The Graduate Student Council convened its third meeting of the semester, in which it elected a new Chair of Technology, selected commencement speakers and discussed proposed updates to the Code of Student Conduct with Yolanda Castillo-Appollonio, the senior associate dean and director of Student Conduct and Community Standards.
The representatives at the meeting elected Alex Parker-Guerrero GS, who had been serving as the interim chair of technology, to the position permanently. He ran for the position unopposed.
The group also heard excerpts of speeches from the commencement speaker candidates for both the master’s ceremony and the doctoral ceremony. After the speeches, the representatives elected Eunice Gonzalez-Sierra GS and Jennifer Thum GS to be the master’s and doctoral ceremony commencement speakers, respectively.
Vice President for Advocacy D’Ondre Swails GS also announced that after two years of service in his position, he will be stepping down. The elections to fill Swails’ position will be held next month, GSC President Alastair Tulloch GS said.
Changes to the code of conduct will be submitted for a Corporation vote in May after being finalized. In addition to Castillo-Appollonio’s presentation to the GSC, Associate Dean of Students and Assistant Director of Student Conduct and Community Standards Kirsten Wolfe discussed the proposed alterations with the Undergraduate Council of Students last night.
Castillo-Appollonio presented potential updates to the code including amended language, disciplinary procedures and new offenses. Castillo-Appollonio said that the updated procedures “simplify access to information,” create “a shared understanding, such as by embedding definitions in the code itself” and feature language that is “more restorative in nature and less nihilistic.” The update also includes new offenses, which are now called “prohibited behaviors,” Castillo-Appollonio said. Participation in derecognized organizations is among the new prohibited behaviors.
When presenting the changes before the council, Castillo-Appollonio emphasized the option of restorative justice. “There will be circumstances in which we will still use the traditional approach (to discipline), but there are going to be other circumstances where we’re able to use this other approach and think about how we can build community after harm is done.”
The restorative justice approach requires agreement from all involved parties and the respondent to take “responsibility at the outset of their behavior,” she said.
Executive board members also announced upcoming events and initiatives. Tulloch updated the representatives on the progress of a joint initiative with the Medical Student Senate. He said the initiative, which will start in the fall, currently entails “graduate students going to speak at the end of a medical school lecture” about their field of study.
Tulloch also discussed an initiative documenting the quality of graduate student housing. The initiative follows the creation of a working group with the University that collects qualitative data on grad student housing conditions through interviews, as The Herald previously reported. The initiative involves grad students providing visual documentation of issues they encounter in the places they live. “We’re just trying to collect that information so we can present the horrible conditions in which we live to the University,” Tulloch said.
He urged participation “so that when we actually present this to the University, it will be more compelling.”
Chair of Social Events Jeremy Lomax GS said the spring formal will be held at Skyline at Water. The event, which will feature a live D.J., food and drinks, is scheduled for April 27, Lomax said. Tickets are already on sale, but after April 20, they will only be available for cash at the door, Lomax said.
During the open floor portion of the meeting, representatives also announced events to be hosted by the Undocumented, First-Generation and Low-Income Student Center and the CareerLAB. They discussed the U-Fli Graduate Student mixer, which will be held on April 19 from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. in the U-FLi Center, according to the University’s events calendar.
A representative also brought up “GradCON,” the Graduate Student Career Options Conference. This event will be held on April 6 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and feature a variety of panelists, according to a University webpage.
The meeting closed with the students breaking into their Graduate Student Strategic Initiative groups to hear progress updates, collect feedback and discuss future objectives.