In its first official meeting, the 2017-18 Graduate Student Council (GSC) selected new Council chairs and discussed possible tension within the funding committee.
Funding committee tension
Although the GSC did not vote on a funding committee chair during this meeting, potential chair candidate Isa Rosa M.S. ’16 from the School of Engineering faced pushback from former GSC member Kali Allison from the School of Earth Sciences, who said that Rosa has discriminated against religious and cultural groups as she served as GSC internal auditor.
“I regret that I had not spoken up sooner,” Allison said.
Rosa contested this statement, saying there are “soft cap guidelines” that informed her decisions on funding for Voluntary Student Organizations (VSOs). Soft cap guidelines refer to the limit on the amount of funding available to a VSO based upon prospective membership and event turnout.
“The soft cap is a guideline and you can come to the GSC with questions about the soft cap,” Rosa said. “I know what I can tell VSOs and I try to help them.”
As a result of tensions over Rosa, GSC members discussed ensuring that at least five members would be elected to the committee.
“I feel like this is something the undergrads have better than us: a larger funding committee,” said outgoing GSC Co-Chair Pau Guinart about the ASSU Senate.
The funding committee will internally decide who will serve as chair and how to delegate stipends after several meetings.
The GSC selected uncontested Co-Chairs Rosie Nelson, Ph.D. in the Graduate School of Education, and Jennifer Hill M.A. ’16, Ph.D. candidate in sociology.
GSC member Dan Walls, a Ph.D. candidate in chemical engineering, will serve as the group’s next financial officer.
Former GSC member David Fan-Chung Hsu from the School of Engineering will remain as secretary.
GSC member Gabriela Badica from the Division of Literatures, Cultures and Languages will serve as social coordinator again alongside Todd Chapman M.S. ’13 from the School of Engineering. Badica was also proud to announce that Grad Formal went well, saying the event was “sold out and then some.”
New GSC member Alejandro Schuler from the School of Medicine will serve as food czar, overseeing food at meetings.
New GSC member Melanie Malinas, a Ph.D. candidate in biophysics, was elected for the new position of financial literacy coordinator, which will replace the role of tax coordinator. The role of tax coordinator was renamed to better fit the job, which involves organizing quarterly education sessions on financial literacy and communicating with relevant campus offices on taxes.
Selection of the role of webmaster was tabled until next week’s meeting.
Review and advice
In light of this year’s GSC election controversy, which led to the resending of some ballots, Allison and Kate Gasparro from the School of Civil Engineering, who was standing in as a proxy, discussed a memo for recommendations for future elections. The memo highlights the success of the Elections Commission in increasing voter turnout.
Guinart and fellow outgoing Co-Chair Terence Theisen from the Stanford School of Medicine advised new council members to hold and show up for GSC member office hours, an initiative that follows in the footsteps of the administrative office hours approved by the Undergraduate Senate earlier this year.
Funding for events hosted by the graduate students of Applied Physics and Physics, the Dish on Science, GradQ and the Stanford Japanese Association was approved.
Gasparro said the GSC’s website is still down but will go live soon.
Contact Gillian Brassil at gbrassil ‘at’ stanford.edu.