The Graduate Student Council heard updates on the Executive Board’s ongoing advocacy efforts at its general body meeting Wednesday. Updates related to topics including the establishment of a Counseling and Psychological Services therapist and a separate physical clinical space for the Graduate School.
GSC led efforts to designate a separate physical clinical space in order to help graduate students feel more comfortable receiving support outside of the undergraduate community, according to GSC President Kathryn Thompson GS. In addition, Jamall Pollock, a CAPS clinical provider, will exclusively serve graduate students two days a week. The specific location of this space has yet to be decided.
The Council also discussed the development of a new protocol for running on-campus GSC events following an alleged incident of racial profiling at the Council’s welcome event last month.
GSC filed a formal University complaint after several Black graduate students alleged racial profiling by a third-party staff member working event admission at the GSC Welcome Back Event on Sept. 10.
The Board has since received a response from the University stating that the individual who was accused of racial profiling will no longer be working at Brown events, according to Thompson.
“This (incident) led to a broader conversation of how the Student Activities Office deals with events when it comes to graduate students, how (graduate events) differ from undergraduate events and what the protocols and guidelines look like moving forward,” Thompson said. The board plans to develop amended protocols for future GSC-hosted events.
The Board also addressed food insecurity among graduate students as part of a broader conversation on raising students’ stipends.
Thompson said GSC aims to make sure students are “able to make it to the end of the month and (have) that last week not be the struggle of a lifetime.” The Board is looking at both short and long-term solutions, which may include the establishment of “a Brown grocery store, expanding on the pantry in the chaplain’s office or an affordable graduate student meal plan,” Thompson added.
The Graduate Labor Organization reached a tentative agreement with the University in April that included a 2.5% increase to the minimum stipend paid to graduate students during the academic year under Brown’s contract with GLO, The Herald previously reported.
GSC also spoke about other initiatives to advocate for a new graduate student center and to improve transportation between graduate student work and living locations.
Elections for the GSC Executive Board will take place at the next general body meeting Nov. 3, the Council also announced. All Board positions are open for reelection, with all general body members eligible to run for any position. Current Board members, who will end their current term on Dec. 31, gave brief descriptions about each of their positions.
Also at the meeting, the general body voted to host Jonny Sun, New York Times and international best-selling author and illustrator, as a speaker in the Council’s fall 2021 Distinguished Speaker Series. The talk will take place the first week of November, likely in person.
Graduate student coordinators from the Undocumented, First-Generation College and Low-Income Student Center and Sarah Doyle Center for Women and Gender also spoke to members about resources on campus available to graduate students.