The proceedings from the GSC meeting on 2006-11-29
GSC Agenda: November 29, 2006: 6:15-8:15 – FOOD @ 6:00!
Graduate Community Center – Nairobi Room
Quorum for this meeting is eight voting members.
1. 6:00 FOOD (thanks Matt!)
2. 6:15 Welcome with Introductions
3. 6:20 Announcements (Paul)
i. Minutes from 11/15
ii. Thank you to the Thanksgiving crew!!
iii. We will have a retreat the weekend of Jan 12th to 14th.
iv. Kristina will be away January 10th and needs someone to
volunteer to act as secretary for that day.
iv. Signing of the Holiday Greeting Cards
4. 6:25 Funding (Adam)
Israeli Student Organization
Stanford India Association
5. 6:30 Transportation Issues (Song)
6. 6:40 Dance Marathon (Christina)
7. 6:50 Diversity Committee Update (Cullen)
8. 7:00 Guest Speaker: Howard Wolfe from the Alumni Association
9. 7:20 Guest Speaker: Rodger Whitney from GHAC
10. 7:40 Funding Proposal for the Formal (Fen and Maxim)
11. 7:45 New Business
Niraj Sheth (Stanford Daily)
Jenny – Were there any changes to the minutes from November 15th?
Kristina – No.
Jenny – Are there any objections to passing the minutes from November 15th? (none) Seeing none, the minutes pass by consensus?
Jenny – The thanksgiving dinner was a success. Thanks to Steven for organizing the Thanksgiving dinner and Paul for organizing the web registration. If you attended and have any suggestions please contact us and let us know, otherwise the dinner will probably be much the same next year.
Jenny – We will have a retreat the weekend of Jan 12th to 14th, the weekend of Martin Luther King Day. So far I’ve heard back from 9 people who can come.
Jenny – Kristina will be away January 10th and needs someone to volunteer to act as secretary for that day.
Paul – I can do the minutes.
Jenny – I’ve got holiday greeting cards for everyone to sign. I will pass them out after people have finished eating. We can put them in the mail slots and Stanford will deliver them to the appropriate people.
Jenny – December 6th is the last meeting of the quarter. Are there any more announcements? (none) Seeing none we’ll pass to Adam.
Israeli Student Organization
Student Rep – The first event is on the last day of this quarter small gathering will have traditional Hanukah food. Is there anything else?
Adam – Does anyone have any questions? This is a yearly budget.
Dirk – How many members?
Student Rep – There are 100 active members the invitation also goes to people who live in this area.
Maxim – They are not students so they can’t be funded.
Dirk – Do you know how much of the budget comes from the gsc and how much from other sources?
Adam – It’s about half.
Student Rep – We are asking for partial funding from the gsc and the rest is from the I- centre.
Maxim – How much total was there last year?
Adam – I cam pull it up but it’s about the same as this year.
Jenny – Are there any other questions?
Adam: They are asking for $3890. Are there any questions? (none)
jenny – Are there any objections to funding the Israeli Student Organization for $3890? (none) Seeing none that passes by consensus. Good luck with your event.
Stanford India Association
Student Rep – We filed a request 3 weeks ago and we were not aware of grad events before we met financial officer. The event is for this weekend, we’ve already had a very good response from the group and hoping to go ahead with event this weekend
Adam – This group has gotten money from us before this year so they knew the rules.
Maxim – I think exceptions can be made.
Paul – I think that given the extenuating circumstances that an exception can be made. I think they posted hours after being told they needed to post to grad events.
Adam – It’s on the website.
Paul – I think that this is hidden in the bylaws and not easy to find.
Adam – We are going to change that.
Fen – Didn’t we have an issue with another group and decided not to fund them?
Paul – Yes, it was this group, they got to us late and we decided not to fund them. This time they applied three weeks in advance.
Fen – Shouldn’t they have known?
Student Rep – That was the festival of lights and we didn’t realize we would need the money. This time we tried to get the forms in earlier.
Paul – maybe we should bring it to a vote.
Matt – Last time we didn’t fund you because you didn’t think you’d need the money and were late. This week we shouldn’t fund you because you need applied before thanksgiving. I motion to fund them.
