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GSC cuts back on funding for student groups due to stagnant student fees following pandemic

GSC plans to support student food insecurity, continue to advocate for resources for mental health, sexual assault

The Graduate Student Council will limit the potential maximum amount of funding that recognized graduate student organizations may receive for this academic year, the Executive Board announced at the Council’s first meeting of the semester Wednesday evening. 

Funding will be limited to roughly $500 per semester for each group to hold internal events, initiatives and programs, roughly half the amount of funding groups used to be able to apply for. GSC President Kathryn Thompson GS said that though this was a “hard decision” to make, it was necessary because the graduate student fee was held stagnant due to COVID-19. 

GSC also adjusted this semester’s budget allocation. The Council voted to approve an $84,824 budget this fall, just one dollar less than its semester’s income. The budget allocates $20,000 to social events, $13,500 to conference and project travel funding and $10,000 to orientation — amounts slightly less than previous years. GSC also allocated $16,524 to the Graduate Student Bar for subsidized drinks for graduate students. 

In addition to approving the budget, the Council voted in favor of allocating $5,500 from GSC savings to its produce program. GSC partners with the Undergraduate Council of Students to host Produce in the Park, a farmer’s market that helps students facing food insecurity. As a result of GSC cutting back costs for the semester, the program will prioritize students who express the most need, relying on an honor system, Thompson said. GSC hopes to support around 100 students through its food program this semester.

GSC also announced its priorities for the fall semester, which include student COVID-19 safety, mental and sexual health and sexual assault response. Increasing financing and resources in general was also a topic of discussion, including establishing an affordable food plan and additional study and lounge spaces designated for graduate students. 

Dean of the Graduate School Andrew Campbell gave his fall welcome address to the Council during the meeting, announcing new initiatives to support graduate students. He gave updates on moving graduate students into River House, explained the process of continued funding for students impacted by the pandemic and called for student involvement in creating and working on programs in partnership with the Office of Global Engagement to support international graduate students.

A previous version of this article misidentified the the GSC’s budget as $82,824. It also incorrectly stated that the GSC had assessed student need in pervious semesters, that GSC planned to distribute 130 boxes on average per week through its food program this semester and that Dean Campbell called for student support to create working programs with the Office of Global Engagement to support Black students following the murder of George Floyd. The Herald regrets these error.


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