University of California, San Diego
Graduate Student Association
Council Meeting #5
Monday, December 10, 2012
6:00pm The Price Center Forum
I. Call to Order [6:02pm]
II. Approval of Agenda [6:02pm]
Motion to approve. Motion passed.
III. Public Comment and Announcement [6:02pm]
Cultural Coordinator: Nutcracker tickets available for pick up and purchase. Please forward
emails out when they’re sent.
IV. Special Visit by Dr. Kim Barrett, OGS Dean [6:03pm]
-Appreciate GSA’s partnership to maintain and improve graduate education.
-Topics for discussion:
-New chancellor has been engaged in graduate education and has been a hot topic
in his discussion. He is interested in enhancing the size and quality of the graduate programs. He sees this as something central to the continued prominence to the university as a leading research institution. Graduate students are the engine that drives the research enterprise here, your work is appreciated and recognized as something central to the prominence of the university. Your research and presence attract top faculty.
-Has engaged vice chancellors and deans in Strategic Planning Committee. Consulting company has been engaged to work with the campus on the Strategic Plan. The company is here to facilitate the university’s development. Requires input from all the stakeholders within and outside of the university. Graduate/Professional student town hall on January 14th at 4pm.
-Resources: Carefully examine what we have to support graduate programs and evaluate what else is needed to support the programs. Each of the individual UC campuses have more autonomy over their individual budgets, which means the campus can decide if it can forgo non-resident tuition for doctoral students. Additional philanthropy will be needed to support graduate programs.
-With the passage of Prop. 30, there is optimism that budgets and finances will improve.
V. Special Election for VP Campus (see below) [6:15pm]
-Platform statements from each candidate are below.
-Jonathan Monk and Jorge Leal are nominated candidates for the position.
-Questions for the candidates:
-What are your plans to improve/enhance the quarterly Free for Alls?
-What other types of events do you see yourself leading the next two quarters?
-On the topic of revitalizing the cafe at Mesa, can you expand on that?
-If you had a given budget to buy beer, would you go towards quality or quantity?
-What do you think about a GSA formal?
-What would you do to reinvigorate collaboration between organizations (both
active and inactive)?
-Move into closed session to discuss candidates.
-Votes taken by secret ballot.
-Jonathan Monk becomes the new VP Campus.
VI. Presentation by VP Academic [6:37pm]
The Chancellor’s Dissertation Award--has been a collaboration of the VP Academic and
-one student from each division will win this chancellor’s dissertation medal and
will be recognized at a banquet
-2 letters of recommendation (1 from chair of thesis committee, 1 from
-2 page summary of research
-Copy of dissertation including an abstract
-Criteria will reflect: impact, originality, presentation and quality
-A committee within each department will select the best applicants.
-The dean of the division will have a committee decipher the best applicant for the award.
-The chancellor has offered to fund the banquet.
-Is there a way that the best dissertation can be chosen without departmental politics getting in the way of the recipient? Ultimately, the awards will be chosen by the division dean.
-Eligibility period is 12 months long, even after you have left.
VII. Presentation by Transportation Committee
Jeremy Davis-Turak (current GSA rep) and Taylor Bright (former GSA rep)
-Transportation Services (TS)
-Oversees all parking, shuttle, bus programs, commute solutions
-100% internally funded (permits and citations)
-The more people that take alternative transportation, the bigger their deficit and
their mode of operation is no longer sustainable
-Transportation Policy Committee (TPC)
-Tasked to make recommendations to TS
-TS Master plan increases revenues, decreases costs for TS
-Raising rates, raise some advertising revenue, reduce/streamline some
-Projected net savings: ~$8 million/year
-Changes coming in January
-Torrey pines shuttle merged with loop
-Hillcrest shuttle merged with Old Town shuttle
-Reduces incentives for alternative transport (carpool, vanpool, coaster club,
pedal club) to 12 days per year (instead of 10 per quarter)
-Charge for disabled parking
-Remove reduced rates in East Campus parking
-“S” Permit eligibility: UCSD students only
-Changes coming in July 2013 or later:
-Increase parking permit fees
-Charge for weekend parking
-Implement premium parking meters at high-demand areas
-Remove overnight parking at Pangea, Hopkins structures
-Revamp bus zone (next slide)
-Issues with the Bus Zone plan:
-Eliminate free bus zone (unless $40 fee is voted in)
-Current discounted passes will increase in price (why?)
-Arriba, Nobel shuttles will be merged into MTS?
-Riding the bus will get a lot more expensive for students
-Undergrads on campus facing double squeeze: can’t park close to your
dorm, but the bus won’t be free any more
-B permits are currently $81 to be increased to $89 in 2013
-projected decreases in subsidizations for bus passes in the future
-Chancellor opposes weekend parking fee
-Amount of spots has been decreasing, TPS is trying to approach it from “demand management” point of view instead of a “supply management”
VIII. Resolution on Resident Internet (see below) [7:15pm]
Motion to postpone this consideration to Feb. 1st. Objected.