Jenny – Any objections to funding the Stanford India Association?
Fen – I object.
Jenny – Then we need to bring it to a vote. All those in favor? All those opposed? All those abstaining? (8-0-2) That passes.
Transportation Issues (Song)
Jenny – We are thinking of voting on it next week because this is a new topic. Song do you want to tell everyone about it?
Song – Jenny, Paul and I propose a shuttle service to the international food market. I talked to parking and transportation office in the they said it is available as proposed Jan 18th, to March 18th. The cost will be $5360 in total. The service will benefit international students and will also benefit other Stanford students as well. Currently there is a similar to service which goes to Wal-Mart.
Jenny – the idea is to fund this for this year, see the interest and then talk to P&T about extending it into the next year. We have the list of stops that they would make.
Student – May I say something? The original idea was proposed by me because I found it was extremely difficult to get food here. It’s true we can get to Wal-Mart but Wal-Mart does not have Asian food.
Maxim – There is no Russian food. We should have a bus to san francisco.
Student – That is true. Let me finish my statement. I spoke with other Asian students and they were all very supportive and so I spoke with Song and he helped to with organizing. It will benefit not just Chinese students but all east Asian students.
Jenny – If we are going to make it happen we need to vote on it by next meeting.
Yana – How reasonable is it too assume that parking and transportation will make this a regular route?
Jenny – We don’t know.
Song – I think it will depend on how many people will use the service.
Yana – Since marguerite mostly on campus I didn’t know how far thy would be willing to go.
Martin – In dealing with P&T they are willing to listen to any suggestions of where people want to go.
Yana – I mean after the pilot program, how willing they would be to continue funding it.
Dirk – How good is the connection by regular transportation?
George – It would take at least 1 if not 2 hours to get there.
Dirk – It seems like this is not so much the GSC’s responsibility but the city’s responsibility.
Song – this is just a pilot program. In the future we are looking for other funding.
Jenny – I see your point of getting the city to fund it but that’s a different advocacy issue and that’s a longer term issue.
Paul –I think if these buses are overflowing with students it will be easier to convince someone else to fund the program.
Dirk – Have you looked into renting from enterprise?
Jenny – That’s a huge amount of coordination but we’ll keep it in mind.
Maxim – On this is this thing benefits mostly Asian communities and so should be funded by the Asian communities. Then it is not fair to other European, Latino groups so I think it is not fair to other students. I think we should make the same thing available to Latin and German markets.
Jenny – I think that makes sense if there is a sizable number of students who want to use it.
Maxim – the second this is the undergrads. It’s not sure that it is clear that we should sponsor all this. As Dirk said, the issue is not with us but with the city.
Fen – Just to make the comment that the current service serves more of the rest of the community, it doesn’t just serve the Asian community. The Asian market’s food is different then what’s provided at a Russian market. You can’t get the food needed for Asian food at a western market but you can get the food needed for Russian food.
Maxim – No you can’t.
Fen – Second it’s not just a way to get to the Asian market, it is a way to get to the mall that is near by there, there is a Target, and it is also a way for us to get to a lot of different places. And lastly in terms of distance the SLAC bus takes 20 minutes so P&T already goes to places that are far away.
Donna – How many people do you expect and how are you going to count how many people use it? How are you advertising?
Jenny – We don’t have numbers right now.
Song – My estimation is close to 100 people each week got to each of the markets.
Jenny – We also need to know whether marguerite can count the people.
Kristina – Where is the money coming from?
Paul – Reserves, we have a lot of money to spend and I think if there are innovative ideas we should encourage them and spend the money on that.
Adam – There is also a Vallco mall on the way. There is a sears and 120 other shops there.
George – I think that this is cool idea. I think this will be successful and it will take off so I just wanted to say thank you.
Martin – We were here to talk to you a couple weeks ago to ask for money to fund the go-pass. The objection to giving that money was it was going to be spent on exclusively off campus students. I just wanted to point out that this money is going to be exclusively for on campus students.
