GSC reviews elections, funding bylaws

April 15, 2010, 1:04 a.m.

Wednesday’s Graduate Student Council meeting was dominated by number crunching and funding concerns as council members debated next year’s budget and the Funding Committee’s proposed bylaw updates.

The council also mentioned concerns about a sophomore senator-elect who is going abroad next fall, but ultimately dismissed it as an undergraduate issue.

Robert Hennessy, a graduate student in electrical engineering, also updated the council about the news last week that some undergraduates would be housed in Rains starting next year. According to Hennessy, Buildings 201 and 202 in Rains are now planned for undergraduates; meaning graduate students would not have to be relocated.

“The Rains situation has been resolved successfully,” he said. “Housing and ResEd are reconsidering the decision.”

Funding Bylaws Change

Major changes to the Funding Committee bylaws included a change in the soft cap for Voluntary Student Organization (VSO) funding, a clarification of the “copies” section and putting “what [the Funding Committee] does already in writing,” said Krystal St. Julien, a second-year graduate student in biochemistry.

The maximum funding per fiscal year per VSO would be lowered to $6,000 from $8,000. According to Funding Committee Deputy Chair Justin Brown, a fourth-year graduate student in geophysics, since only two groups requested an amount more than that this fiscal year, the change would not make a great difference.

Ryan Peacock, a doctoral student in chemical engineering, said the change would only help redistribute resources.

“We have hundreds of VSOs, and if everyone started requesting at the same amount of funding, then we would be out of money,” he said.

Joint graduate-undergraduate events would be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

Additionally, marketing expenses per VSO per quarter would be capped at $10. Use of Facebook events would be encouraged, while the use of Facebook ads would be discouraged and not funded by the Funding Committee.

Fundraisers, conferences, information sessions and academic seminars also would not be funded by the GSC.  Food caps were also lowered by $2 per attendee at each event.

“We already do that though,” St. Julien said. “It’s just a clarification.”

Peacock, the GSC financial officer, proposed next year’s budget. Among the changes are the elimination of a paid FLiCKS coordinator position and Grad Night at FLiCKS, approved by council members with an 8-3 vote, with two members abstaining.

Council members discussed the auditor position for graduate events, disagreeing on whether the job should be done by one or two people. About $1,000 dollars has been allocated for this position.

More discussion will follow next week as council members evaluate the changes and provide feedback.

Election Review

Elections Commissioner Quinn Slack ’11 provided an election season wrap-up, opening up the floor to comments on vote results.  Council members brought up Ben Jensen ’12, the senator-elect who plans to go abroad in the fall, and senators-elect Rebecca Sachs ’13 and Carolyn Simmons ’13, who drew criticism when they lost the endorsement of the Green Alliance for Innovative Action over fliers.

The council ultimately dismissed the debate, saying it belonged to the Senate and Elections Commission to resolve.

In other election news, though no candidate ran for the School of Education representative position, Slack said one student received three write-in votes and the former School of Education representative, Jon McNaughtan received two write-in votes.

Slack said he would release the name of the student who received three write-in votes after the student has been notified and if he or she agrees to accept the responsibility.

“So, we might actually have a full GSC!” Slack said.

GSC member-elect St. Julien was confirmed by the council as Funding Committee chair for 2010-11 after working closely within the committee for the last two quarters. She is set to be officially confirmed by the new GSC at a later date, but will assume all responsibilities immediately.

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