Package center break-in, roof collapse, spark worries in the GSC

Nov. 9, 2022, 8:16 p.m.

On Nov. 1, an IT custodian fell through a graduate student’s roof. Three days later, someone broke into the Graduate Package Center and took students’ packages. At the Graduate Student Council’s Tuesday meeting, councilors shared their concern about the incidents and asked representatives of Residential & Dining Enterprises (R&DE) leadership for answers.

Imogen Hinds, Assistant Vice Provost for Housing Operations and Stanford Conferences, and Jocelyn Breeland, Chief Officer for Strategic Communications and Marketing for R&DE, addressed questions about the Nov. 4 break-in. Jason Anderson, co-chair and a third-year Ph.D. student in aeronautics and astronautics, asked about the response of UG2 and methods being taken to prevent something like this incident from happening again. 

Hinds said that “Students whose packages were taken were contacted by the UG2 by email letting them know of the break and sent a reimbursement form that they could fill out. UG2 is taking responsibility to reimburse for any lost articles.”

Emily Schell, a GSC co-chair and fourth-year Ph.D. student in developmental and psychological sciences, also share concerns over how the roof collapse was handled, pointing out that “it seemed like the response really changed,” following pushback about the incident from students on social media. 

The graduate student initially wrote on Twitter that while they received support, their roommate was not given the same accommodations and support. However, R&DE later stated that both students received the same support and accommodations.

Schell also asked how R&DE is taking steps to ensure that these structural issues won’t happen again and how they will make students feel like their homes are structurally safe and supported. 

Hinds reassured the GSC that proper investigations are being conducted and any necessary follow-ups will be quickly performed.

Anderson asked if further investigations were being conducted to ensure the structural integrity of other buildings. At this time, Hinds said, there have been no other reports of any concerns beyond the roof collapsing in the graduate student housing but that the University will follow up on the situation if needed. 

The GSC also discussed emergency preparedness in response to the June power outages — specifically, access to dining halls, communication and what went wrong in previous power outages. Kristen Jackson, the Diversity and Advocacy Chair and a second year Ph.D. student studying Race, Inequality, Language and Inclusion, updated the GSC on their discussions with R&DE on food security and preparedness during emergencies.

According to Jackson, R&DE has determined what went wrong in previous power outages, and they are exploring policies that could be implemented to protect and support graduate students and their families during power outages. They are also moving forward in creating more universal and streamlined communication systems, Jackson said. The GSC and R&DE are also in talks to ensure food security in emergency situations by increasing access to dining halls.

Hinds and Breeland spoke with the GSC about a support and service dog exercise area that is being opened for graduate students. They are currently running into issues with card access to the area, Hinds said.

“Card access is one of the issues and trying to get that set up,” Hinds said. “We did finalize the signage that will be going up and the rules that will be in place.” 

There are currently no set dates for the area being opened up yet.

Judy N. Liu is a freshman from Fountain Valley, California. She enjoys embroidery, listening to music, and reading as much Agatha Christie and John Steinbeck as she possibly can.

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