GSC discusses Chanel Miller, misallocation of student resources, future of food-insecure students

Oct. 17, 2019, 12:28 a.m.

Stanford’s Graduate Student Council (GSC) unanimously approved a resolution in support of Chanel Miller in its weekly Wednesday meeting. While Miller’s resolution constituted a large component of  the meeting, the Council also considered concerns about the Students’ Outdoor Center and the future of food insecure students.

Chanel Miller resolution

GSC Councillors unanimously voted in favor of a resolution supporting Miller, who identified herself as the victim of rape by former Stanford swimmer and convicted felon Brock Turner last month. The resolution comes after the University rejected quotes from her victim impact statement that she suggested be placed on a plaque at the site of her assault. 

Provost Persis Drell initially explained in a “Notes on the Quad” post that the decision was made because Miller’s chosen quote “expressed sentiments that would not be supportive in a healing space for survivors.” The University proposed two quotes of its own that were also taken from her victim impact statement. 

The resolution suggests that withholding the plaque does not only silence Miller, but also betrays the voice of sexual assault survivors worldwide. In arms with the survivor community, the resolution also calls on the University to grant Miller the liberty to choose her words. The hope is that Miller can express her experience at her own accord and stand as a powerful voice against rape culture on college campuses. 

These ideas were presented last week by Emma Tsurkov, co-director of the Sexual Violence Prevention committee on the Council.

Residential and Dining Enterprises update

Residential and Dining Enterprises (R&DE) representatives also discussed improving the University’s support system for food insecure students. 

Since August, R&DE has committed to hosting food pantry pop-ups with Second Harvest of Silicon Valley food bank that offer groceries to food insecure members of the Stanford community. In light of their upcoming event, the organization seeks to improve the experience such that food-insecure students across campus can access these resources.

“We’re trying a new layout also to help students get through the lines a little quicker,” said Eric Montell, executive director of R&DE. 

Although the primary objective of Montell’s work is to create the ideal framework for students who identify as food insecure, he also indicated a desire to minimize food waste. Accordingly, R&DE discussed the content of the recent pop-up pantry survey and the ongoing evolution of this initiative. 

The Council especially appreciated that the survey focused on food preferences, with the goal of creating an efficient and, ultimately, useful resource. 

Outdoor Center concerns

Another critical topic in this week’s agenda was student concerns regarding the misallocation of student resources in the Students’ Outdoor Center. A graduate student, whose name was redacted by GSC from the agenda due to his fear of retaliation, raised concerns about the June removal of the rock-climbing wall at the ACSR

“The thing that got me motivated to come to this place was the closure of the bouldering wall that made a lot of people very unhappy,” he said. “A lot of people disagreed with the closure of the gym, period. But, beyond that, there was no solicitation of student opinion whatsoever.” 

According to the student representative, the closure of the bouldering gym represents a troubling pattern in Stanford’s athletics and outdoor resources. He suggests that students have been distanced from decisions that concern the allocation of student resources. 

The Council was concerned over claims by the student representative regarding the former Student Outdoors Council, which he said was overwhelmed with administrators until it no longer offered students the power to make decisions. 

The student representative questioned the power of the GSC and whether it could inspire change in the Center’s leadership structure. The Council agreed to investigate these concerns. It hopes to create infrastructure that will allow students to voice their concerns with greater impact.

Contact Vedika Kanchan at vedikak ‘at’

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