Student – I wanted to make a comment about the enterprise program. The advertised fee doesn’t include insurance which can double the cost. If other students want to put together a proposal for a similar thing they should.
Donna – The enterprise deal is only an evening thing.
Dance Marathon (Christina)
Christina – The dance marathon is an event to raise awareness for AIDS and a fundraising for AIDS research. This year we are working with FACE AIDS and Partners in Health. They are working in Haiti and Rwanda opening new clinics and doing amazing work. We are hoping the grad students can get involved. The undergrads are dancing. The dancers raise $140 and commit to staying for the event. There are also moralers and they raise $60 and pump up the crowd. We are also doing a community day. The web site is dancemarathon.stanford.edu.
Jenny – What is the registration deadline?
Christina- we’ve told people registration is closed but it’s still open so you can register until the event. We want 350 moralers.
Adam – Traditionally how many grad students participate?
Christina – It’s only been open to undergraduates before and so this is the first time that it’s been open to grads.
Jenny – Thank you for coming and good luck.
Diversity Committee Update (Cullen)
Cullen – There are two items I am passing out. They look similar so please pick up them both. These are two resolutions that we are thinking of bringing before the undergrad senate so we will wait until the joint meeting which is in winter to vote on them. But I wanted to present these to you early so that I can obtain your feedback. We were first thinking of drafting a 5 year plan of action, but we realized we’ve done similar things before and we’ve told the University these ideas before and they might not agree with them. They might not think it’s best for the university and we want them to take ownership on the ideas. Though there is a large focus on diversity, there isn’t really accountability for programs or departments. We feel that in order to really make some progress, diversity needs come up on university agendas on a yearly basis. Right now those departments that have chairs or deans who are interested in diversity have programs but those that don’t are not held accountable. We want to have an institutionalized plan for diversity. We thought that the best way to promote these ideas was as a joint resolution from graduate students and undergraduate students. We aren’t looking to vote on it today, we were just looking for feed back. At the senate meeting the other day we talked about adding to the bill how graduate diversity affects undergraduates. The senate supports it but wants to see why graduate diversity affects undergraduates in the bill.
Shireen – In the document all the minority reference should include Asian and not just other. If you are interested in racial minorities you should say that. I am interested in why there aren’t people. Is it a pool problem? What percent of people are in the pool applying?
Cullen – Everyone has said that it’s a pipeline problem but no when can identify where the problems are. One part of this is having people thinking about these issues and gathering data all the time, there has not been enough analysis on all the problems.
Yana – It seem that action needs to be different depending on the problem. If people are leaving then its retention, if people aren’t applying then its recruitment.
George – The first thing is I would prefer that the word race or racial not appear on the document. I think that this is too broad because if it an equal problem and is not an equal solution. In some cases it clearly is a pipeline problem in some cases its not.
Cullen – I’m unclear on what you mean by equal.
George – You are talking about accountability. The accountability question makes me a little bit nervous. The academic community wants to do something but it’s not clear what should be done. It seems like this is a puff piece to keep poking at the problem and not provide solutions.
Cullen – I think that depending where you are there are different pressures. For example, in some schools right now every recommendation for faculty hires goes by the Deans’ office where it is scrutinized for inclusion of minorities and women, diversity is a high priority. If the search committee can’t say they looked then the dean will throw it out. In other places, the requirements are not so strict and sometimes they’re non-existent.
George- You aren’t alleging there is some policy that is preventing faculty from being here. If it is a pipeline issue then it will be solved in 15 -20 years. I don’t see what this achieves other than a billboard statements.
Cullen – There are fewer (in number and percentage) minority grad students today than in the 80′s. If the said the problem could be solved in 15 to 20 years, why are the numbers worse than they were 20 years ago?
Adam – I watch the faculty senate meetings and they talk about this. First pipeline issues. Minorities are offered better pay packages when graduating. Last thing is retention. Stanford has a big retention problem with all faculty.
Cullen – There’s lots of discussion and lots of energy but there hasn’t been a very focused and long term vision. When students speak they think we want to change right now but what we really want is increased effort, we know that the numbers won’t change much in the short term. Feel free to email me at email@example.com in next month with comments on these issues or the proposed bills.
