matters of the GSU.  

Secretary: Ferdie Lopez  

As a third year PhD student, I work on Transpacific Queer Sexuality. She is an international student from the Philippines. I have my BA and MA in Literature from the University of Santo Tomas, where I was a tenured faculty in Literary, Media, and Cultural Studies. As Secretary, my primary task will be to assist the WGSI-GSU in their official undertakings and ensure minutes of meetings are taken, updated and shared. 

Collaborative Representative: Keira Mayo 

I am a second year PhD student at the Centre for Drama, Theatre, and Performance Studies in collaboration with the Women and Gender Studies Institute. My research examines how white supremacy is built into the structure, practice, and rhetoric of theatrical improvisation, or improv. The happy kin of dog-like cat, Baloo, I’m an amateur painter, former gymnast, and digital zine co-currator. I like all things soft: ice cream, music, blankets, hearts, words.