-ARCHAC will be addressing it ASAP once the next quarter starts. Debate would be better
when more of council is better informed.
-Motion to call to question.
-Resolution has been postponed to February 1, 2013.
XI. Resolution on Co-Op MSA Violation (see below) [7:19pm]
-MSA has been violated in ways that violate the GSA constitution, so it is the GSA’s job to
bring this matter up.
-It is up to the GSA and AS to enforce the Master Space Agreement.
-The Co-Op Advisory committee has not been involved with the process.
-Motion to approve. There was a second, but the motion was objected to.
-Co-ops are compelled to pay rent, but considering their financial state seems they are
unable to repay things immediately. There appears to be no evidence that supports the
existence of the co-ops.
-It may be better to create a debt relief program and remove GSA from the MSA agreement later.
-The 501(c) status is not a requirement of certification from AS and GSA as ascribed in the resolution.
-Annulling the certification from the previous spring would allow the co-ops to come back and represent themselves.
-Resolution was amended by the President.
-The resolution passes 14-8.
X. Finance Bills [7:38pm]
Office Supplies and Equipment: $1,500 to $2,000
-There is a new office and more things needed to be purchased to furnish it.
Council Dinners: $2,500 to $3,500
-Get better food for council meetings.
Grad Professional Week: 0 to $1,500
-Events for this week.
Diversity Request Fund: $2,000 to $3,000
Academic & Professional Request Fund: $8,000 to $9,000
because of consistent requests.
Motion to approve as a slate. Motion approved.
Funds under Request
Funds remaining if requests approved
General Request Fund
Academic and Professional Request Fund
Lounge Improvement Fund
Diversity Request Fund
Appropriate $500 from GRF to Masoud Jalali Bidgoli for ISTA Yalda Night. This event will have 3 sections. In the first section, CISTA board members will give an extensive description of Yalda night history and tradition in Iranian Culture. In the second section, there will be artists, singers, and musicians performing variety of folklore Iranian musics besides of some other performances. Following, we will then have a break for dinner/snacks and socializing. In the 3rd section, there will be DJ playing Iranian songs and a dance floor will be available for people to enjoy Iranian Modern dance. Total budget for event is $9,000. Organizers expect 100 Graduate students to attend.
Appropriate $375 from APRF to Kate Flach and Emily Goodman for Gender Beyond Boundaries conference. The purpose of this conference is to organize panels across disciplines in order to encourage cross-field interaction and exchange of ideas and methodologies, while also showcasing graduate research on critical gender analysis. Total budget for event is $500, $125 for which will be coming from the GSA’s Service coordinator’s fund. Organizers expect around 100 guests in total, majority of which will be graduate / professional students.
Appropriate $1,200 from APRF to Helena Sun for Advanced Professional Degree Consulting Club events. The UCSD APD Consulting Club (APDCC) will hold general meetings inform graduate students about careers in the consulting industry and to provide a consulting career building resource. The APDCC will also hold 3-5 larger events throughout the year featuring high interest speakers &/or consulting firms. Total budget for events is ~ $2000. Organizers expect about 700-800 graduate / professional students to attend in total.
Motion to approve as a slate. Motion passed.
XI. Committee Appointments [7:41pm]
-Academic--Anthony Schmitt--Planning and Budget Committee
-Internal--Fiona Nouhilly-SFAC, Brandon Stephens-Child Care Oversight Committee
XII. Call for Agenda Items [7:42pm]
XIII. Adjourn [7:43pm]
Members in attendance: Ian Parker, Chris Ahn, Dan Jacobsen, Cory Stevenson, Jeremy Davis-Turak, Michael Yu, Chris Abdullah, Anna Wakeland, Jackie Ward, Nathaniel Wood-Cohan, Carson Dance, Dan Frost, Roshni Chandrashekhar, Nima Nikzad, Rakesh Varna, Garo Bournoutian, Shayla Melo, Sayanan Sivaraman, Joe Smalley, David Idol, Jorge Leal, Yutaka Ishida, Robert Won, Rahul Kapdia, Hossein Sadeghi, Shuxia Tang, Gregory Wagner, Jonathan Monk, Alex Mendez, Michael Rivera, Nicole Henniger, Kathryn Furby, Lynn Waterhouse, Crystal Zhou, Harrison Carter, Scott Ouellette, Amy Sutton, Janet O’Neill, Jessica Blanton, Mat Jarvis, Emily Elizabeth Goodman, Jordan Gosselin, Ash Arianpour, Taylor Bright, Don Johnson, Shannon Muir, Scott Guenther, Lara Bullock
Platform for GSA Vice President of Campus Affairs
As Vice President of Campus Affairs I will pursue an agenda to enrich the social and cultural opportunities for graduate students on our campus by focusing on three main areas:
1. Roaming Socials and Happy Hours
As current social chair, I have experience with organizing and promoting successful interdepartmental roaming social hours. These events have proved to be both fun and very successful at introducing graduate students to new people from different departments. In addition, I will expand our collaboration with campus establishments such as The Loft and Porter's Pub to promote more happy hours with specific themes like Nerd Nites, poker nights, concerts and more.
