GSC reiterates need for mental health support, reaffirms relationship with R&DE

March 3, 2022, 12:25 a.m.

The Graduate Student Council (GSC) reiterated its advocacy for increased mental health support and called for suicide awareness and prevention training during its Wednesday meeting. 

Councilors have consistently pushed for mental health support during an academic quarter filled with loss. The recent death of Katie Meyer ’22 came weeks after a medical emergency at a graduate residence and just over a month following the death of third-year law student Dylan Simmons ’17 M.S. ’17 this January. 

Jarita Greyeyes, a councilor and fourth-year Ph.D. student in education, expressed concerns about a “toxic productivity culture” on campus and highlighted suicide awareness and prevention training as one avenue through which the University could better address student mental health needs.

“I think we need to be able to recognize the signs of someone who’s considering suicide,” Greyeyes said. “Training needs to be available to many people.”

Councilors also advocated for increased affordability and accessibility in existing mental health care, noting that current support systems can sometimes be costly and fail to meet student needs. Councilors outlined plans to reach out to Stanford’s Counseling & Psychological Services to find strategies to better support their peers.

Attention to affordability and accessibility was a common theme throughout the meeting, resurfacing during a conversation about a recent hike in P.O. box fees. Jason Anderson, a councilor and third-year Ph.D. student in aeronautics and astronautics, said he paid $182 for his P.O. box this year, compared to an annual cost of $76 in years past — an increase of nearly 150%.

Councilors expressed confusion about the reasons for the P.O. box price hike, and questioned whether it was a matter of Stanford or U.S. Postal Service policy. The price hike, Greyeyes said, should be part of a longer conversation about affordability, noting inconsistencies between rising graduate-student stipends and increased everyday costs.

“Maybe we should be proactive,” Anderson said. “Make a statement on what our expectations should be.”

Representatives from Residential & Dining Enterprises (R&DE) also spoke at the meeting following a miscommunication that stemmed from a past article in The Daily on the GSC’s calls for diverse food selections in dining halls.

GSC co-chairs K.C. Shah and Sanna Ali apologized for the way that councilors’ concerns were construed and emphasized that it was not their intent to malign R&DE staff. Shah and Ali thanked R&DE for their willingness to gather input from councilors and affirmed their appreciation for dining hall workers.

“We really appreciate the fun menus you put together,” said Ali, who also praised the dining halls’ Mardi Gras celebration on Monday.

R&DE representatives thanked the councilors for their comments, expressing their hope to continue speaking with the GSC. Representatives encouraged graduate students to apply for R&DE’s new student menu advisory committee as part of their broader efforts to work with the student community to provide menu options that reflect campus diversity. 

Brandon Kim '25 is a Managing Editor for The Grind and a staff writer for News. He is majoring in Philosophy with a minor in Creative Writing. Ask him about baseball, hiking very tall mountains and old-school Korean pop.

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