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GSC discusses healthcare, service animals


On Wednesday evening, the Graduate Student Council (GSC) discussed a resolution about the Palo Alto Accountable and Affordable Health Care Initiative and the problems that graduate students with service and support animals face on campus.

Alan Wong, a representative for workers at Stanford Hospital, returned to the GSC this week to ask the council to pass a resolution that would “call on Stanford Health Care to address healthcare concerns brought up by patients and caregivers”.

Current healthcare workers also raised staffing issues, such as understaffing and high worker turnovers, which workers said can lead to hospital-wide problems such as high infection rates at the meeting.

The GSC decided not to endorse the specific policies outlined in the initiative for the moment. According to Juan Lamata, a GSC officer and English PhD candidate, the council will raise the issues with Stanford Health Care and decide whether to endorse the initiative in front of the Palo Alto City Council in later meetings.

“I feel that us, as graduate students at Stanford University can’t not try to take action and use what kind of influence — whatever that may be — to urge Stanford to actually change its practices and address concerns,” said Dan Walls, the GSC council member who sponsored the resolution.

The GSC also heard from graduate students concerned with the University’s policies regarding service and support animals on campus. Students who attended the meeting to discuss the issue said that Stanford often fails to provide certain legal accommodations for service animals. They also discussed concerns about their communications with Residential & Dining Enterprises (R&DE).

Sara Malik, a PhD student in the Graduate School of Business, said that R&DE had not responded to her emails about a dog-run, a small strip of fenced off space where animals owned by students can exercise.

Malik argued that many student complaints could be solved with an established dog-run, which she said would give students access to a simple way to exercise their animals without taking up too much space.

Members of the GSC supported the idea, and the council voted to pass a resolution to write a letter to R&DE advocating for a dog-run.

In addition, the GSC heard a presentation about Stanford’s General Use Permit and the University’s goals to manage commuter traffic and expand housing for students. They also discussed upcoming graduate student events happening, including the Valentine’s Day party and the Chinese New Year celebration.

Next week, the GSC will bring to the table a resolution to ask R&DE to amend their policies regarding service and support animals.

Contact Adesuwa Abonile at adesuwaa ‘at’