Free-For-Alls offer social interaction on a larger scale than Roaming Social hours, and as such are more difficult to plan and manage. As a Social Chair under the current VP Campus, I have experience planning and running Free For Alls. I will ensure that Free For Alls run smoothly. Also, I am committed to engaging University Administrators over the enforcement of new rules that take away from the Free For All experience, for example the newly mandated 3 drink limits.
3. Cultural events
I will support and encourage cultural events both on and off campus. This will include discounted tickets to plays and concerts as well as field trips and tours to local areas of interest. Additionally, I will open Cafe Vita in Mesa as a programming space for cultural and social events. Furthermore I will encourage more sporting events between different departments/organizations on campus, such as a grad student kickball tournament.
The three areas above contain some specific examples that I personally believe would make a difference to graduate student campus affairs. However, as VP Campus I will be dedicated to listening to the ideas of my fellow graduate students. In this spirit, I hope that we can work together to further improve the social and cultural opportunities for graduate students on our campus.
Jorge N. Leal
Platform for VP Campus
Esteemed colleagues of the general GSA council and executive officers,
I would like to present my candidacy for the post of V.P of Campus Affairs.
I have consulted with Taylor Bright, our outgoing VP of Campus affairs regarding the duties and responsibilities of this position. Consequently I am now fully informed of the different responsibilities performed by the V.P. elected to this post. Therefore, I believe that my extensive professional experience as a concert and event producer will prove crucial in order to organize and produce the quarterly festivals, the GSA/OSG orientation mixer, working with the Social and Cultural Coordinators as well as to continue working on the Grad Student Happy Hours at The Loft.
Prior to starting my doctoral program in History here at UCSD, I worked as a concert/event producer and stage manager the Telemundo and the mun2 networks (properties owned by NBCUniversal) for several years. While employed for these companies, I was a key team member for several their live events and concerts. For instance, I have been the Stage Manager/Concert Producer of the annual Descarga Concert Series that takes places every summer at Universal Citywalk in Los Angeles and that expanded to the Freemont Street Experience in Las Vegas in 2012. I have also served as the Stage Manager for the “CDN/Tour 2011” which took place in the biggest Latino markets in the U.S. (Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Miami, Houston.)
These are some of the duties I performed; coordinated venue logistics with operators, vendors and sound providers, booked talent, coordinated travel itineraries, coordinated talent’s technical needs, created logistics plan, enforced concert schedule and coordinated with the many teams (marketing, promotion, TV production, etc) involved in these events.
Thus, if elected I will be able to apply my skills and experience in event planning and concert production to build upon the great work and procedural systems that Taylor Bright and his predecessors have already developed. Based on my previous work experience, I will be able to effectively coordinate with the staff at the University Centers to organize rooms and AV/tech, booking entertainment, and working with local food and beer vendors.
Furthermore, I will continue the collaboration with the Social Coordinator to allow for a smooth execution of the roaming social hours by working closely with appropriate agencies to obtain the alcohol and food permits. In addition, I will look into instituting an enduring system so as to augment the attendance and success of the roaming social hours as these events foster generative, entertaining and relaxing experiences to the graduate students at UCSD.
Also, I will work with the Cultural Coordinator to find new ways of informing and enticing graduate students to consider attending cultural event both at UCSD and around San Diego. Lastly, I will attempt to continue Taylor’s efforts in establish a regular program of Graduate Student Happy Hour at the Loft. One of the pressing immediate tasks is to finalize the development and launching of this program during the 2013 Winter Quarter.
I look forward being considered for this position by the General Council and if elected, work diligently to execute the aforementioned objectives throughout the 2012-2013 academic year.
Council Resolution Two (CR-02): Graduate Housing Wireless Internet Termination
WHEREAS, The Graduate Housing Wireless Internet program was initiated to provide internet to all residents living in graduate housing; and,
WHEREAS, After months of negotiating a proposed contract addendum for bulk internet service tied to an existing contract HDH holds with Time Warner Cable (TWC), HDH has formally notified TWC that UC San Diego is not interested in TWC's final offer in consideration that the contract was at a price unsustainable at the existing rate in graduate housing; and,
WHEREAS, Graduate students living in Mesa, One Miramar, Coast and Rita Atkinson apartments are currently paying for internet service that have not been provided by this program; and,
WHEREAS, There is a need for a reliable and affordable internet service for graduate students residing in Mesa, One Miramar, Coast and Rita Atkinson apartments; and,
WHEREAS, 80% of all aforementioned residents already subscribe to TWC; and,
WHEREAS, GSAUCSD does not find any of the proposed internet options acceptable nor timely enough to proceed with the program; and therefore,
BE IT RESOLVED, That the Graduate Housing Wireless Internet Program, having shown no results in eleven (11) months, is deemed to have failed its initial purpose in providing internet service to graduate students living in graduate housing; and,
BE IT RESOLVED, That the GSAUCSD calls for the immediate termination of the program; and,
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, That the GSAUCSD calls for a full refund of up to fifty four dollars ($54.00) for services not rendered to the residents living in graduate housing in addition to an immediate reduction in rental rates of eighteen dollars ($18.00) per student.
