At their meeting Tuesday evening, the Graduate and Professional Student Council passed a resolution encouraging Housing, Dining and Residence Life to prioritize graduate students’ housing concerns.
The three-part resolution urged administrators to restore the program coordinator position which focused on graduate housing and called upon the GPSC community housing subcommittee to update the housing information and neighborhood report on the GPSC website. The resolution encouraged the subcommittee and the potential future program coordinator to build relationships with the Durham community to advocate for improved housing situations.
President Amol Yadav, a fourth-year Ph.D. candidate in biomedical engineering, said that there is currently no member of the HDRL staff that focuses on the housing needs of graduate students.
“Larry Moneta is waiting for [the resolution] eagerly,” Yadav said, noting that the administration has been aware of the housing problems for a while, but Moneta, Vice President for Student Affairs, was waiting to act until he received official documentation.
Yadav added that he expects to see the beginning of the changes implemented within a month.
In addition, the group discussed its involvements with other initiatives on-campus.
In light of student movements to promote endowment transparency—including DukeOpen and Divest Duke—Attorney General Brad Hover, a fifth-year Ph.D. candidate in biochemistry, introduced a new subcommittee to report the pros and cons of endowment transparency.
“The idea is to form a committee to investigate what would be the impacts of supporting the movements for endowment transparency,” Hover said.
Duke Student Government President Stefani Jones, a senior, spoke to the GPSC general assembly about the overlap between concerns of graduate and undergraduate students. She noted that DSG and GPSC can work together to better serve the entire student body.
In order to give GPSC representatives a clearer picture of DSG's role, Jones explained the structure and year-long goals of the undergraduate body.
“A lot of what we are working on this year has to do with the changes going on on campus, mainly with the construction on West Campus,” Jones said.
She noted that another major goal for the year is to work on the gender violence prevention policies on campus.
GPSC Vice President Shannon O'Connor, a fifth-year PhD/MD candidate in biomedical engineering, said that last year the general assembly was interested in supporting DSG’s work to prevent gender and sexual violence, but was not sure how graduate students could best get involved.
“I don’t see any reason why graduate students can't be incorporated into the program,” Jones said.
In other business:
Yadav opened a discussion with the representatives on the potential impacts of funding cuts at the National Institutes of Health.
"There are rumors and some of us have friends that have been encouraged to switch labs because of the funding cuts,” O'Connor said.
Several representatives voiced concerns regarding the impacts of budgetary constraints within their departments. O’Connor encouraged representatives to share experiences and to ask other individuals in their schools if they have felt these effects.
Communications Coordinator Fumiko Chino, a fourth-year medical student, announced an open contest to create a new GPSC logo.