The Graduate Student Council (GSC) prepared to transfer power to the 2021-22 council and amended a previous resolution that urged the University to exempt transfer unit credits taken during this academic year from its limit.
Graduate students will vote in a new council starting on April 29 as part of the Associated Students of Stanford University general election. The results will be announced on May 3.
The GSC is assembling documents that will help transfer institutional knowledge from this council to the next. GSC co-chair and fifth-year theater and performance studies Ph.D. student Kari Barclay proposed that councilors write short descriptions of what they found most rewarding about working on the council, give a brief description of their position and include lessons they wish they had known when they started their tenures.
As of April 14, five days before the filing deadline, only 10 people had signed up to run for GSC, despite 15 available positions. When the slots are not filled during the election, GSC leadership will sometimes reach out to individuals and ask them to join the council, Barclay said.
The lack of participation in GSC elections has been a perennial issue for the Council, according to Barclay.
Apathy toward student government within the graduate student community may be a function of the spread-out nature and diversity of graduate programs at Stanford, added Sanna Ali, a councilor and fourth-year communication Ph.D. student.
“It’s really hard to feel connected,” Ali said, explaining that some graduate students might feel they do not have time to participate or pay close attention to student government. “People want to be adults and be out in the real world off campus, and there’s not as much motivation to be part of student government.”
The pandemic has compounded the lack of awareness: Traditionally, the GSC would host social events for graduate students, but without those events this year, the GSC has had to sacrifice exposure, according to co-chair Will Paisley ’20 M.A. ’21.
The Council also unanimously amended a joint resolution passed in November that encouraged Stanford to accept up to 15 quarter units of transfer credits from accredited universities without counting them toward the limit of 90 quarter units. The original resolution sought to accommodate graduate students’ financial and medical challenges.
Wednesday’s amendment attempts to clarify the resolution and broaden its scope to include any active undergraduate student or coterm with an active undergraduate career during the 2020-21 academic year.
The amendment was uniquely time-sensitive, as both the GSC and Undergraduate Senate hope that the Faculty Senate will consider the amended resolution in its next meeting on Thursday.