Council Resolution Three (CR-03): Co-Op Directive
WHEREAS, On May 1, 2006, GSAUCSD entered into a Master Space Agreement (MSA) with UCSD Food Cooperative, Che Cafe, Groundworks Books, UCSD General Store, the Regents of the University of California on behalf of the University of California, San Diego, and Associated Students (AS); and,
WHEREAS, By the definition within the listing parties a Co-Ops is defined as a "tax-exempt organizations"; and,
WHEREAS, University Centers (UCEN) has stated that AS and GSA are to be the executors of the MSA and to define, report and or explain violations to the MSA ; and,
WHEREAS, AS and GSA likewise retain the responsibility for enforcement of the MSA and punitive measures; and,
WHEREAS, Student fees have been and continue to be used to subsidize rent, utilities, and maintenance for the Co-Ops; and,
WHEREAS, In the recent University Centers Student Usage and Priority Survey 80% of graduate students rated the Che Cafe as a low to very low priority as did 78% of undergraduates; and,
WHEREAS, A recent facilities report indicates that the Che Cafe needs $750,000 in repair which will be paid from student fees; and,
WHEREAS, GSAUCSD find the Co-Ops to be in violation of the MSA in the following parts:
1.3.a That each Co-Op has renewed its registration as a UCSD student registered organization on or before October 15 of the year preceding the commencement date of this Space Agreement, and thereafter on or before October 15 of every year of the Term of this Space Agreement;
1.4.b.i Whether the financial practices of each Co-Op are sound, based on financial and CPA reports, including long-term budgeting for the maintenance, repair, and replacement of equipment;
1.4.b.iv Whether each Co-Op is financially solvent;
2.2 Provided that it has obtained the written certification of both the AS and the GSA, as provided in Sections 1.4(b) and (c) above, within ninety (90) days prior to the end of a Term or any Extension Term as to each Co-Op;
3.3 No later than January 15 of each year following the Space Agreement Commencement Date and throughout its Term and any Extension Term(s), each Co-Op shall furnish the University with financial statements, prepared by an independent, certified public accountant and certified by officers of each Co-Op as being true, complete and correct, including, but not limited to, annual statement of gross sales, balance sheets, profit and loss statements, income statements and changes to financial condition, which reflect current financial conditions of each Co-Op. Any information obtained from the Co-Ops’ financial statements shall be confidential and shall not be disclosed to anyone other than officers, employees or agents of the University and the University), other than to carry out the purposes of this Space Agreement and as required by law; provided, however, the University shall incur no liability for the inadvertent disclosure of any such information, and the University may divulge the contents of any financial statements of the Co-Ops in connection with any financing arrangement or assignment of the University's interest in the Premises or in connection with any administrative or judicial proceedings or request pursuant to the California Public Records Act;
6.4.b The Co-Ops shall comply with applicable laws and the University’s policies in all respects, including, but not limited to, (i) acquisition of and compliance with all permits, licenses, orders, requirements, approvals, plans and authorizations which are or may become necessary for conduct of the Co-Ops’ operations in their respective Premises; and,
WHEREAS, GSAUCSD finds Che Cafe in violation of 1.3.b: That such Co-Op maintains its tax exempt status under section 501(c) of the Federal Internal Revenue Code and section 23701d of the California Revenue and Taxation Code and provides the University with evidence of such compliance by submitting annually a copy of Form RRF-1, as filed with the California State Attorney General within thirty (30) days after its filing; and,
WHEREAS, Certification from AS and GSA was not obtained in the proper manner nor in the same academic year; and,
WHEREAS, UCEN has not enforced rent collection nor penalty as defined in the MSA; and,
WHEREAS, Co-Op rent, apart from being subsidized with student fees, is significantly lower than market or near market rate; and,
WHEREAS, AS certified the Co-Ops without regard to financial documents nor lacking non-profit status in clear violation of the MSA; and,
WHEREAS, GSA demanded documents of the Co-Ops and especially the Che Cafe on Monday, April 30, 2012 Council Meeting #15: these documents were never rendered; therefore,
BE IT RESOLVED, That GSAUCSD annuls all certifications as they are in violation of the MSA and GSA's Constitution; and,
BE IT RESOLVED, That GSAUCSD calls upon AS to uphold the MSA; and,
BE IT RESOLVED, That GSAUCSD calls upon UCEN to uphold the MSA; and,
BE IT RESOLVED, That GSAUCSD calls upon the Co-Ops to uphold the MSA; and,
BE IT RESOLVED, All rents and monies due to UCEN be paid in a timely manner; and,
BE IT RESOLVED, Any Co-Op unable to comply with the entire MSA within forty-five days (Monday, January 14, 2013) shall enter into default and shall be served notice; and,
BE IT RESOLVED, Any Co-Op not possessing non-profit status shall move into immediate default; and,
BE IT RESOLVED, Upon receipt of proper documents, as indicated by the MSA, GSAUCSD will then reconsider the certification of any Co-Op that is not in default; and,
BE IT RESOLVED, Any further breach or failure to uphold any part of the MSA by any party shall be regarded as a bad faith execution by GSAUCSD; and,
BE IT RESOLVED, Should any party fail to uphold the aforementioned conditions GSAUCSD calls for an immediate execution of section 18.3 in the MSA: Chancellor's Review Committee; and therefore,
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, That GSAUCSD charges the President, as the member of the Chancellor's Review Committee as defined in the MSA, to uphold the MSA and see that agreements and conditions as defined in this resolution as well as the MSA are fulfilled by all parties involved; moreover, the President shall report further to Council on further violation(s) of the MSA in addition to any action(s) proceeding as a result of violation(s).
