Food security and healthcare among concerns of WSU graduate students

Senators hear from Elizabeth Chilton and Ellen Taylor



Chilton adresses questions from senate members

BRANDON WILLMAN, Multimedia editor

GPSA held their itslast meeting of the semester on Monday, where the guest speakers were WSU Pullman Chancellor Elizabeth Chilton and Ellen Taylor, WSU Pullman vice chancellor for student affairs.

Graduate students brought up how the lack of supplies at the food pantry is making it difficult to support families and themselves

Chilton said, you have to make sure you are talking to the right people about specific issues like this, such as ASWSU and Vice Chancellor Ellen Taylor.

The results of the student survey were  presented to the senate highlighting issues such as stipend, graduate healthcare insurance, mental and physical well-being along with mentorship.

“The vast majority was dissatisfied with the amount of the stipend and the second-highest portion was neither satisfied or dissatisfied,” one GPSA senate member said.

Secondly on the survey was mental and physical well-being. The statistics proved over 33% of students surveyed on the senate strongly disagreed and over 50% disagreed with the healthcare insurance granted to graduate students was adequate, according to the suvery.

For mental health, 25% of students described their mental health as poor in the survey, and a majority of the students described a non-positive mental well-being.

Finally, mentorship was the last section outlined inthe survey.

“I never felt like an imposter until I went here, I have been told by many faculty that my work is bad or poor and rather than giving constructive feedback they turn my work away,” one anonymous senate member said.

A vast majority of graduate students are unaware of how to make a formal complaint against their adviser and 35% felt completely uncomfortable filing a complaint against an adviser, according to the survey.

One question asked by a GPSA member was: how can you see the GPSA in your system in your new budget model?

“What I think the role of the GPSA in the new budget model is it proposes a more transparent way of viewing the budget and how it is distributed across campus,” Chilton said. “WSU has a very transparent way of looking at all units through the same budget model.”

Talks of increased benefits for graduate students working in systems ships for the university were also discussed among meeting members.

“Certainly this is important to all of us, all of our faculty have been graduate students at some point,” Chilton said. “The complexity arises as the systemship is apart of the education, we are working to look at our stipends and comparing ourselves to other universities to make sure we are competitive so that students want to be here.”

The second guest speaker was WSU Pullman Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Ellen Taylor.

Taylor shared her reaction to the survey presented, she said that she believed everything comes down to the stipend. If the stipend was addressed, she feels that all survey results would look much better and there would be fewer problems.

Taylor talked about the resources available to the graduate students where they can better direct their questions, whether it was specific faculty or campus organizations for complaints or suggestions.

One of the major questions was regarding the food pantry.

Taylor said she is hopeful that the pantry is on track to be in a better place following the issues with the stock and issues with the pantry running smoothly. Despite there being ongoing issues, the hope is that soon the pantry will be fully stocked and operational.