In its fourth meeting of the quarter, the Graduate Student Council discussed giving students transport passes, establishing an advocacy committee and recognizing individual student body members.
During open session, GSC chairwoman and Graduate School of Education Ph.D. candidate Rosie Nelson proposed extending access to the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority Eco-Pass to all students. The pass is currently provided for Stanford faculty and staff. It allows for free, unlimited VTA bus, light rail and express bus services seven days a week.
Having done calculations and come to a tentative cost of eight dollars per student annually, Nelson emphasized that the pass could be useful for graduate and undergraduate students alike.
“[The pass would be useful] especially for low-income undergrads [who] are more limited in opportunities for internships off-campus … or for things to support their education that are just hard to access if you don’t have a car,” she said.
In addition, the council reconstituted a GSC-Undergraduate Senate Joint Committee on Sexual Violence, following an identical move by the Undergraduate Senate at its meeting Tuesday night.
Council member and TAPS Ph.D. candidate Kari Barclay pitched the possible formation of a GSC advocacy committee, which would dedicate its energy to initiatives involving advocacy and allow for increased accountability in such matters. As chairwoman Nelson put in, “sometimes graduate student lives pull [the GSC] away from some of the projects we would really like to work on.”
The council also discussed whether to sign a letter recognizing Zacharias Rodgers Ph.D. ‘17 for his contribution in “leading a community response at both the university and county level regarding environmental health and construction safety concerns” during the demolition of Escondido Village last academic year.
Regarding this endorsement, GSC member Isa Rosa, a Ph.D. candidate in civil and environmental engineering, raised concerns about the capacity of the GSC to commend individual students on behalf of the entire graduate student body. She noted the plurality of students on campus who also make positive contributions to their communities. In response, councillor and Ph.D. student Melanie Malinas spoke out in favor of the letter.
“[GSC] can be an advocacy group too,” Malinas said.
The council resolved to decide upon the issue in the following week.
Among the bills passed this week was the bill to confirm two assistant election commissioners for the Elections Commission. Nelson asserted that increasing the size of the Elections Commission would insure the retention of the organization’s institutional knowledge.
Next week, the council is set to work out the specifics of the advocacy committee as well as plan for the implementation of financial literacy workshops for graduate students.
A previous version of this article called the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) the Santa Clara Valley Transport Authority. The Daily regrets this error.
Contact Sean Chen at kxsean ‘at’ stanford.edu.