Having taken office last May I have been working on several projects to make the campus experience better in terms of community and academic practices. Apart from my duties as chair of GSA Council and GSA Executive Committee, I have sat on the Academic Senate, Graduate Council, GSA Finance Committee, UC System Council of Presidents, the Fair Trade Advisory Board, and the Campus Allies Committee and have been in constant communication with the Chancellor, the Vice Chancellors, and OGS regarding the state of affairs within the campus community with particular regard to graduate and professional student issues.
With specific regards to community I have been working with the Chancellor, VC Rue, Dean Barrett, EVP Goodman, and VP Gosselin to help create new traditions at UC San Diego. To this end we will soon announce a competition to create an alma mater for our school. Furthermore, we also be announcing two campus-wide service / philanthropic based events one co-sponsored by GSA and Student Affairs and the other co-sponsored between GSA and the Chancellor. Earlier in the summer VP Gosselin and I worked to alter the library policy to be friendlier towards graduate and professional students. I met with student health to help expand health insurance benefits particularly with regard to dental care.
On the academic side I brought a proposal to the Chancellor to encourage programs to become more self-sustaining through the creation of terminal MA and MS programs. The Chancellor and I both have advocated for this at multiple levels throughout the campus.
I have worked with HDH, OGS, and Council to bring bylaws and regulation to ARCHAC as well as a proposal for expanded graduate housing and daycare in order to house not only the current need, but to expand the two year policy to three years and better prepare the campus for the Chancellor’s goal of a 30% graduate and professional student population. Further, with regard to housing, I forced the release of the Internet Status Report by the end of the quarter so that students might be able to judge if monies were being used effectively.
During the Summer I issued executive orders one through four creating committees to reform the governing documents of the GSA, a committee to explore fundraising for the organization, and a judicial review committee. Furthermore, I worked with UCEN and Student Affairs to facilitate the GSA’s move into the Price Center as well as the Black Resource Center’s move. I have been continuously in meetings with UCAB and UCEN regarding the massive budget shortfalls for UCEN. As well as helping to locate new and viable clients for retail space on campus to augment the budgets of not only UCEN but the library and HDH subsidizations as well.
Executive Vice President of Internal Affairs:
As EVP Internal, this quarter I have focused most of my effort on the transition of council and committee representatives. Council began in October and I conducted the annual representative training shortly there after. This year, I decided to abandon the format of break out sessions in favor of having various executives present on the duties and responsibilities of council, the nature and usage of GSA finances, and the role of the external affairs groups, in addition to a presentation on Robert's Rules of order (complete with a humorous schtick illustrating how Robert's rules is used properly).
With respect to committees, I spent most of the month of October finding individuals to serve on campus-wide administrative committees and obtaining approval from council. While many of these committees were filled quite soon after the call was sent out, a few committees were quite difficult - although I have recently found appointees. I have also worked closely with members of ARCHAC with regard to issues that have arisen in relation to HDH's incursion upon the charge of the committee to hear and review appeals to the housing policy. As a result, I have stepped in as the student co-chair of ARCHAC. The committee will begin meeting in January and I intend to work closely with Mark Cunnigham to help alleviate tensions that have arisen between ARCHAC and HDH and work towards addressing the issues that face graduate student housing.
Beyond these two primary goals, I have spent time this quarter finishing up my review of the GSA governing documents and dealing with administrative tasks within the organization.