Guest Speaker: Howard Wolfe from the Alumni Association
Howard Wolfe – Thank you for the invitation to come and speak with you. In Jenny’s email to me she asked me to do a couple of things. What I wanted to do was give you a sense of what the alumni association is and then perhaps have to a question and answer session to see what we can do for you. The alumni association was started in 1892 with the first graduating class. The mission is to reach serve and engage all Stanford alum and students to create a lifelong emotional connection and foster inspiration and support. We exist to create alumni and student interactions. We have a staff of 105 people. One of the groups in our organization is student outreach. We are historically better at reaching undergraduates then graduate students. Cullen is now on the board of directors. We have had and will have in the future a grad student on the board. When I say that we’ve failed it’s not that the graduate student on the board hasn’t done a good job. But that the feed back we get back is “you don’t get it”. I came here tonight to say that we are trying and that we know we don’t get it. I’m curious to think what people in this room think about how we can go forward.
Donna – My first idea is we are connected to a lab or a school and it varies between school/dept as to how much the alum are followed. I’m in the school of education where I think we do a poor job of following up with alum. So partnering with the departments and schools.
Howard – Does that mean connecting with them and getting mentors?
Donna – I think working with dean to see how can we help you better track your alumni. When I got here we had to organize a day for alumni to show up. Another thing is a suggestion from the founding members of the GSC. There should be a quarterly event for people who are going to graduate. Have graduation parties for these grad students and put money towards it.
Howard – I’m embarrassed because I don’t know what the number of graduate students graduating each quarter or that this happened. This June we are putting a lot more money into graduates who are graduating in June for a brunch.
Adam: It’s rolling.
Paul – I think it depends on when you hand your thesis in.
Kristina – I think a lot of people come back at the end of the year for commencement.
Paul – That depends.
Howard – That is very helpful.
? – Have you looked at the way that other alumni associations interact with their grads?
Howard – It’s a problem everywhere. It’s a lament throughout all you are so different in so many ways. Everyone has a different mix. The heterogeneity makes it different as a market. If you look at a curve, over time, Stanford was 50% undegrads/50% graduates today 40% are only undergrads, 10% are dual, and 50% are graduate students.
Kristina – Do you have a newsletter?
Howard – Nope. Alumni we kill you with communications after you leave. But not before you leave. Some of you may have been undergraduates here so you will know.
George – I’m sure you don’t need another thing for Alumni weekend but what about having a Breakfast/coffee between grads and current students of different schools.
Howard- We think that is important and have started working with science and humanities to get something going. The commission on graduate education recommended that every student who comes here for a PhD is teamed up with alum that chose not to go into academia. We have started to have conversations with others on this topic and we think it would be fantastic but have run into a wall. We think it would be a great service to graduates to give them perspective. Faculty often have their own agendas in mind.
Adam – Stanford is bad at supporting student to be faculty, not going into industry.
Maxim – In some places if you even mention going to industry you will get in trouble.
Cullen – The hard part for the faculty is convincing them it’s a good idea and allowing them some ownership and convincing them that there is something they will get out of it. They have a notion of what a good grad student is and convincing them that they can be a good grad student and not be in the lab all the time is difficult.
Howard- We are continuing to work on it.
Fen – Is it active?
Howard – We thought about doing it on a departmental basis but ran into wall with the chairs that weren’t willing to push it forward.
Fen – The idea that you could have some general bag of alumnus that could meet with graduate student who are maybe interested in trying something else out.
Dirk – what was main objection of department chairs?
Howard- There was general disinterest in matching alum with grad students for fear that that would take you away from your focus.
Dirk – You don’t have to pair everyone one on one but could get alumnus from industry to take grad students out to dinner where it’s a little bit looser.
Maxim – Why go through department chairs? You can establish office with people who are responsible for physics or another area. If there is a person who is in the med school but is interested in finance you can put them in contact.
Howard – we were trying to do it the standard way but I think it’s time we look at other ways.
Jenny – Thank you so much for coming.
