By Albert Zhang
In a meeting held on Wednesday, the Graduate Student Council (GSC) questioned the ASSU Undergraduate Senate’s refusal to confirm the nominee for ASSU Financial Manager (FM), passed a bill allowing retroactive funding under exceptional circumstances, and discussed recent criticisms of the campus climate survey.
The GSC, after beginning its meeting with a closed-session budget discussion, turned to the issue of the FM, and more generally to the Senate’s perceived lack of participation in the difficult selection process.
“The process was really frustrating – the Undergraduate Senate representative to the search committee bailed on the process from the first minute,” Sam Bydlon Ph.D. ’17 said. “He didn’t show up to any meetings or send a proxy.”
“There was a list of [concerns], including Ateeq’s [Suria ‘16, chairman of the Board of Directors of Stanford Student Enterprises (SSE)] relationship to the candidate and the candidate’s qualifications, that we would have been happy to address … these weren’t things we were hiding,” Bydlon said.
Luka Fatuesi ’17, who was in attendance, brought up a bill passed by the ASSU Senate appointing Fatuesi as the temporary interim FM, a term which elicited confusion. The bill also contained an amendment added in closed session, whose language gave the Undergraduate Senate the power to unilaterally approve a candidate for interim FM without a specified end date. The GSC feared that this clause would allow the Undergraduate Senate to push through a nominee without vetting from graduate representatives. The GSC passed an amendment to the bill giving the GSC a say in the process.
The GSC then discussed the proposal from last week to allow retroactive funding in some situations. Some members of the GSC expressed concerns that the policy would encourage more funding requests and deplete already shrinking budget reserves, a situation that had occurred in the past in the Undergraduate Senate. Other members of the GSC argued that the GSC had already established a recent precedent of retroactive funding in select situations and the bill would make this freely accessible information. Ultimately, the GSC approved the bill by a narrow margin.
The Council also welcomed Chloe Hart, a first-year Ph.D. student in sociology, who updated the GSC on recent events concerning the campus climate survey. GSC chair Gabe Hernandez Ph.D. ’16, expressed opposition to the Undergraduate Senate’s idea of redoing the survey immediately due to high cost but welcomed discussion of other proposals, such as a resolution, on the matter.
Hernandez also brought up the GSC’s recent sexual assault prevention plan, which included education initiatives for students and requests for more staff at the Office of Sexual Assault & Relationship Abuse (SARA). Hernandez reported that SARA has one full-time employee, a figure he believes must change.
Near the end of the meeting, the GSC swore in its new members. Since no elected Graduate School of Business representative showed interest in a seat on the GSC, the selection process for the position would be opened up to interested members of the GSB community.
During their meeting, the GSC approved funding for events by Stanford Ballroom, Stanford Africa Business Forum, the Italian Student Association, the Russian Student Association, the Turkish Student Association and Scandinavians at Stanford.
Contact Albert Zhang at [email protected]
Clarification: an earlier version of this article did not make clear that the amendment to give the GSC a say in the naming of the interim FM was approved in closed session. This article has been updated to make this clear.