Representatives from the Graduate Student Council (GSC) expressed disappointment at Stanford’s delayed decision to hire a third-party mail provider to handle postal issues at Escondido Village Graduate Residences (EVGR) during the meeting of Wednesday.
The advisers’ negative feelings come after a series of complaints about issues with EVGR mailing addresses. In the 2020 general election, many EVGR residents were unable to register to vote with their EVGR address. In the absence of a working address, residents said they repeatedly found mail and parcels stacked near side and front doors of buildings or abandoned in the lobby of buildings. Almost five months have passed since more than 500 residents collectively graduated in EVGR petitioned Stanford Residential and Dining Enterprises (R&DE) to freeze rent increases until residents receive a fully functional mailing address. The petition ultimately failed to generate a rent freeze.
During the meeting, R&DE representatives informed the advisors that they were about to enter into an arrangement with a third-party vendor who would be responsible for delivering student mail to designated mail rooms. The change, which is expected to take place in late August, would theoretically mean that residents could use a functional mailbox to receive mail and packages. But for some advisors, the change may be too little too late.
“Right now I’m using a PO Box because I don’t trust the situation,” said Jason Anderson, GSC advisor and second-year PhD in Aeronautics and Astronautics. student. “So I now have to pay an additional $ 80 for something guaranteed to me by the Constitution of the United States. But, you know, they have their bandage solution that they’ve come up with and I guess it works for them.
R&DE representatives said they are excited about the solution and are preparing for a seamless transition from the current system to the third party. Although Anderson said he would be happy if the University were able to execute the solution properly, he added that each additional day the mail situation remains unresolved has an acute impact on the graduate student community. . Graduate students often establish their permanent residence on the Stanford campus and rely on a fully functional address to receive paychecks, establish credit and manage items such as driver’s licenses, Anderson added.
“From an accountability standpoint, we basically have nothing,” Anderson said. “And this is a recurring problem with the Stanford administration. We have nothing because they have decided to sell it to a third party.
Advisors also struggled to find consensus on which incremental changes the GSC should prioritize over the coming months.
Anderson presented a list of “little solutions to improve the lives of graduate students” that the board should prioritize in the coming months. Some of the goals have already been discussed within the GSC, including enabling graduate students to access increased retirement benefits through a 403B scheme. Others are new to the agenda: tackling the University’s unclear billing system and eliminating charges for charging electric vehicles in Stanford parking lots.
However, some councilors said the actions to be taken on the list should not necessarily be placed high on the council’s agenda.
“I’m curious as to why, rather than focusing specifically on the electric vehicle situation and paying for a parking permit plus paying to charge, which is a bit like what we do to pay for gasoline, we don’t would not like to focus priorities on students who do not have vehicles on campus and have more transportation available for them, ”said the GSC advisor and fourth year PhD in Modern Thought and Literature. student Jamie Fine. “I am thinking of the main problems associated with students having to leave campus for mental health care or doctor’s appointments. “
Fine also urged advocacy for free period products in the Stanford restroom – an issue that Stanford students recently lobbied the university about. Anderson replied that the different priorities don’t have to be mutually exclusive and that he would like the list to be expanded.
While the GSC will continue to actively pursue progress on longer-term and more substantial goals, smaller incremental changes are more immediately achievable and can have a rapid positive impact on the lives of graduate students, according to the GSC Co-Chair and Ph. RE. communication student Sanna Ali.
“One of our biggest priorities as graduate students is that the rent be too high – I think everyone on the Graduate Student Council would agree with that,” Ali said. “But despite our best efforts, and we’ve talked about it constantly in our meetings with many different directors, that hasn’t changed. So I think it’s kind of like, well, what can we actually accomplish while still keeping these high priorities in the conversation. “
This article has been corrected to more accurately reflect the sentiments of the SGC towards the current and proposed postal systems. The Daily regrets this error.