By Anat Peled
On Wednesday night, the Graduate Student Council (GSC) discussed low funds for Voluntary Student Organization (VSO) events and held a closed session on its budget during the second half of the meeting.
The open session began with an update from Kari Barclay, a second-year Ph.D. candidate in theater and performance studies. He said that as a follow up to the GSC survey released a few weeks ago, Vice Provost for Graduate Education Patricia Gumport and Provost Persis Drell will likely attend a GSC meeting once the group swears in its new members next week.
“It seems like a lot of stuff is happening backstage just in terms of plugging us in to the long range planning process and to the provost agenda,” Barclay said.
VSOs typically attend GSC meetings each week to request funds for special events. This week however, Melanie Malinas, a fifth-year graduate student in biophysics, announced that the GSC was running low on funds for VSOs.
She explained that they had allocated about $157,000 of $180,000 allotted for VSO-related events, and that they still had not allocated for “Fire on Fire,” a multinational Spring barbecue, that would cost $15,000.
This expense would leave only $8,000 for other VSO requests.
GSC members also pointed out that many student groups are likely to host end-of-year events.
“We’re going to have to start turning VSOs away,” said Malinas.
Although earlier, GSC members discussed allocating funds to buy gear, such as sweatshirts, Melanie’s announcement caused some members to rethink their desire to invest in apparel for the group.
“If the decision is between turning people away and getting jackets, let’s avoid turning people away, although I would like some jackets,” said one Council member.
However, Luka Fatuesi ’17, ASSU Assistant Financial Manager, clarified that they were discussing two separate funding pools: discretionary expenses, which are not raised from student fees but come from the operating budget; and programming expenses. If the council goes over budget on programing expenses, they are able to draw from a reserve pool.
“We’re not in a financial crisis,” said GSC social chair Gabby Badica, who is pursuing a Ph.D. in Latin American cultures. Badica also said the group should not spend a lot of its reserve funds.
Contact Anat Peled at anatpel ‘at’ stanford.edu.