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GSC appoints officers, revisits subleasing concerns

HOLDEN FOREMAN/The Stanford Daily

Summer subleasing requests and student surveys were major topics at Wednesday’s Graduate Student Council (GSC) meeting, where numerous officers were selected and Associated Students of Stanford University (ASSU) Elections Commissioner nominee Christian Giadolor ’21 was introduced to the Council.

Officer positions

GSC appointed its first-ever survey commissioners, third-year theater and performance studies Ph.D. candidate Kari Barclay and second-year physics Ph.D. candidate Shangnan Zhou.

The survey commissioners will work to design the GSC’s next survey of students on various aspects of their experiences and circumstances at Stanford. After the survey design concludes around fall 2019, Barclay said, it will be administered in winter, with the data to be analyzed by spring 2020.

Barclay worked on the GSC’s most recent student survey two years ago, and said he would like for the Council to continue conducting surveys every couple of years. In the past, he noted, surveys have been conducted as many as ten years apart. He pointed to survey data as an important means of qualifying requests that the GSC brings to Stanford’s attention.

“It’s very validating to make sure [each concern] is backed in data,” Barclay said.

He noted that the GSC could benefit from greater collaboration with Stanford in its survey process, as the University does not place as much trust on data collected under different methodology than its own.

“It’s really technical,” Barclay said.

“But also bullshit,” said Diversity and Advocacy Committee (DAC) Co-Chair and aeronautics and astronautics Ph.D. candidate Ana Tarano B.S. ’13 M.S. ’15.

Some council members expressed concern over the privacy implications of Stanford receiving access to student survey data, especially in cases where students’ demographic information can make them relatively easy to identify in a given department.

In other officer decisions, the GSC appointed second-year law student Julia Neusner M.A. ’20 as social chair. First-year earth systems science Ph.D. candidate Amina Ly had her term as funding committee co-chair extended through next year, and was also selected to order the GSC’s meeting food. Tarano was appointed to continue as DAC co-chair.

Housing and dining

Wait times and inconsistencies in Residential and Dining Enterprises’ (R&DE) responses to apartment subleasing requests for the summer were alleged by GSC members on Wednesday, but only after R&DE representatives had concluded their weekly update and left the meeting.

According to Latin American history Ph.D. candidate Mateo Carrillo, R&DE acknowledged three weeks ago that it was backlogged with subleasing. He said it took R&DE about “a month” to reply to his own request to sublease. Not only are the delayed responses a stress on students, he said, but they also hinder the Stanford affiliates leasing the buildings.

“Everyone has a story,” he said.

Some GSC members suggested temporary student staff be hired to help with handling subleasing requests in spring. Others questioned whether R&DE would be willing to pay such student staff.

During the preceding R&DE update, Student Housing Operations Director Imogen Hinds said the demographics and total number of applicants in this year’s housing lottery are comparable to those of past years, though “there were a few less singles, and a few more couples” than usual.

Zhou expressed concern over today’s Spring Fair in the Arrillaga Family Dining Commons keeping people from enjoying their preferred cuisine. She proposed that graduate students be allowed to eat in other dining halls for at least the day of the Spring Fair to address this concern.

“We’ll have to look into that,” R&DE Dining Director Eric Montell said, though he made no promises.

Elections Commissioner

Giadolor, whose confirmation will be put to a vote next week in the Senate and GSC, said he decided to run for the position after noticing “a huge issue” with student engagement and “apathy.”

“Ultimately what encouraged me to apply was witnessing student body elections as a freshman,”  he said.

As commissioner, he said he plans to designate an assistant elections commissioner to work on community engagement and figure out “how to best target them to increase turnout.” He also pointed out disparities in the amount of campaigning done by graduate and undergraduate candidates.

This article has been corrected to reflect that Amina Ly is a Ph.D. candidate in earth systems science, not philosophy. The Daily regrets this error.

Contact Holden Foreman at hs4man21 ‘at’ stanford.edu.

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Holden Foreman

Holden Foreman

Holden Foreman '21 is a Desk Editor for the News section. He hails from the city of St. Louis, Missouri and is studying electrical engineering, computer science and economics. Contact him at hs4man21 'at' stanford.edu.