Guests from the Graduate Student Government and Counseling and Psychological Services spoke at Sunday night’s USG Senate meeting.
Dr. Calvin Chin, the director of CPS, addressed ways that CPS and USG can collaborate to spread the message that it's important to “not be afraid to acknowledge vulnerability, and to not be afraid to reach out and get resources.”
Chin said that on their end, CPS is expanding counseling services' availability hours in the fall, developing their new initiative which places a CPS wellness outpost in the EQuad for drop-ins, working on a bystander intervention program in partnership with SHARE, putting together training so that students, faculty and staff can be trained to act as allies and working on destigmatizing mental illness.
Chin said he wants students to know that “it’s okay to have stress, it’s okay to feel displaced, it’s okay sometimes to feel not okay, it’s okay to feel overwhelmed.” Chin said he hopes to communicate that message through a variety of video projects, including a Princeton Speaks Up initiative of short student, faculty and staff testimonial videos. He added that despite all these new efforts, he would like to continue conversations with USG about where to improve.
“None of this is any reason not to push for changes in policy that might make Princeton a better environment in terms of mental health,” Chen said.
GSG president Sean Edington said that he wants to focus on more integration of graduate students into the “vibrant campus academic community.”
Edington said that he hopes that the University can find a way to make more on-campus housing available to graduate students, and he said he wants to start discussion about “creating a social space that graduate students can call their home on campus” by building a graduate student center.
Additionally, Edington said he hopes to find more support for graduate students with family and dependents, find ways that mental health programs can be expanded and tailored to the needs of graduate students, increase Career Services' involvement for graduate students and expand GSG collaboration with USG.
“We’re really interested in working together,” Edington said.
Social committee chair Logan Roth '15 said that he plans on sending out a survey soon in order to get feedback from students about their reactions to the choices of GRiZ and Mayer Hawthorne as the Lawnparties headliners and TEAM Charter Schools as the charity.
Additionally, at the meeting, Projects Board presented an internal request for funding of $2,200 for Fashion Speaks: Service in Style, an event that donates all proceeds to a charity called the Eden Institute.
U-Councilors Elan Kugelmass '14 and Zhan Okuda-Lim '15 asked clarifying questions to confirm that none of the Senate money would be going to the charity before the Senate unanimously approved the funding request.
The Student Groups Committee presented four new groups for USG recognition, including Princeton Operations Research Society, Princeton Wilderness Society, Princeton Brewing Club and the Undergraduate Engineering Council.
Meanwhile, in his President’s Report, USG president Shawon Jackson '15 urged Senate members to work on increasing voter turnout during this week's election.
Academics committee chair James Baase '15 presented an update after meeting with University President Christopher Eisgruber '83.
“To talk about the grading policy, I would rather move into executive session,” Baase said.
IT committee chair Clement Lee ’17 said he was recently approached about possibly building a new car-sharing TigerApps service and is engaged in preliminary conversations about that. Additionally, he nominated four new members to the IT committee, and the Senate unanimously voted to approve them all.
Kugelmass presented a Discipline Report and Student Bill of Rights update during which he highlighted several points of controversy including the inquisitorial process used by the Committee of Discipline and the fact that the Committee of Discipline’s primary concern is to maintain community standards rather than the education of the student under investigation.
Additionally, Kugelmass said of the committee of Discipline that “there is no right to silence, and I think that’s something we should continue to push buttons on.”
In an update from the Happiness Project, Claire Nuchtern '15 said she is looking forward to a ball pit party that will be hosted on May 1 on Frist Campus Center’s North Lawn from noon to 5:30 p.m.
Finally, before setting the agenda for the next meeting, Kugelmass expressed the concern following a recent article in The Daily Princetonian about the SURFACE project censorship surrounding allegations that the University removed a panel of the art project.
“Let’s try to the get to the bottom of this because it’s honestly pretty disturbing if the allegations are true,” Kugelmass said.