Guest Speaker: Rodger Whitney from GHAC
Rodger Whitney, Kevin Mumford, and Jessica Englson
Rodger – I am the director housing. Jessica over sees grad housing process and has worked with grads for a long time. As well some of the GHAC committee members that we work are here. GHAC has been meeting for 20-25 years. We are please to be here tonight to introduce some new aspects to housing and grad student lottery. Before, I wanted to thank the GHAC. Is there someone from the daily here?
Niraj – Yes.
Rodger – Did you get the press release?
Niraj – No.
Rodger – Here is a hard copy. Thanks for having us here. For 5-7 years we’ve worked to try and get housing more stable and so students do not have worry about housing lottery so they can make a home. We also wanted to simplify processes as well as keep the guarantee for first year’s students. We also want to make it easy for students to leave in the summer which doesn’t put us in situation where students have to live here for 12 months. Rent loss from unoccupied units in summer translates into rent increase. In order to address all those we took a step back. Most of this was tailored towards munger which has now been delayed until the spring of 09 but we really felt with the new studios and more stable off campus housing market we could start now. With that and mind and those goals and objectives we came up with a plan. Single students who remain in single student occupancy housing, pre lottery you will sign a new contract and stay where you are as long as you are in continuing make progress to your degree and in good financial standing. Families and couples have been able to do this already. We now thing we have numbers to do this with graduate students. Those students who meet these categories can stay where they are. It does mean that you stay where you are. It doesn’t mean that someone who might want to be away for part of the summer can’t stay where they are. You can still sublease if you want or you can pay rent. The other side of coin is people who leave in the summer will have to go back into lottery as well as other students who want to go to a different place. Those who stay with it will get into housing. There just won’t be a guarantee. The hope is that when munger opens we’ll have the space to continuing students who leave in the summer. As you can see this improves stability. Application procedures will be simplified. Hold down rent increases and we’ll be able to bill summer housing more rationally than in the past. Stanford housing staff have shared this vision to get more stability. From the housing perspective there is a lot of cost to turnover in students. And there were a lot of upset students who didn’t know if they were going to get into housing or didn’t know if the housing would be long term. I’ll pass it over and then we can get into questions.
?? – This is FAQ sheet. This is for students who are committing to summer and know they are going to stay for the next year. The will do this through axess it will be a very simple process compared to what everyone has gone through before and we think it will create stability.
Rodger – If a student really doesn’t know if this option comes up unless you know you are willing to commit for the summer the best thing is to go through the lottery so that you are not under contractual agreement to stay.
Jessica- I just want to let everyone know there is still a good chance of getting housing.
Rodger – Particularly for those who stay with it. It’s really reshuffling but doesn’t change our numbers. For students who will live anywhere it’s really easy to put people. We didn’t want to wait for Munger. Kevin is there anything you want to add?
Kevin – I’m interested in questions that the GSC has.
Zhou – To renew contract do I need to remain in the same category?
Kevin – The same category isn’t enough you need to remain in the same room.
Rodger – People are in the same category and want to live together for the next year they will have to sign up again.
Zhou – My question is if I want to switch to another room in the same category.
Rodger – You have to go through the lottery.
?? – There is an opportunity to get a new room assignment in the spring.
Zhou – For example if I switch to another room in the spring am I still eligible to stay?
?? – Yes
Rodger – Yes you can make that your renewed housing how as long as you are in good standing.
Jessica – About 70% of continuing students and 94% of new students get housing.
Fen – Does this include the Stanford west category?
Jessica – Students in off campus subsidized housing were able to renew all along.
Rodger – You heard the 94% of new graduate students get housing, the 6% is because they are picky or choose something else.
Jessica – Since we’ve had the off campus options that’s increased the number who don’t get what they want.
Roger – We know that first years and new students will be in.
Adam – It seems like you are extending the first year guarantee first, second, third and fourth until your fifth year when you don’t know when you are going to graduate and you need to go into the lottery again.
Jessica – if you were going to commit you only need to know you plans a month in advance and you can get out of the contract.
Kevin – If you find a room in the middle of the year you can move there.
