Tuesday’s Graduate and Professional Student Council meeting became heated at times as the council discussed the work of the Diversity Committee.

Last week, several students called for the resignation of GPSC President Abbe LaBella, a Ph.D. student in genetics and genomics, in a guest column published in The Chronicle for “misrepresentation of statements made by university and student leadership.” Leaders of the council’s Diversity Committee began their presentation Tuesday with a statement clarifying that they did not call for LaBella’s resignation and that she has not hampered their work.

Some students expressed concern with the pace of the Diversity Committee’s work—which leaders say has been focused on creating a survey to gauge student interest in a mandatory diversity training course for graduate students.

“It sounds like your committee hasn’t necessarily done much. You’re talking about the potential of having a survey now just to see whether or not you’d like a potential training course to be a possibility. That makes no sense to me...it’s just really confusing to me what you’ve done,” said Matthew Bunyi, chair of the Graduate Student Muslim Association and a master’s student in the Sanford School of Public Policy.

He noted that the committee had not reached out to his organization and questioned the ability of GPSC to choose representatives for the new Task Force on Bias and Hate Issues created by President Richard Brodhead to consider recent student demands.

Kwabena Badu-Nkansah, a third-year Ph.D. student in cell biology who serves on the Diversity Committee, clarified that the survey was meant to show administration that race relations on campus are a serious problem.

“We knew it was a serious problem when they hung a noose,” Bunyi responded.

Members of the committee acknowledged that progress has been slow.

“We haven’t necessarily hit the ground running,” said Rashmi Joglekar, a second-year Ph.D. student in integrated toxicology and environmental health. “I think these are conversations that need to happen more. This is very much the beginning.”

Deans from several graduate schools have also begun to consider whether mandatory diversity training would be effective, Joglekar explained.

Colleen McClean, one of the original authors of the letter calling for Labella’s resignation, a member of The Chronicle’s Independent Editorial Board and a fourth-year MD-Ph.D. student, blamed the problem on GPSC executive board members, noting that she felt they did not fully support the committee. One of the main problems McClean cited was communication.

“This miscommunication is perhaps largely because executive members in GPSC have meetings that they do not invite others to, and then they interpret the words of administrators back to the students doing the work,” McClean wrote in an email after the meeting.

LaBella noted that she hoped “personal conflicts” are subsiding and that GPSC can make progress on adding diversity training in the graduate and professional schools.

“Emotions run high, and we just need to sit down face to face and get everyone on the same page because we all think that diversity training is really important,” she said.

In other business:

Benjamin Reese, vice president for institutional equity, addressed the council about the administration’s actions in light of recent racist and homophobic events on campus. He noted that he personally would not be in favor of a mandate for all students or faculty members to receive a diversity class because of the importance of openness and worries that a mandate would create resistance.

The assembly also discussed the Young Trustee nominating process and potential adjustments to bylaws governing elections to make them more open.