GSC reflects on town hall, discusses safety and inclusivity

Oct. 25, 2018, 12:51 a.m.

In its weekly Wednesday meeting, the Graduate Student Council (GSC) followed up on last week’s Mental Health Town Hall and discussed goals to study mental health data, promote pedestrian safety and support transgender and non-binary students.

After the Council approved last week’s minutes, co-chair and cancer biology Ph.D candidate Amy Tarangelo provided brief updates on the Council’s efforts to address mental health issues and restore graduate students’ access to certain dining halls.

The Council reflected on last week’s graduate student mental health town hall, in which administrators and students discussed concerns about student well-being and campus resources such as Counseling and Psychology Services (CAPS) and Vaden Health Center. Councilmembers expressed support for following up on suggestions raised during the meeting.

“For a lot of these issues, the ball is in the courts of these administrators,” said Ph.D candidate Ricardo Peterson. “So I think, whatever we do here at GSC, we need to work alongside these same administrators.”

In order to have a broad, “long-range” impact on graduate student life, Tarangelo suggested the creation of a committee to study data collected by the Diversity & Advocacy Committee (DAC). The data may help such a committee examine how issues of mental health are dealt with in the graduate student community.

“This could follow the model of an ad-hoc committee,” Tarangelo said.

Tarangelo’s suggestion of creating a committee within the GSC led to a discussion of whether the Council would become more like the Undergraduate Senate of the Associated Students of Stanford University (ASSU), in which members focus on specific issues. In response, councilmember Melanie Malinas raised concerns about the financial compensation of GSC members.

“[Undergraduate Senators] all get paid an equal amount for all their work, and [GSC members] have stipended positions for various things, and so I think it’s a bit of a different model,” she said.

Councilmember and history Ph.D candidate Mateo Carrillo brought to the floor a discussion on the issue of safety at roundabouts and crosswalks. He specifically suggested that the University install motion-sensitive lights in crosswalks.

“My question to you is, do you think [pedestrian safety] is a problem?” he asked.

“I think [motion-sensitivity is] a pretty straightforward solution; I don’t know if it’s a cheap solution,” he said.

Malinas expressed her support for addressing the situation.

“I almost hit a biker once when I was driving,” she said. “I’ve definitely almost gotten hit while walking at least one time.”

In open session, the Council committed to drafting a bill in support of the trans community. Earlier this week, Tarangelo forwarded an email to the GSC mailing list in light of a Trump administration memo revealing plans to legally define sex as a “biological, immutable condition…determined at birth.” Tarangelo expressed support for those affected by the news, assuring that they “are seen and loved.”


Contact Charlie Curnin at ccurnin ‘at’

Charlie Curnin '22 is the editor-in-chief of The Stanford Daily. Contact him at eic 'at'

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