By Caleb Smith
The Graduate Student Council (GSC) discussed the long-term financial viability of GSC finances, divestment from fossil fuels and several funding requests in their latest meeting. The GSC also heard a presentation on the future of the Diversity Advocacy Committee (DAC).
Graduate student fee
The GSC discussed a bill that would increase the graduate student fee by five dollars to meet a structural deficit. Several years ago, the GSC reserves had accumulated to the point that the former GSC decided to deliberately overspend their revenues in order to get the reserves down to a more reasonable level.
Now that the GSC reserves have been substantially reduced, the GSC is requesting that the graduate student body agree to increased fees, or risk cutbacks on programs and popular events due to funding shortages. An identical bill was placed on the ballot last year but failed to pass due to low turnout, despite achieving considerable voter support. In a later meeting, the GSC will vote whether to pursue a second attempt at securing voter approval.
Divestment and diversity
The GSC also discussed a joint bill that would seek information from Stanford Student Enterprises on the possibility of divesting the ASSU endowment’s holdings from fossil fuel companies. GSC members asked if the bill would be providing information that would already be available upon request, and clarified the process for obtaining information.
To ensure the DAC’s permanence, the GSC considered a bill to confirm the leadership of the Diversity Advocacy Committee (DAC) for next year, provide a stipend for senior DAC leadership and designate the positions as permanent parts of the GSC leadership.
The GSC approved funding for the Graduate Students of Applied Physics and Physics student group, Stanford Celli Dance, Bhakti Yoga Club and Stanford Jazz Consortium. However, the GSC expressed skepticism at the Wine Society’s request to send three members to a blind champagne tasting in Europe on the basis that it would boost the group’s reputation. GSC members were concerned that they were being asked to spend roughly $1,000 per student on the proposed expenditure, compared to the $30 per student that the GSC funds for most events.
Organizers of Frost Music Festival also sought funding from the GSC, stating that graduate students do not directly support the event through annual grants, unlike undergraduates. The GSC members probed into how the requested money would be spent, and will be able to conduct a final vote next week.