Over the Fall quarter, I have consistently advocated to the Executive Committee that we move to Google Docs in order to be able to better store and access Council Business information rather than relying on the Drupal framework and arbitrary files on many different systems. In this regard, I have organized the framework needed to make the move on the Google Apps infrastructure that all the Execs’ @gsa.ucsd.edu identities work on. I have also created a similar framework for photos of GSA events so that they can later be moved to Picasa and linked to via the Website.
Per the Vice President of Finance’s requests, the finance bill request forms were updated to make certain fields mandatory allowing for more streamlined information collection and reducing the redundant emails needed to be sent out by the VP Finance.
I have also advocated the use of our Google calendar to update events on the website and to post notifications on our Facebook page. However, as the VP Campus and social coordinators are as yet in transit, this process has not been completely engaged in.
With the GSA office move, I helped set up one of two desktop computers and one of two printers in the new office. The Printer/Scanner/Faxer is setup to work only for Fax while the second printer can be used as a regular printer by all Execs. The GSA office is now also on the UCSD Campus network which required some coordination with ACT.
I run bi-weekly module updates on the website and have set up the desktop computer in the GSA office at the front desk to be regularly updated.
Vice President of Academic Affairs:
To kick off Fall quarter I organized the orientation packet and student panels. The student panels were a success, the room for the science and engineering masters student panel was filled beyond capacity. For next year’s orientation the science and engineering masters student panel should be held in a larger room (it was held in the Marshall room in PC West this year). The GSA exposure during orientation was expanded this year by the inclusion of myself, the VP Academic, in the “Why Didn’t I Know About You?” breakout workshop; here we identified the GSA as a resource for disseminating information and advocating on behalf of the graduate and professional student body. For next year I would recommend the VP Internal represent the GSA at the “Why Didn’t I Know About You?” workshop as that office was touted as the preferred contact for disseminating information. Also, I would recommend the VP Campus present the short slide show of GSA events that is shown during the “Welcome and Keynote” portion of the ceremonies.
All campus-wide committees have been filled with the exception of Senate Awards and the Campus Community Board, which has no cap on the number of representatives.
The activities of the Academic Senate have been relatively non-controversial; the largest topic is the transition to an open-access policy UC wide. The discussions in the academic senate suggest this policy may be initially introduced as an “opt-in” policy, which is significantly weaker than the initially proposed “opt-out” policy.
Grad Council has started with reviews of the departments of Anthropology and Physics. Any interested graduate student may contact me for more information on the department reviews. A contentious decision was reached in the graduate council to allow a M.A.S. program to breach course approval protocol in favor of a small group from a large aerospace company. This decision was made despite opposition from the GSA and some faculty. It appears this may have been done as a favor to the company due to their support of the program. Future grad council representatives should be aware of this should the same situation arise in the future.
Over the summer I met with the libraries to successfully negotiate for increased loan periods for graduate students. The President and myself also met with Catherine Freidman from the library to discuss the issues they were facing that may affect graduate students. We were informed that the Chancellor has verbally expressed a commitment to maintaining the library budget. Recently, I had the opportunity to meet with the UC Provost Aimée Dorr to discuss graduate student issues along with the VP Internal and the President.
Vice President of Financial Affairs:
I have worked with the finance committee this quarter and we approved 10 funding requests for events. The finance committee has decided to keep the maximum amount which can be requested by one student organization / group per year to be the same as last year which is $2,000.
I also worked with the Finance committee to adopt the changes proposed by the summer committee to the financial by-laws making the language clean. We also increased the minimum balance to be maintained in the Mandatory Reserves from $135,000 to $165,000.
I have worked with our business office and closed the accounts for DPC for 2011-12. Unspent DPC from 2011-12 was less than previous years and is $5,000. We are going to propose some budget amendments to use this money.
Vice President of External Affairs:
This quarter there was significant amount of attention on the elections. Since over the past 5 years we have seen an increase in tuition and fees, the external team concentrated on lobby for an increase in university funding from the state, and to increase voter registration among students. With the combined efforts of UCSA, we registered more than 40,000 students across all campuses. We also participated in the mayor election, with Shannon organizing the debate at UCSD where graduate students were able to ask questions. With the newly elected state assembly and a super majority among democrats, we will be planning a trip to Sacramento to advocate to lawmakers on behalf of graduate students.
On the federal level, we contacted several San Diego congressmen and met with Brian Bilbray to discuss the effects of the fiscal cliff with regards to graduate students. These discussions were continued during the SAGE conference that Scott attended via phone conference. We are planning the next couple of months to continue to lobby congress on funding issues that are vital to graduate student research, immigration reform for international students, and tax reform.
In my first quarter as Legislative Liaison for National Affairs I have been active on several fronts. First, in an effort to strengthen the Graduate Student Association’s advocacy efforts I initiated contact with UCSD's office of External Affairs. Because it is often the case that the University’s and graduate students’ interests align when it comes to national legislative issues it made sense to gain insight into what issues the University sees as important and to allow them to facilitate new ties with government officials.
