Meeting Minutes- 01 July 2013


Proposed amendments to the constitution - Article II Section 3 (Representation) and Article II section 5 (Quorum)

  • Quick summary of changes, voted to approve unanimously

Committee Updates
Research Committee ­ Crystal Richardson (Oat)

  • Advocacy effort for research funding in collaboration with PITT and AAU
    • Want all AAU universities to attend a gathering in DC to submit a letter in support of increased research funding, mostly going to be work done by Pitt, but they would like us to be a part
    • If interested in getting involved, contact Crystal

Social Committee – Jake Borish

  • Wine tasting recap
    • Well attended, generally well received
  • BBQ/Movie night recap
    • Moved inside due to rain, decided not to charge for food, which worked out well since screen rental as no longer required
    • Final budget ~$1300, ~130 people in attendance
    • Twice the attendance as last year, went well
    • Need to look into logistics for moving outdoor events to rain locations in the future

Initiatives Committee ­ Amy Grady

  • DGS/Tuition notification letter and update
    • Email sent out this morning detailing directions on how DGS needs to advocate for advanced grads
    • Also included a report card for DGSs who are not advocating effectively
    • Expect this issue to be ongoing throughout the next year to help avoid the lack of notice experienced this year
    • Q: Chris Cornelius- How are grads supposed to know about how this will be handled (eg. privacy)?
      • A: Amy Grady- In order to move this up the chain of command, personal information is necessary. Anonymous submissions are unlikely to spur any action.
    • Q: Chris Cornelius- So what happens if the DGS comes back and says there is no funding for advanced grads for the next year?
      • A: Amy Grady- The message we have gotten from Dean Zelikow is that we have to go through official channels (DGSs) first, and if that fails we can go to him directly. Advocacy needs to happen on an individual level for this year and next.
    • Q: Ajay Chandra- Can this be communicated to grad students as a whole?
      • A: Amy Grady- The problem is that the administration is not completely certain exactly how this is going to work in the future, so it is difficult to make a statement that applies to all departments
  • Tuition Waivers:
    • There is some uncertainty about whether tuition waivers for TA’s will be continued in the future
    • Q: Ajay Chandra- how can we communicate this to students so they are concerned about this?
      •  A: Ben and Oat- This could be very destructive seeing as the majority of departments are not affected
    • Q: Madison- Could we send out an email to reps asking them to assess how this is going to affect departments down the line?
      • A: This could be effective, we will look into it going forward
  • Orientation:
    • Looking to expand on the events of previous years
    • Want to incorporate discipline specific events
    • Also want to include fun events that help students bond/interact
  • Since research has no committee at this time, initiatives will be supporting the Pitt efforts
  • Family/Graduate student housing development
    • Last meeting updated the council of the lack of communication in this area
    • Called for the formation of a graduate and family housing committee which would encourage communication between grads and administrators
    • Received a response from Vicky Hawes about the changes, agreed to the following:
      • Notice of rent increases
      • Early termination of leases
      • Extension of leases, both for short and long term
    • There was a lot of pushback about restoring the budget for the council, said needed to talk to Dean Perez
    • We are working on re-drafting a lot of policies
    • Looking to cite fair housing laws to justify some of the desired changes → if interested, talk with Amy
    • They mention that apartments are priced on-par with off-grounds housing, however these apartments have not been updated recently, not a fair comparison, will keep pushing
    • If anyone is willing to help research these issues, contact Amy
    • Q: Maduka- How are we going to reverse the changes that are being enacted this month?
      • A: Amy- we have learned that any resident can ask for the old policies in person, but we are trying to put those in writing. Makes these more universally effective.
Closing- Oat