Council meeting minutes

October 16, 2011

Officers present: Reshma Nayyar (President), Emily Knox (Treasurer), Simon Knapen (Secretary), Laura Transue (VPEP)

Committee Chairs: Erin Kelly (TA/GA-Steering Committee)

GSO reps: see attendance sheet (Quorum achieved)


Call to order at 7:15pm

Consent Agenda

  1. Approval April, May and September 2011 minutes


  1. President
  2. Executive Vice President
  3. Treasurer
  4. Secretary
  5. GSNB Representative to Executive Council of New Brunswick
  6. Representative to Board of Trustees
  7. International Student Affairs Committee (ISAC)
  8. Teaching Assistant/Graduate Assistant Committee (TA/GA Committee)

Old Business

  1. Special Order: Changing funding policies: No alcohol.
  2. Voting for vacant positions
  1. Executive Vice President
  2. GSNB Representative to Executive Council of GSNB
  3. GSNB Representative to University Senate

Announcements by GSOs

Question time


Consent Agenda

- The minutes of the meetings of April, May and September 2011 meetings are on the GSA website and were approved.

Reports of officers, committee chairs and representatives


  1. Vice-President’s Leadership Cabinet (VPLC) update:
    These are weekly meetings with student leaders and RU administrators, hosted by the Vice-President for Student Affairs. The GSA President requests input from GSO reps, please contact the president before Wednesday afternoon to have your concerns voiced.

This Wednesday Interim VP for External Affairs Dick Edwards will be at the VPLC meeting.
UPDATE: Mayor Cahill (New Brunswick) will be at the VPLC meeting this Wednesday, October 26 -please email with any concerns you would like brought up]

  1. SAGE Coalition: The Student Advocates for Graduate Education (SAGE) coalition is a coalition of graduate student governing bodies from several major public universities.
    The GSNB, although severely cash-strapped, is contributing a token amount for now towards GSA’s SAGE line to show support and acknowledge importance of GSA’s participation in SAGE. If you or anyone you know would be interested in SAGE, please contact
  2. Dean Kukor of the GSNB will be at GSL to meet grads on Tuesday November 8th @ 12:30pm. All grads are welcome. (If you are unable to make it, please email with specific concerns you would like brought to his notice.)
  3. Journalist Herb Jackson’s request for grad student inputs on the effect of federal budget cut on graduate students. Unfortunately we could not find anybody to talk to him, which is a missed opportunity to raise awareness. Student loan recipients to pay $22 billion toward deficit reduction, and $6 billion could be ordered. You can find the story at .
  4. Daniel McArdle, grad student on Research and Graduate and Professional Education Committee of the University Senate: E-mail him ( OR Committee Chair Gayle Stein at with concerns.

Executive Vice President

Sarah Stapleton was elected as Vice-President for External affairs and Sustainability.

The GSA will be sponsoring a free meditation session on Mondays at 9 am, starting on October 24th.

The GSA film board has currently 7 members who organize weekly movie screenings, with an a turn-out of about 10 to 15 grads, up to 30 grads.

GSA Halloween party  will be held on the 28th, volunteers still welcome. GSO`s or individual grads. We acknowledge the French GSO and the JMBGSA for contributing their time.

The last organizational meeting will be on Wednesday October 19th at 7pm at the GSL.

We participate in ‘Trunk or Treat’, were we will drive to Union Square with a trunk full of sweets donated by grad students. Local kids can trick or treat from car to car, since their own neighbourhood is insufficiently safe. This event takes place on October 31th, we still need a

someone with a car. E-mail

We still need more volunteers for the Thanksgiving Dinner, contact

The Jorge Cham event was a great success, we are very grateful to JMBGSA for organizing.  

The community affairs board is organizing a book drive, both for local schools and schools in South Africa. E-mail


Reminder: You have up to 90 days after your event to hand in your post-event report with the receipts.

We are working on the web interface that will show your allocation.

The GSA will fund intramurals, talk to the treasurer.


Pansexualia changed its name to Queer Graduate and Professional Students Association (QGPSA).

Reminder: GSO`s need to be represented at at least 3 out of 4 council meetings. Any constituent can be a representative.

Events that are of interest to the larger graduate student community should be sent to latest the Sunday before the actual event.