Rodger – We hope we can move away from the number of years eligible for housing. We are not ready to quite open that door year. We will be looking at this very closely. It’s not a pilot it’s a change in policy but we will come and look back at it again.
Shireen – I’m at law school lost housing lottery this year. Law school different because we have to go somewhere else during the summer. PhD students can stay and do research but we don’t have the option. The year long priority program isn’t’ going to help the law students.
Rodger – I think munger is going to address that students because law students very are very different.
Shireen – My concern is that munger is going to be very expensive. Law students would feel that crunch because there is already lack of affordable housing.
Rodger – We do know that law students caught in this situation and there are law students who decide to make rent and sublease in the summer.
Jessica – As a step to renewal we had to commit to summer. Which pretty much says if you are living on campus living over summer. Since we aren’t going to do this it will be easier for people coming back to have more priority. We are also going to increase the number of spaces that are dedicated to 9 month students.
Kevin – we just created some new ones in rains and studio 1.
Kristina – Does this mean that you can have a consistent housing price per quarter rather than having a higher cost in fall quarter?
Jessica – We charge per day of the quarter and there are more days in the fall quarter.
Kristina – That’s true, but students get paid the same amount per quarter not per day in the quarter.
Kevin – We tried talking to the controller’s office but it didn’t work.
Rodger – There are people who wanted to pay monthly. There is some effort to get that sort of process. It’s not a housing policy.
Fen – How does interim housing fit into this? Is interim housing still going to be the same policy that you have to have summer housing? Is that only for housing starting right at the fall?
Jessica – If you are here summer and stay through fall you would have summer contract and stay through the fall. It has to go on your bill as a separate item right now but trying to change that. It’s the same thing as between spring and summer quarter.
Rodger – we’re looking at it like off campus housing. That housing is used during that time.
Fen – It’s not an issue of cost it’s an issue of getting the housing. I couldn’t get the housing I had housing in EV and had to live in conference housing in the summer. I called and said I couldn’t get housing in summer. Why is it that you can’t have interim housing?
?? – If you apartment is available you can move it. You may have got misinformation.
Rodger – this is going to help people who are coming early get in earlier.
?? – Maybe the person who you talked to didn’t understand that you were a student.
Paul – Thank you for coming and giving us this information it’s very interesting.
Funding Proposal for the Formal (Paul, Fen, and Maxim)
Paul – We are doing winter formal for next quarter and have the option to add a live band (Tainted love) but in order to do that we need to find out whether we can increase the budget by $10 000.
Adam – Are you raising tix prices?
Fen – The event is costing more because it is in a mansion in san jose. We are already over budget and so are thinking of raising prices from $25 to $27. If we have this additional funding that would help us lower the price back to $25. If we increase the price to $30 which is something I’ve talked about, $30 would be enough to cover everything. Approving this money doesn’t mean that we will spend it; it just gives us options for the event.
Adam – I want to have it sustainable to we’re not dipping into reserves every year.
Paul – Adam’s point is we want ticket costs to reflect the cost of the event.
Fen – At this pint $25-30 is not going to cover what we are doing.
Adam – I mean I want to use what we’ve allocated to cover the event and not dip into reserves every year.
Jeff – Is there a point that we may have people who aren’t interested in coming if there is a band? Are there people who would be more interested in a DJ?
Fen – We are having more than one room and the band won’t play all night.
Jeff – how much does the band cost?
Fen – $8000.
Kristina – How much do we currently have allocated for the event?
Paul – $16 000
George – Are you leaning to raising prices?
Fen – It depends. I would like not to.
Kristina – Who attended the formal last year?
Donna – Pretty much every one. Last year there was a mix. Pretty much anyone could attend but people from biosciences.
Kristina – Both on and off campus students?
Fen – A fair number of people drove from off campus?
Paul – We really need to get this to a vote.
George – Can we vote with a recommendation that we raise the price to $30?
Fen – Would you guys come if we raised the price to $30?
Adam – I don’t think it would change anyone’s decision.
Paul – Let’s bring this to a vote. All those in favor? All those opposed? All those abstaining? [9-0-3]. That passes.
Paul – Is there any new business? (none) Seeing none we can adjourn the meeting.