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GSC discusses fees, insurance

Wednesday’s Graduate Student Council (GSC) meeting saw advisory votes for several special fees groups and discussion of recent changes in Cardinal Care for international students.

GSC members cast their advisory votes to indicate whether or not they supported the budgets of joint special fees groups that petitioned to get on the ballot. After heated debate, members voted unanimously to indicate support for Sunday FLiCKS and the Legal Counseling Office on the ballot.

The other four groups received more criticism before the votes were in. Both Stanford Club Sports and Stanford Outdoors were supported 10-2, while the ASSU Speakers Bureau was supported 10-0, with two members abstaining.

The final group, Pacific Free Clinic, underwent more scrutiny from several GSC members.

“I’m not against doing good things for other people, but just a month or a week ago, we were getting mad at [ASSU President] David [Gobaud] funding $500 for a Haiti relief czar, and now we’re going to give $33,000 of student fees to the community,” said School of Education representative Jon McNaughtan, a first-year graduate student in education. “You know, that makes me a little nervous.”

Debate arose about whether or not student fees should support charity.

“I just don’t think it’s appropriate for students to be paying special fees for a public interest,” said engineering district representative Addy Satija, and a third-year graduate student in energy resources engineering.

Council members concluded with a vote of six in favor and six against. None abstained.

Council members involved in international students’ efforts to create an exemption for the newly instituted policy of mandatory Cardinal Care announced that changes have been discussed with Vaden representatives.

Plans to establish exception criteria or to evaluate international insurances case-by-case are on the horizon, according to GSC co-chair Nanna Notthoff, a second-year graduate student in psychology.

More updates and announcements in response to the insurance backlash will be posted to the Vaden Web site later this week, she said.

The council also passed a bill that clarified the process of budget interviews for joint special fees groups for upcoming years.

“It’s to guarantee that next year, things will go very smoothly,” said Funding Committee Chair Ping Li, a business student.

Additionally, the council approved a bill to clarify the process for ASSU executives to create cabinet positions and a bill dealing with funding between the two political bodies.

According to the new amendments, the Senate will take care of funding for events with more than 70 percent undergraduate attendance, while the GSC will take care of funding for events with more than 70 percent graduate attendance. Events that are in neither category will be decided on a case-by-case basis.

The council also discussed plans to increase voter turnout.

According to Assistant Elections Commissioner Mary van der Hoven, a doctoral student in earth sciences, graduate student voter turnouts were at a low last year.

“Last year, most schools’ or departments’ voter turnouts, besides the School of Earth Sciences, had decreased by nearly 20 percent or more,” she said.

The council raised a proposal to fund happy hours and parties to attract graduate students during election days. Van der Hoven said she plans to recruit a slew of students to organize these events around departments and schools.

Elections Commissioner Quinn Slack ’11 will seek volunteers to staff polling stations.

In an ASSU update, ASSU President David Gobaud, a coterminal student in computer science, reported that 1,500 people attended the ASSU-sponsored Steven Chu speaker event last quarter and that Haiti relief efforts have resulted in fundraising of more than $400,000.

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