Saturday, November 18

GSA recap – Nov. 8


Announcements

  • Student leaders proposed creating a new neighborhood council in Westwood to advise the Los Angeles City Council on students’ concerns regarding Westwood.
  • Westwood Forward, a coalition comprising UCLA undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, Westwood homeowners and business owners, said their proposed neighborhood council will push for more affordable housing and make Westwood more welcoming for new businesses.

Agenda

  • GSA approved adding the Hispanic/Latinx Graduate Student Association to the GSA Student Interest Board, which consists of graduate student groups representing different communities, such as African-American students and international students. The Hispanic/Latinx Graduate Student Association’s addition to the GSA Student Interest Board increases its annual funding allocation to $3,000.
  • GSA approved allocating $95,687.12 in surplus student fees from the past fiscal year to fund various costs, including social events such as GradBar, a new photocopier needed for day-to-day operations and a career and leadership series designed for international students.
  • GSA approved multiple funding allocations to the president, internal vice president, external vice president and academic affairs offices.
  • GSA also approved allocating $26,187.12 to pay off outstanding bills and invoices from past expenditures.
  • The association approved sending a letter to Los Angeles City Councilmember Paul Koretz to support fast casual restaurants in Westwood. The letter calls for the Westwood Village Specific Plan, which outlines zoning regulations, to be updated to make it easier for new businesses to open in Westwood.

Officer reports

  • GSA President Michael Skiles said he and other members of the University of California Council of Student Body Presidents met with UC President Janet Napolitano two weeks ago. He said he advocated for worker’s compensation benefits for graduate students who work in UC spaces, such as research labs, but receive external funding. Currently, those students do not receive coverage because they are not considered university employees, Skiles added. He said the UC is currently looking into outside vendors that can cover worker’s compensation for those students.
  • Alexander Fung, vice president of internal affairs, said his office is working on ongoing sustainability projects like the Weyburn Terrace Gardening Initiative, to eliminate waste in UCLA and help UCLA make progress in its plan to have zero waste by 2020.
  • Parshan Khosravi, vice president of external affairs, said he thinks the Congressional Republican tax plan announced last week will negatively impact graduate students. He added his office will hold a phone banking session in the future for graduate and professional students to call congressional officials and demand changes to the proposed legislation.
  • Graduate student researchers can unionize because Gov. Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 201 into law last month, Khosravi said. He added his office will organize a campaign to inform graduate students of their labor rights and bargaining powers.
  • Khosravi also said his office talked with UC Regent John Pérez during the UCSA board meeting at UC Irvine last week and asked the UC to increase student workers’ minimum wage and create policies to protect undocumented students and other marginalized communities on UC campuses.
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