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Harvard Graduate Council Discusses Student Group Funding, Constitutional Amendments

The Harvard Graduate student council met at the Harvard Kennedy School on Monday night.
The Harvard Graduate student council met at the Harvard Kennedy School on Monday night. By Julian J. Giordano
By Paton D. Roberts, Crimson Staff Writer

The Harvard Graduate Council discussed funding applications from religious groups, an initiative to provide free menstrual products across the University, and three constitutional amendments at their biweekly meeting Monday.

Members from nine of Harvard’s 12 graduate and professional schools attended the meeting, held at the Harvard Kennedy School, either in person or through Zoom.

Parisa L. Hamm kicked off the meeting by providing an update on her proposal to provide free menstrual products across the University. Hamm said she aims to have the proposal — which the Council of Deans heard Friday — implemented by fall 2023.

The Council also considered two applications to the One Harvard Catalyst Fund, which offers funds to organizations for events that promote interaction among Harvard schools.

The HGC approved the Harvard Business School Islamic Society's request for funding of a Ramadan celebration, with seven representatives voting in favor of the proposal. The Council also voted to reopen consideration of funding for the Christian Fellowship, another HBS organization.

The Council also opened two amendments to its constitution and one amendment to its bylaws for notice and comment, a two-week period in which members can suggest revisions to the amendments.

The first amendment, proposed in response to members’ requests for additional HGC representatives in order to distribute the workload, would set a minimum of two representatives per school and a maximum of four, depending on the school’s enrollment.

The second amendment offers a restructuring of the Council’s executive board, with new positions related to programming and advocacy.

The suggested amendment to the bylaws would set the minimum meeting frequency to biweekly, allowing additional meetings to be scheduled at the discretion of the Executive Board.

Chair of Governance Carlos A. Gonzalez Sierra, a Harvard Law School student, explained the value of amending the meeting pattern.

“I think some of the benefits of more frequent meetings, whenever they start, is community building, but also [to] help HGC become more effective at carrying out initiatives,” he said. “That's the spirit behind the proposed amendment.”

The Council also discussed actions they could take in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, such as serving as a “catch-all” organization for various student-led movements or researching the University’s ties to Russia.

Community Engagement Chair Landon A. Fortenberry provided an update on the Harvard Votes Challenge, which he said is scheduled to launch “as soon as possible”.

“Our initiative could not be more timely — this year, Massachusetts will elect a new governor, state reps, and senators, along with the federal representatives,” Fortenberry said.

Other developments covered at the meeting included an upcoming meeting with Harvard University Health Services Director Giang T. Nguyen, plans for a women’s leadership conference, and a strategy book compiled by Council President Peter M. S. Choi that will serve as an “instruction booklet” for members to consult when starting projects.

The meeting concluded with an optional tour of the Kennedy School.

—Staff writer Paton D. Roberts can be reached at Follow her on Twitter at @paton_dr.

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