Graduate council debriefs post-formal

May 13, 2010, 1:01 a.m.

Discussion over an election regulation of the Graduate Student Council (GSC) engineering district spots arose during Wednesday evening’s brief council meeting. Council members also elected new co-equipment masters.

Coining the regulation “the separate department rule,” GSC member Addy Satija, a graduate student in electrical engineering and energy resources engineering, proposed an amendment for its repeal.

The rule, currently in effect, requires that the two allotted GSC engineering spots must be filled by students from different engineering disciplines. Satija was concerned that in certain instances, candidates could be barred from a council position despite winning a qualifying number of votes simply because of their departmental affiliation. For example, if a candidate received enough district votes to win an overall GSC position but was beaten by someone else in the same department, they would not be elected unless they won enough at-large votes.

Defending his position, Satija prepared a PowerPoint presentation to explain his stance, even though the rule did not exclude candidates in this year’s election. Satija argued in favor of a model similar to the current humanities and sciences district positions, which he said works more effectively to diversify its representative voice.

“This rule doesn’t actually achieve actual better representation,” Satija said.

“By design, fewer engineers can qualify for the council,” he added.

Council member Tao Chu, a graduate student in electrical engineering, agreed, questioning whether or not the average engineering student would even mind having a representative from another engineering department.

“How do we know that people don’t want electrical engineering students representing them?” Chu said.

“To me, engineering is one big, integrated school,” he added.

Adam Beberg, a doctoral student in computer science, believed the rule should remain in effect since it allows for all engineering departments to have a chance at a voice.

“There are a vast number of electrical engineers,” he said. “[Without the rule,] they can essentially dwarf the other departments.”

“It’s a good rule, so we should leave it alone,” Beberg added. “It’s hard for the rule to actually bump someone off the GSC anyway. We should let the other departments in engineering have their representation.”

Satija said the rule had affected election results at least once in the past few years. He explained that the rule had prevented two aeronautics and astronautics graduate students from being elected in 2006.

Voting on the amendment will be pushed back for later weeks to allow for further debate.

According to Satija, one of the programming co-chairs, Grad Formal this weekend was a success, with only one transport to the emergency room due to “excessive alcohol consumption.” Additionally, the student lost his jacket, he said.

“There was plenty of puking on the bus, but we didn’t get charged for any of it, so it’s okay,” Satija said.

ASSU Vice President Kelsei Wharton ’12 reported that the executive cabinet members have been announced. The newly chosen chairs will be meeting the GSC later this month.

Two co-equipment masters were approved on Wednesday evening: Ze Yuan, a graduate student in electrical engineering, and Di Wang, a graduate student in international policy studies. Council members also approved $535 for the Stanford India Association and $410 for the Association of Chinese Students and Scholars at Stanford.

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