May 4, 2017

By Simar Malhotra

In its meeting on Wednesday, the Graduate Student Council (GSC) swore in new members and confirmed the 2017 ASSU election, special fees and referendum results.

Councilors also debated whether to make an official statement about technical difficulties in the election process, for which the at-large portion of the ballot was not randomized, and discussed the creation of a new election manual to update certain procedures.

Election results

A resolution to approve the results of the 2017 ASSU elections was highly debated, as Elections Commission member Kali Allison confirmed that the at-large portion of the ballot was not randomized. Candidates showed up in the same order on each ballot.

Jennifer Hill M.A. ’16, Ph.D. candidate in sociology, noted that there is no perfect solution that will solve every technical difficulty, but suggested some sort of public statement acknowledging the lack of randomization and affirming that the GSC supports fair elections. Hill also floated the idea of censuring the Elections Commission.


Councilors shied away from any language referring to “censuring” the Elections Commission but agreed that they could put a statement discussing this year’s technical difficulties and the GSC’s commitment to fairness in an updated election manual that some GSC members are currently working on.

Election results were ultimately confirmed with seven in favor, two opposed and two abstaining. Eleven new GSC members were sworn into their positions.

A resolution to confirm the results of graduate special fees voting and a referendum seeking to ensure the GSC’s long-term financial health passed unanimously.

Funding and internal matters

The GSC voted unanimously in favor of the Belgian Student Association’s budget for an evening of Belgian beer taking place at the Escondido Village Center on May 13. The Council also passed the budget for janitorial services at the Northern California Musicology Colloquium, an assembly for musicians to collaborate and exchange resources organized by the Stanford Graduate Music Studies Forum, Stanford Humanities Fund and Ron Alexander Memorial Fund.

A budget of $15,000 — the maximum allowed — was also approved for the Bechtel International Center’s event, “Fire on Fire,” an international multi-cuisine barbecue scheduled for May 14. The event will be open to undergraduates as well as graduate students.

Caleb Smith ’17 M.A. ’18 , a co-term student who is also a Daily staffer, proposed adding 500 units of graduate student housing on campus within a six-month period. He suggested setting up housing units where the golf driving range is currently located. Smith sought to assuage worries about the availability of utility services such as water, arguing that because the golf course is close to West Campus housing, these facilities should not be difficult to access.

Old GSC members encouraged new councilors to bond with other members of the graduate student body at graduate formal, which will take place this Friday.

The GSC’s budget for the 2018 fiscal year also passed with one abstention.

Outgoing GSC Co-chair Pau Guinart Ph.D. ’18 announced that the University is hosting a workshop on Saturday focused on institutional change at Stanford, specifically how the University is run and how community members can get their  voices heard. GSC members will also hold office hours on May 15, and Guinart noted that old and new councilors need to work together during the upcoming transition period.

Finally, Proxy Kate Gasparro from the School of Civil Engineering reported that the GSC website, which is down as a result of updating, will become live again soon.


Contact Simar Malhotra at simar ‘at’