To further advance, protect, and represent the interests of UCSD at the national level I work actively with two national organizations that represent graduate student interests: National Association of Graduate and Professional Students (NAGPS) and Student Advocates for Graduate Education (SAGE). In early November I attended the national NAGPS conference. As UCSD’s representative at the conference I attended several workshops and panels focused on pressing issues facing graduate students and elected officers to the NAGPS leadership committee. Additionally, I successfully motioned to amend the current legislative platform to recognize the importance of many expiring tax provisions explicitly for graduate students that were previously unknown to the organization. This modification will help focus NAGPS lobbying efforts on expiring tax provisions that have clear financial implications for nearly all graduate students.
As our GSA’s representative to SAGE I participate in monthly meetings by phone. SAGE is an organization comprised of R1 University GSAs, and thus are more focused on research advocacy than larger organizations like NAGPS. In my capacity as representative to SAGE I help identify important legislative issues and developing best practices for how to advocate these issues with government representatives. As part of a larger campaign organized by SAGE, I contacted local congressional representatives to discuss legislative issues in the post-election lame duck session that affect graduate students. Principal among these are cuts to research funding as part of the Budget Control Act’s sequestration and expiring tax provisions associated with the so-called Fiscal Cliff. These initial discussions with local representatives led to a meeting with policy staff members of Representative Bilbray’s office. I led a subgroup of members of the GSA Executive Council to discuss directly with Bilbray’s staff the implications of the expiring policies and to advocate on behalf of the graduate student population.
In addition to the steps I have taken on the external affairs front, which I recognize is my primary purpose, I also helped to increase political participation on campus by acquiring 1,000 voter registration cards for the graduate student orientation. The registration cards, while required for eventual California residency, have not necessarily been filled out prior to the registration deadline for the fall elections in the past.
Vice President of Campus Affairs:
GSA Fall Free For All Halloween Bash:
Fall Free For All was a great success this year with over 600 people attending this year’s event. Because of scheduling issues, this year’s event was held on Wednesday, Oct. 31, instead of the traditional Friday night time slot. Being in the middle of the week did not affect the turnout although the turnout most likely was a result of being on Halloween. We overspent the budget ($7,000) by ~$250. Even so we ran out of everything (food, beer, cups, candy, etc.) during the Free For All. Some attendees were upset that we ran out of food but we cannot provide more food without an increased budget. Also, for the next Free For All 12 large bags of cups (240 ea.) need to be purchased to ensure that we do not run out of cups. We will not use them all but we will not run out and the residual can be used at the Roaming Social Hours.
Entertainment this year was a DJ from the UCSD DJ & Vinylphiles club. The DJ was good and the cost was $300. We would like go back to having a band but again unless the budget is increased a band is not possible.
This year I engaged with University Centers staff early with regard to the Fall Free For All. We must use TAP forms for all our events which will be a positive long term development as it will be a comprehensive record for our events. That being said there is a bit of a learning curve with how to use the forms. Along with receiving training on the TAP forms, I met with AV/tech services and discussed the best setup for our Free For All events. I brought back the curtains around the stage which gave more of a professional look and only increased the cost $50. The main cost driver in year’s past were the “wall washes” which was wall lighting that was expensive to set up. There is no need for these in the future until the budget has increased enough to cover the increased food and expanded entertainment. It will be critical for future events to continue to engage with University Centers staff early regarding the Free For All events. This will make the organization and set up processes much easier.
This year the UCSD Police imposed a three-beer limit on the Fall Free For All. This came on the heels of a two-beer limit imposed on the GSA New Grad Student Orientation. It is still unclear why this limit is being imposed on grad students now. We need to further engage with UCSD PD to find out what is going on. The three-beer limit was enforced using tabs on wristbands. This seemed to slow down the servers dramatically although the servers themselves did not think taking the tabs were an issue. Overall the three-beer limit did not seem to prohibit grad students from enjoying themselves and is a small price to pay for having UCSD PD pay little attention to our events.
A major issue that did develop at the event was long lines at the beer stations. We cannot hire more servers unless the budget is increased. One thing to do is make sure the servers show up in time to have all the kegs setup 15 minutes before the event. This will allow them to have a number of beers poured before the event starts hopefully allowing them to get ahead of the rush. A compromise solution maybe to hire one more server (or use a GSA Exec) to float between the two stations and pour beers.
Because of a mistake by the previous fund manager our date for the Snowgoddess event in the Winter quarter was cancelled. I worked with Univeristy Centers to set a new date, Thursday, February 7th, and to get all of our Free For Alls annual status so that we can set the dates one year in advance.
Happy Hours at The Loft:
For the Fall quarter we started working with Brian Ross of University Centers to host/promote happy hour events at The Loft. During the Fall quarter we had a jazz night and a sugar skull painting event. Going forward we would like to have a number of event 5-6 times per quarter on Tuesdays. Possible event ideas include trivia, poker, board game night, nerd night, jazz, and other music events.
