GSA recap – May 4
By Jorge Valero
May 5, 2016 6:43 p.m.
The Graduate Students Association is the voice of graduate students on campus. The association meets for forum every three weeks and takes positions on current issues affecting graduate students. Forum meetings are at 5:30 p.m. in the Ackerman Viewpoint Lounge.
- The forum discussed and approved a letter of censure against GSA President Milan Chatterjee. The letter states the forum found his violations serious enough to warrant a censure, and Chatterjee did not comply with the GSA constitution, codes and policies. It also states his decision to create a stipulation for student funding without bringing the matter to the GSA forum was wrong, and he wrote emails that openly criticized the Diversity Caucus and GSA members.
- The letter further states the GSA forum will support him until his term ends if he does not further engage in such behavior, but if he does, the forum will consider further disciplinary action. Katherine Myers of the Biological Sciences Council said the censure letter will go into GSA records and be available online.
- The forum voted to approve the results of the GSA election. Election Commissioner Sabine Jean said 1,473 students, or 12.6 percent, voted in the election.
- A member of the Education Council introduced a new program that would provide $1,000 to new and continuing doctoral students for research-related travel expenses. The program will be effective Fall 2016 for new doctoral students and July 2016 for continuing doctoral students.
- Kevin Sabo, University of California Student Association president, and Toni Gomez, UCSA graduate professional student advocacy director, informed the forum about the Student Advocacy, Governance and Engagement fee proposal, which seeks to create an opt-out student fee of $4 to $6 per academic year to fund UCSA. They said the fee would replace UCSA’s current membership dues, and they hope the new opt-out model will lead to greater student engagement with UCSA’s work. The UC Board of Regents and the UC Office of the President are currently considering the proposal.
- The project director of the UC Haiti Initiative, which aims to advance research in Haiti and provide Haitian students with help from UCLA students in completing their degree programs, asked for administrative and financial support from the GSA.
- The forum approved the appointment of a new events director, Fitz Gerald Diala, after the former director resigned.
- Chiao-Wen Lan, GSA vice president of internal affairs, said the Graduate Student Resource Center will present its strategic plan, which will guide its activities and outline student needs, for approval at its next meeting. She also said towel service is being reduced at the John Wooden Center to save water.
- Joel Lanzaga, vice president of academic affairs, said the economics department expects to have a shortage of teaching assistants, and is considering hiring undergraduate TAs. He said the GSA should find out whether other departments will have shortages and create a plan that addresses the problem.
- Andres Schneider, vice president of external affairs, said he has been collaborating with UC San Diego in Washington, D.C. on issues relating to graduate student debt. He said UCSD has been working on campus climate issues, which he said is rapidly gaining traction in Washington. He added they have been working on a campus-specific survey that would replace a cross-campus survey.