Representative to Executive Council of New Brunswick

Jesse Hofmann (English):

  1. There is a new policy on the dissertation defense. This policy will mandate that no more than two members of the student’s committee can be physically absent (e.g. Skype, phone).
  2. Enrollment in the graduate school has increased except for two notable exceptions: a) Enrollment in the MBA program has dropped, which could have serious consequences for the facilities currently in development to house this program b) Enrollment in the education program has dropped.
  3. Students from Iraq are actively being recruited and will attend Rutgers next year. This outreach program is part of a larger move towards developing new revenue sources through international exchanges, etc.

GSNB Representative for the University Senate

Aaron Trammel is a part of the committee that works on devising a policy on video tapping lectures. The debate is going between banning it university wide or leaving the matter up to the discretion of the professor. The first option would provide more university protection towards possible copy-right infringements. The majority GSA council is in favor of leaving the choice up to the professor.

ISAC Chair

We meet every other Friday for a social event and grocery carpool. Please reach out for (new) international students, contact

TA/GA committee chair

The TA/GA Steering Committee held a meeting last Tuesday to discuss a number of developing issues, including

  1. Addressing concerns about TAGAs receiving post-salary freeze retroactive pay and
  2. getting volunteers to attend Labor Walks and phone banks prior to the November elections. Unfortunately, attendance was unusually low, so I'd like to stress that it's really important for grad students to take some time out of their schedules to get involved, since things that happen at the state level and at the local level of Rutgers have a profound impact on us (i.e. the recent health care law that went into affect that will substantially increase the amount of money we pay towards insurance premiums). The TA/GA Steering Committee needs student involvement in order to remain a strong voice.

Special Order: Alcohol

The treasurer proposes an amendment to the funding guidelines:

Rule 9.1: The GSA shall not pay for alcohol.

This rule makes a previously stated policy explicit.

Clarification: GSO`s can have alcohol at their events, but the GSA cannot be billed for it. Funds must be drawn from other sources. (Entrance fees, dues, Union, ...)

Important Note: Please buy all alcohol on a SEPARATE bill so that alcohol does not even appear on any bill you submit to the GSA for reimbursement (even if you are not claiming reimbursement for the alcohol-related items). This is helpful in processing the reimbursements as it avoids any potential confusion."

The amendment was approved unanimously.

Vacant Positions

Executive Vice President

Bandhan Vagheliya nominated himself and his nomination was seconded by Reshma Nayer (President) and Simon Knapen (Secretary). Bandhan introduces himself as a 1st year Master student in Computer Science. He joined Rutgers in the Spring and helped out in several GSA events among which the Mardi Gras party. Before coming to Rutgers Bandhan was the secretary for the computer science organisation of India.

Question from the floor: When do you plan to graduate?

Answer from Bandhan: I will finish in January 2013.

Bandhan was voted in unanimously as Executive Vice-President.

GSNB Representative to the Executive Council of the GSNB

Alexandra Walczak (Microbiology) was voted in unanimously as GSNB representative to the Executive Council of the GSNB.

GSNB Representative to the University Senate

Mike Haibach (Chemistry) was voted in unanimously as GSNB representative to the University Senate.


- Dean Kukor expressed interest to talk to individual  grads and GSO`s. GSO`s who want to meet him can contact the GSA secretary or dean Kukor’s office directly.

- University venues need to be booked well in advance, as they are in high demand. Venues become available for booking a year in advance.

-  Dr. Fred A. Bonner II will be arriving as the Samuel D. Proctor Chair in Education to the Rutgers GSE in the Spring 2011 semester.  He will be giving a talk about his new book Diverse Millennial Students in College including African American, Asian, Latino, LGBTQ, and bi-racial/multi-racial students.   The book forum will be held in Princeton University on Tuesday, November 8th (12pm - 1pm) in the Carl A. Fields Center for Equality & Cultural Understanding (58 Prospect Street; Princeton, NJ).  Dr. Bonner serves as a Texas A&M University professor in Higher Education Administration.  His research interests include college student development, high-achieving African American and Latino males in STEM disciplines, and millennial college students.  Please direct any questions to

- QGPSA asks for involvement as they try to work on building a community.

Meeting was adjourned at 8:15 pm.