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GSC endorses Jordan Hall renaming, calls for expansion of COVID-19 relief funds

EVGR construction to resume; graduate housing lottery delayed

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The Graduate Student Council (GSC) endorsed the renaming of Jordan Hall, and called for greater University support of graduate students during the COVID-19 pandemic, passing two resolutions in its meeting on Wednesday.

Councilors were also told that construction on Escondido Village Graduate Residences (EVGR) would resume next week, after a brief pause that started last Friday. 

The GSC unanimously passed a resolution, sponsored by Lawrence Bai, a fourth-year Ph.D. student in the School of Medicine, in support of renaming Jordan Hall. The University has announced that it will review requests to rename the building, whose namesake David Starr Jordan — Stanford’s founding president — was a leader of the American eugenics movement.

The second resolution, authored by the Stanford Solidarity Network and sponsored by fifth-year Ph.D. candidate in the Graduate School of Education David Song, calls on the Stanford administration to extend further support for graduate students as COVID-19 continues to impact their personal and academic livelihoods. 

The resolution asks Stanford to expand emergency grant-in-aid funds which typically cover financial emergencies and unexpected expenses. The resolution also requests that these funds can be used for living and research expenses. 

In light of COVID-19, grant-in-aid funds can already be used for “expenses related to academic activities performed from home, costs incurred as a result of carrying out essential research on campus, or accommodation for unexpected changes in family finances,” according to the University’s financial aid website

Kari Barclay, a fourth-year theater and performance studies student, said that the restrictions on the funds had already recently been expanded by the University, but the GSC also unanimously passed the resolution. 

Residential and Dining Enterprises (R&DE) Student Housing Operations director Imogen Hinds told the GSC that in response to changes in Santa Clara County’s shelter-in-place order, the EVGR construction project will be permitted to continue again.

The new order, effective Monday, extends the shelter-in-place order for the county through May 31 but eases restrictions on construction and some businesses that operate primarily outdoors. 

Hinds said that construction should resume next week.

“We’re lucky that it was only for a little more than a week,” Hinds said referring to the temporary pause in construction.

Bai raised concerns regarding students, currently living in off-campus subsidized housing, who may depend on the completion of the EVGR construction project for housing in the fall.

“At this point, we are planning on filling student housing on campus,” Hinds said. But R&DE is currently “looking at all different options” regarding housing, she added.

The graduate housing lottery, delayed from its planned date of April 27, was also impacted due to the county’s extended stay-at-home order, according to R&DE Director of Student Housing Assignments Justin Akers.

“Now that we have a better sense of what the next month will look like, we hope to be able to announce a new timeline in the near future,” Akers said. 

Contact Michelle Gan at mgan ‘at’ stanford.edu.

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