The Graduate Student Council (GSC) unanimously approved the 2022 Constitutional Reform Act, adding six amendments to the Spring 2022 Associated Students of Stanford University (ASSU) General Election ballot, during its Wednesday meeting.
The councilors hope that the second time’s the charm for these reforms, many of which failed to pass during the 2021 ASSU election after graduate student voter participation failed to meet the required 15% threshold. Among the proposals on the ballot are amendments that would allow for the implementation of a single transferable vote system for future ASSU elections and clarify financial and judicial language in the ASSU Constitution. Two other amendments propose the removal of gendered language from the document and add an explicit non-discrimination statement.
The sole new amendment on the 2022 ballot, which would establish an inspector general position in the ASSU, is meant to aid understanding of governing documents and investigation into whether these documents are being followed.
Councilors also unanimously passed a bill that would consider the Escondido Village Families housing organization as “essentially under the control of students,” and therefore eligible for an annual grant. Because the organization is not listed as a voluntary student organization, it was excluded from the GSC’s vote on student group annual grants for the 2022-2023 fiscal year, which took place at the previous meeting.
The GSC also heard from chemical engineering Ph.D. student Adaeze Undieh about a drag show planned for May 28 hosted by Escondido Village Graduate Residences Building B. According to Undieh, event organizers are in the process of working with local LGBTQ+ nonprofit organizations to produce a “part-educational, part-variety” drag show that may be emceed by a former RuPaul’s Drag Race winner and feature eight to ten performers. Though still in its planning stages, the event is meant to serve as a lead-in to Pride Month and “highlight the diversity in the drag world,” Undieh said.
“It’s an event that touches on diversity, that touches on Pride,” she said. “It’s a combination event.”
Councilors unanimously voted to approve funding for the event.
Councilors also continued their conversation from last week’s meeting regarding Stanford’s decision to discontinue a program that provides free CalTrain Go Passes annually to graduate students. Councilor and fifth-year cancer biology Ph.D. student Brooks Benard said that after receiving complaints from students harmed by the program’s discontinuation, School of Medicine student leadership has reached out to him asking how they could help the GSC advocate for the program.
GSC co-chair K.C. Shah J.D. ’22 encouraged student groups to send complaints to the council and also work to increase awareness around the issue. Shah said that demonstrating the program’s importance to the University administration is key to its continuation.
“They don’t think it’s a worthwhile use of money,” Shah said. “In order for it to seem like a worthwhile use of money, they need to have a lot of people pinging them about it.”
While buying monthly passes for students may be one way that the GSC could help resolve the issue on its own, said fellow council co-chair and fifth-year communications Ph.D. student Sanna Ali, the significant cost of such an approach would likely be more easily covered by the University. Ali encouraged continued conversation with Vice Provost of Graduate Education Stacey Bent.
“It sounds like people are pretty upset,” Ali said. “I think the more she hears from students, like if the PI’s of these labs are going to complain and be like ‘hey, my students can’t get to the lab,’ maybe that would help.”