For the Fall quarter we were not able to advance on these events as quickly as we would have liked as scheduling and alcohol issues related to the Free For All dominated the agenda. Hopefully more can be done in the winter quarter.
As Cultural Events Coordinator for summer/fall 2012, Lara has sold tickets to two shows: Peter Pan and the The Nutcracker Ballet. Unfortunately, people backed out of their commitments to buying tickets for Peter Pan and so seventeen tickets remained. Tickets to the Nutcracker are still being sold. Currently, about half of the tickets have sold. Lara has also started a cultural events newsletter entitled The Cultural Digest, which is sent out bi-weekly. This newsletter updates graduate students about cultural events at UCSD and the greater San DIego area. Due to the fact that the suggested field trip fell through (to visit a haunted house in Knott's Berry Farm), Lara decided to lead a group of students to the two art museums in Balboa Park (SDMA and Timken) followed by drinks at the end of the quarter. However, because only two people RSVPed, Lara asked the students if they were still interested in attending a field trip with such low attendance, to which they replied no, so Lara decided to cut her losses.
As far as relationships outside of the GSA, Lara has been in conversation with ArtPower regarding Concerts in Close Quarters series, which would bring grad students across campus together over music and refreshments.
Lara is comitted to perfecting her role as Cultural Coordinator and keeping abreast of cultural events of interest to UCSD graduate students in the San Diego area.
Vice President of Diversity:
Since officially taking office November 1, 2012, I have worked with cultural organizations in organizing and funding events, establishing and reforming the committees under my office and working closely with the President to improve the quality of life and community for graduate students at UCSD. As your VP Diversity, I aim to improve the quality of life and community through the following initiatives, reforms and organizations.
Since starting at UCSD, I have found it difficult to navigate the student organization network at UCSD. I have been interested in finding and interacting with several cultural organizations such as La Raza and the Black Graduate Student Association (BGSA). These organizations at my undergrad institution served to unite the underrepresented community with a space for dialogue. At UCSD, this does not exist. In my time as a Mexican/African – American graduate student in Chemistry & Biochemistry at UCSD, I do not feel like I am in a welcoming community. I have seen my fellow underrepresented minority graduate students leave this place because their voices are not heard. In the scientific community, this is particularly common. There are not many underrepresented students in the first place, let alone any considering leaving their programs in the sciences. Retention levels for underrepresented students are also at all time highs. Nothing has truly changed institutionally to alter the campus climate. To alter and create a safe community for all graduate students, we need to redefine our own sense of community.
The first immediate goal to tackle as VP Diversity has been the organization and reform of my position on a grass roots level. Taking into account the importance of succinct programming and broader campaign marketing, I have gone about organizing several of the cultural organizations into the GSA VP Diversity Council. In a way, the council acts as a direct link between the GSA and the organizations planning events. The council itself acts as a platform for organizing events to systematically coincide with one another. This type of programming has a broader impact on the campus community and brings more attraction to the organization at the end of the day. Since taking office and instituting the initial changes to my post, BGSA and La Raza have met more and planned more than their relative history of existing on campus. They have events planned until Spring Quarter and are sending in the funding request for each event. I have made sure they commit to registering their organization each year. Currently, La Raza and BGSA are forming their By-laws to follow. Since taking this position, my role has been to act as a facilitator for these two organizations that are seriously needed on this campus to flourish. As a facilitator, I have seen the development of a strong partnership between these two organizations.
Through La Raza and BGSA, I am now able to tackle my next goal of identifying and assisting with all niches at UCSD. Through the GSA VP Diversity Council, I will be working with the grad families’ organization. I hope to collaborate with them on forming a campus wide event that is family focused. Families at UCSD are about as marginalized as underrepresented minorities. Most events are geared to drinking and partying. With grad families, I aim to bring the first UCSD grad festival. This grad festival would be centered in the Mesa graduate housing and bring together various organizations across campus. The integration of existing resources with known groups and organizations will be the key factor in the success of this operation.
Also through my grass roots efforts, I have organized and taken a delegation to the SOCC conference at UC Riverside. The Students of Color Conference or SOCC act as a space for underrepresented undergraduate and graduate students in University of California system. SOCC was a useful event in following workshops on “Black Radicalism” and “Translating Social Justice into Romantic Relationships.” I found the conference to largely support undergraduate students and not graduate students. This space was for students learning more about being allies for others and dialoging about the issues in the many communities represented. I sat in on the black caucus and was not able to attend the Latina/o-Chicana/o caucus or other caucuses at the conference that I would have easily aligned with. The black caucus was disorganized and very unproductive. The facilitators were horrible. These concerns were voiced by the UCSD delegation in an open letter to the conference staff.
In short, this past quarter has been fruitful in accomplishing my immediate goals for my tenure in this position. As the winter quarter approaches, I plan to implement the second round my reforms through my committees with the overarching goal of redefining the role of the VP Diversity at UCSD.