Caltech Graduate Student Council

GSC Mission Statement

To improve the academic, professional, and social experience of graduate students at Caltech by engaging with campus offices, building a diverse and vibrant community, and advocating for a better quality of life.

Visit the About page to learn about the GSC and its various committees, the Representatives page for the list of our 2020-2021 Board of Directors, and the BoD Documents page for our bylaws and statutes.

The GSC Forum has various topics for discussion and previous years’ BoD meeting minutes.

Our Petitions & Town Halls page provides links to various student-organized petitions and town hall documents across campus.

To learn about the clubs at Caltech and how to register one, visit http://clubs.caltech.edu/.

All students are welcome to attend the regular monthly BoD meetings, which are from 12-1:30 pm on the first Tuesday of each month from July 2020 to May 2021. Contact eyan@caltech.edu for zoom link and details.

Update on Communication

The GSC Board of directors have released a letter expressing the ideas, philosophy, and vision of the GSC for 2020-2021. You can read the summary and full letter here.

GSC 2019 Survey Report

Each year the GSC Advocacy committee develops a survey to better understand the needs of the graduate community at Caltech. For results from the 2019 survey as well as the full report developed by the GSC Advocacy committee, see here.

2020-2021 Initiatives

The list of priorities below were collected with input from graduate students in early July 2020 and presented to BoD members and grad students in a meeting on July 15th, during which follow-up contacts were assigned. This is not a comprehensive list of all activities/issues that members of the GSC are working on, but a more specific supplement to the descriptions given under each committee’s page. We encourage anyone who is interested in working on these or additional initiatives to join the GSC Slack or contact gscsteer@caltech.edu.

Healthcare

  1. Securing a better health plan for graduate students
  2. Increasing on-campus mental health support
  3. Increase student involvement in the healthcare decision-making process
  4. Increase mental health support related to specific events, such as the pandemic, working from home, increased childcare duties, social justice issues, uncertainties in visas
  5. Create a sick policy and explicitly note sick days that can be used for mental health

Housing

  1. Increase housing for graduate students or provide subsidies for students living off-campus
  2. Extend guaranteed housing to G2 students
  3. Tie graduate student stipends to a cost-of-living index that accounts for rent and healthcare cost increases; further discussion of pros/cons

Advisor-Student Relations

  1. Creating safer and inclusive environments in labs through mentorship/outreach to PIs
  2. Create a space for students to ask questions of other students about what is normal in student-advisor relationships, what are unreasonable expectations, and what reaches a level that it should be reported in some way
  3. Create workshop/course/resource for healthy & productive research collaborations
  4. Have advisors establish and agree upon (written) advising expectations: working hours, feedback, etc
  5. Structuring mentorship and professional development into annual thesis advisory committee meetings
  6. Make a standard institute policy to consider mentorship ability in tenure decisions

Student Parents

  1. Extend parental leave and childcare availability
  2. Create a lactation room in every building on campus

Admissions Advocacy

  1. Make graduate fee waivers easier to access and better advertised
  2. Remove the GRE across Caltech

Pandemic-related Communications

  1. Ensure that everyone is notified about new cases within the campus community; ensure contact notification is carried out appropriately
  2. Push for formal representation of staff and students in decision making
  3. Push for transparent decision making among administration

International Students

  1. Permanent legal support in the International Studies office at Caltech
  2. Financial aid for visa renewals, which often require expensive travel
  3. Develop a clear institute policy that ensures students who leave the country for visa renewals are still considered full-time students, to avoid loss of housing contracts and stipends

Diversity/Anti-Racism

  1. Keep the administration accountable to their email in response to the BSEC petition and advocate for the remaining action-items listed in the petition
  2. Unify GSC across divisions/departments in its efforts for greater diversity/inclusion