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New grad council wraps funding bylaws

The first meeting of the new Graduate Student Council (GSC) kicked off Wednesday evening with voting on funding committee bylaw updates and the filling of more officer positions.

After seeing the latest changes to funding committee bylaw updates, GSC members passed the new bylaws 13-0. The 2009-10 GSC debated bylaw changes extensively during the past three weeks, producing the final product that was presented and approved yesterday evening.

The updates include: a classification of fundraisers as normal events rather than community service; new spending caps on food per student; and a more thorough outline of what the funding committee plans to fund for student groups.

Academic seminars not of “broad interest” will not be covered by the GSC, but redirected to academic departments.

Funding Committee Chair Krystal St. Julien, a graduate student in biochemistry, said the list of changes was also e-mailed to student group financial officers and presidents. However, no one responded to her e-mail with questions or concerns.

“I got zero feedback,” St. Julien said.

The final copy of the new bylaws will be posted on the GSC website for students to view.

School of Law representative Evan Berquist, a law student, was sworn in, filling the last voting member spot on the council.

Berquist was also considered for the position of parliamentarian, though deciding not to commit until he understood the job responsibilities. Additionally, Xi Cheng, a first-year graduate student in mechanical engineering, was selected as webmaster for the upcoming year.

St. Julien chose Erik Lehnert, a third-year graduate student in genetics, as the deputy funding committee chair. The deputy chair traditionally becomes the chair of the committee in the subsequent year.

The positions of equipment master, funding committee auditor, family issues advocacy committee chair and stipends advocacy committee chair have yet to be filled.

Council members also debated how best to publicize events to graduate students after falling 300 tickets short for graduate formal. Seven hundred students have signed up for the formal, scheduled for this Saturday.

The council considered the idea of creating an all-graduate student e-mail list, but Adam Beberg, a doctoral candidate in computer science, spot down the proposal, claiming there was already such a list in existence, though it is not used for event announcements.

The graduate events announcement list does not include some student group leaders, according to St. Julien.

Council co-chair Jessica Tsai, a medical student and graduate student in neuroscience, suggested that the ASSU executives blast an e-mail to the lists they controlled.

ASSU Vice President Kelsei Wharton ’12 explained that executives could only send out e-mails to the general student body list once every two weeks. He would have had to announce the graduate formal when the last e-mail was sent approximately a week ago.

Wharton also provided an ASSU update, explaining that he and ASSU President Angelina Cardona ’11 were still in the process of doing executive cabinet interviews.

Members also told co-chairs Tsai and Justin Brown, a graduate student in geophysics, of their summer plans — whether they will be on campus, off campus or a combination. The time commitment will not be large, Brown said, explaining that summer meetings “go quickly.”

“I’ve literally been to meetings that lasted only seven minutes,” Brown said.

Off-campus members plan to find proxies for meetings they will not be able to attend.

GSC members approved $400 for a Graduate Student Programming Board (GSPB) trivia night from line item funding. Council members also confirmed $850 for the Stanford India Association.

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