News, University News

Grad Student Council opens fall semester

Council introduces new grievance procedure, distinguished speaker series, fall budget

By
Senior Staff Writer
Wednesday, September 5, 2018

The GSC also voted to approve a slightly larger budget for this fall compared to last fall at the Graduate Student Lounge on Wednesday.

At its first general body meeting of the semester, the Graduate Student Council updated academic department representatives on new initiatives such as a revamped grievance procedure and a distinguished speaker series. The GSC body also voted on the new fall budget and filled vacancies in various committees.

The current academic grievance procedures for graduate students were “last updated (in) 1973,” said President of the GSC Alastair Tulloch GS. Tulloch cited Dartmouth — which recently updated its grievance procedures — as precedent for the revision. Currently, a graduate student “must attempt to resolve the issue directly with the person or persons involved” before the student can file a grievance, according to the Graduate School’s website.

A working group of deans and graduate students came up with a new proposal over the summer to bring the grievance procedures up to speed, Tulloch said. The Graduate School will then bring the changes to the General Counsel and “hopefully” a draft will be available by October for the GSC to review, Tulloch added.

The GSC also introduced a new speaker series exclusively for graduate students. Chair of Student Life Jack Krantz GS introduced the initiative, stating that the series was created because undergraduates always “forget to invite us.” Krantz promised to bring well-known speakers who would be oriented to a “general audience.” The first speaker will be decided in a “month or two,” Krantz added.

Having already organized a forum on unionization, the GSC will continue its “information-gathering” process by hosting a town hall for graduate students to discuss unionization, Tulloch said. The GSC plans to hold the town hall Tuesday at 4 p.m.

The GSC also voted to approve a slightly larger budget for this fall compared to last fall. Last fall’s budget amounted to $74,355, while this year’s budget increased by 2 percent to $75,855. Treasurer Kara Lau GS presented the new budget, adding that conference funding increased by $1,000.

After graduate students asked for explanations about changes in the line items, they overwhelmingly voted to approve the budget. Funding for the GSC’s budget comes from fees paid by graduate students each semester amounting to around $60 per person, Tulloch said.

The majority of the GSC’s time was spent soliciting volunteers to sit in on its various committees. These included the nomination, social and student life, finance and Master’s advocacy committees. With a maximum of eight members for each committee, the GSC found enough graduate students to fill its vacancies. Committee members may sit on their respective committee until they graduate or resign at the end of the academic year.