GSC debates graduate student unionization merits

Nov. 10, 2016, 12:51 a.m.

The Graduate Student Council (GSC) clashed over the merits of graduate student unionization, received updates on planned social events and approved funding in its meeting Wednesday night.

The GSC considered whether it should seek action on issues where a graduate student union may one day focus on.  One issue raised at the GSC was summer pay for graduate students. In some programs, student work is only funded during the academic year, and students have challenges finding funding for summer research. However, summer research may be important for students who are working on theses and do not wish to fall behind. Health care costs were seen as another issue that graduate student unions might advocate about.

The conversation evolved into a discussion of the merits and drawbacks of graduate student unions. While some thought that graduate student unions could effectively advocate for students on pay-related issues, some were concerned that a graduate student union might disregard the wishes of graduate students. The GSC as part of its debate also discussed possible gaps in Stanford’s policies for graduate student maternity leave.

According to the chair of the GSC, the number of students who use Stanford’s legal counseling service has gone down. However, the GSC is going to put a link to the legal services on the GSC website.

In social updates, the GSC-hosted Thanksgiving celebration will have a relaxed guest policy. The GSC discussed how to organize space for the event and intends to provide separate space reserved for families.

The Stanford Graduate First Generation Low Income Partnership had funding approved for a fall quarter kickoff meeting. The GSC also funded a musical event on Jan. 28 jointly sponsored by several organizations to celebrate the Chinese New Year. The event will be open to all students. The Stanford Alpine Project, Pakistan at Stanford and the Stanford Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Engineers, Entrepreneurs and Enthusiasts group received funding too.

In next week’s meeting, the GSC and ASSU will be holding a joint session and will receive an update from Stanford Student Enterprises.


Contact Caleb Smith at caleb17 ‘at’

Caleb Smith '17 is a Desk Editor from Oakland, California and is majoring in public policy. Outside the Daily, Caleb is Director of news at KZSU Stanford, the campus radio station. Have a tip or suggestion? Please contact him at caleb17 ‘at’

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