GSEF Constitutional Referendum

Two students walking in a the Peter Russell rock garden

Results of the 2021 Referendum

86.27% of votes were in favour of the constitutional amendments, while 13.73% of votes were against.

Overall, the 2/3 majority was exceeded, and the vote passed.

The University of Waterloo Board of Governors approved the proposed amendments to the Constitution on June 1, 2021.

Referendum Question

The GSEF Board of Directors has recommended amendments of GSEF's constitution. 

The following question will be presented to graduate students for approval: Do you support GSEF's constitutional amendments?

The referendum took place via online ballot from 8:30 AM EST on MAY 17, 2021 to 8:30 AM EST on MAY 20, 2021.  All graduate students were eligible to vote and were only permitted to vote once. 

If you have any questions about the proposed amendments, please email

Summary of Changes

GSEF has been in existence since 2001/2002 and works to improve the graduate student experience at the University of Waterloo through

  • Funding student-led projects such as social events, departmental improvements, academic events, etc.
  • In partnership with the GSPA, provide funding to students to attend (in-person or virtual) conferences and professional development events.
  • Engage with campus stakeholders to improve the overall academic and social wellbeing of graduate students.

GSEF’s Constitution provides its operational framework. The previous Constitutional referendum occurred in 2012. Over the past several years, GSEF has grown as the size of the graduate student body has also grown. To improve the efficiency and long-term sustainability of GSEF, its Board of Directors have proposed several amendments to the GSEF Constitution, which require ratification by students to take effect. Here is a summary of the changes proposed:

  • Overall reorganization and consolidation of the Constitution from 28 sections to 10 sections, thereby improving its readability and flow
  • Moved operational items to the Board Policies in order to provide nimbleness and flexibility of GSEF as it adjusts to ongoing student needs
  • Clarifying the goals of GSEF
  • Introducing the new position of Vice-Coordinator to assist the Coordinator with their duties and improve GSEF’s institutional memory (the terms of the Coordinator and Vice-Coordinator are designed to overlap)
  • Adding an additional alumni position to the Board of Directors
  • Introducing committees of the Board: Long-Range Planning Committee, ad hoc committees

Supporting documents

What happens after the referendum?

As per Section 16 of the 2012 Constitution of GSEF, any Constitutional amendment requires a 2/3 majority of voting GSEF members in a referendum. As per Section 28.4 of the 2012 Constitution, in counting votes, the total number of YES votes shall be compared to the total number of YES votes plus NO votes, in determining whether the required threshold has been reached. Declined votes and spoiled votes have no effect. If voting passes, then as per Section 16 of the 2012 Constitution of GSEF, the Constitutional amendments must be approved by the University Board of Governors before becoming effective. A copy of the proposed Constitution will be provided to them, explicitly indicating which sections have been added, reworded, and removed (as indicated in the second supporting document).