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The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences’s Graduate Student Council discussed advocacy projects, career development, and the aftermath of the graduate student union strike at its first open meeting of the semester Wednesday evening.
Speaking to assembled council members in Lehman Hall’s graduate student lounge, the council’s president, Germanic Languages and Literatures Ph.D. candidate Zachary M. Hayworth, opened with an overview of the GSC’s mission and responsibilities. He then informed students of overarching themes the council had set for the months of February and March.
For February’s theme of diversity and inclusion, the council invited Director of Student Services and GSAS Title IX Coordinator Danielle Farrell to present resources available to help graduate students seek recourse for academic concerns, workplace issues, and other matters.
Farrell emphasized that students considering reaching out to her office for help should feel confident their concerns will be kept private if they so choose.
“We really center on agency,” Farrell said. “A lot of times when people are saying, ‘are you confidential?’ or, ‘is this going to go anywhere?’ most students are really wondering, ‘are you going to tell my advisor or my department?' Like, no.”
The council then proceeded to discuss its March theme of career development. Hayworth informed attendees of multiple services that Harvard provides to further students’ career pursuits, including through the Office of Career Services.
“There’s an increasing number of ways for students to take an active role in addressing issues of mental health,” Hayworth said. “The GSC’s bigger mission is to put power into the hands of graduate students, to create the GSAS that they want to see.”
Germanic Languages and Literatures Ph.D. candidate Hans M. Pech, who serves as a liaison between the GSC and Harvard Graduate Students Union-United Automobile Workers, updated the council on recent developments in the negotiations between University administrators and the union.
In January 2020, federal mediators began working to conciliate the two parties, which for 17 months have been bargaining over HGSU-UAW’s first contract. Though the union’s three-week-long strike ended on Jan. 1, the two sides remain at odds over three key issues: healthcare, compensation, and procedures to adjudicate sexual harassment and discrimination complaints.
Later, Hayworth stressed the distinction between the GSC and HGSU-UAW’s roles in graduate student life and responsibilities to GSAS students, highlighting the limited overlap in each groups’ membership as well as slight differences in goals.
“But I think also it’s important for the GSC to keep waving the banner of the union,” Hayworth said.
“We’re not a platform for the union, definitely not. But we provide one venue for the union to disseminate its mission and goals,” he added.
Correction: Feb. 6, 2020
A previous version of this article incorrectly quoted GSAS Title IX Coordinator Danielle Farrell as saying that her office centers "on secrecy." In fact, she said her office centers "on agency."
—Staff writer Benjamin L. Fu can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @BenFu_2.
—Staff writer Dohyun Kim can be reached at email@example.com.
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