By Caleb Smith
The Graduate Student Council (GSC) met on Wednesday night, discussing graduate housing construction, social events, the Diversity Advisory Committee and funding. The GSC also discussed the format of the council’s meetings.
Two graduate students who were concerned with the new proposed development in Escondido Village presented about their concerns to the GSC. Forest Peterson Ph.D. ’16 and Zachariah Rodgers Ph.D. ’17 had several concerns including about the method used to design the building. Peterson, a former project engineer on construction projects, said that the new development was planned on paper rather than using building information modeling. Peterson expressed a concern that failing to use modern tools would contribute to issues with the design of the development and could lead to cost overruns. Peterson also suggested that Stanford might want to build more units than currently slated for the development.
Rodgers, a graduate student with children, said that Stanford has also failed to properly take into account student feedback. He listed several projects as examples where the Stanford administration failed to adequately account for student wishes. Rodgers also expressed concern that the new development would not contain adequate parking.
GSC members expressed concern that the older system might lead to cost overruns, but balanced this concern against worries that a delay in the project could also create expenses. The GSC resolved to follow up with Stanford Housing to hear all sides of the debate. The GSC considered holding a straw poll to clarify where the GSC stood on the housing development but instead decided to use the minutes of the meeting to communicate where they stood.
Those concerned about the housing development expect to appeal the development to a Santa Clara County panel on Friday.
The Peruvian Students Association got funding approved for a kickoff barbecue on Saturday. Volunteers were being sought for the event. The Stanford Chinese Women Collective got funding approved for a biweekly Chinese calligraphy and painting class, which will start this Sunday. The Stanford Bhakti Yoga group asked for funding to help with the cost of the Stanford Diwali celebration on Oct. 29, which was approved. The Russian Students Association sought funding for a welcome back barbecue on Saturday, and the GSC granted the request. The Stanford India Association saw funding approved for a discussion next Tuesday. The Asian American Graduate Student Association received funding for an alumni panel and mixer on Oct. 22.
The GSC also approved a slate of nominees to University committees.
The GSC discussed funding for the Rains Halloween Party, a final decision about which is going to be made next week. The party is open to all graduate students. Turnout was reportedly rising over the past couple of years. They also discussed strategies that can be taken to handle the possibility of noise complaints.
The GSC also considered a bill that would create a joint committee on sexual assault, working with the Undergraduate Senate. According to Shanta Katipamula’19, the chair of the undergraduate senate, this new committee would improve coordination between different parts of the Senate. A final vote will be taken on the bill next week.
The GSC was briefed on the welcome back party they recently held. Gabriela Badica, a graduate student in Iberian and Latin American Cultures, reported that the party went well, with an estimated attendance of 1732. There were reportedly a few people who over consumed alcohol with one medical alcohol transport, but the Stanford Emergency Medical Service team provided capable assistance. Badica expressed a strong sentiment that one transport was one transport too many. Ten noise complaints were issued this year, as opposed to none during last year’s event, despite a lack of noticeable changes between this year and last year’s event. Despite the noise complaints, Badica said that public safety told them the party was not too loud in public safety’s opinion. The organizers ultimately elected to voluntarily close the event about 20 minutes early.
Badica made several recommendations, such as holding the party earlier in the day and holding a variety of social events during the year. Badica suggested holding a holiday social that would not be focused on alcohol. The idea of a silent disco party was also raised, but a final proposal has not been generated yet. Badica said that the GSC would seek funding from the provost for the Thanksgiving event coming up in future. She also said she would ask the Office of Alcohol Policy and Education (OAPE) for suggestions on alcohol issues.
The GSC discussed different ways to streamline the meetings. Options discussed included waiving the requirement for people to attend the full GSC meetings if their student group had funding approved in the past or waiving the appearance requirement for funding requests below a certain threshold. Ideas will continue to be collected.
The GSC also got an update on the Diversity Advisory Committee (DAC) from its chair Eduardo Munoz-Munoz Ph.D. ’18. He said that over twenty people were interested in getting involved with their efforts. He also reported that he wants to see another diversity month this academic year and continue the mini-grant program they offered last year. Munoz-Munoz invited the GSC members to join the committee.