Dear Fellow Graduate Center Students,

As we may now finally start to recognize that another semester and academic year has come to a conclusive end, and the summer begins, we should take the opportunity to reflect. We, as members of the Doctoral and Graduate Student’s Council (DSC), would like to reflect particularly on recent past accomplishments in furthering student rights, maintaining shared governance, and fighting for an accessible, affordable, and a truly diverse and inclusive Graduate Center. As we do so, we must acknowledge that this past year has been unique because of a persistent attack on public education, and especially public higher education. We must also recognize that there is much work to be done on each of these fronts, and will continue to be done, in the future.

Some have argued that, as students, we need to create a healthy distance between our political viewpoints and our scholarship. However, the academy already is a non-neutral space from which we cannot proclaim our analyses of and solutions to the world’s problems without acknowledging the academy’s own complications. As we reflect on our past accomplishments over the course of the year, it is essential that we measure them against the backdrop of an institution that is far from perfect.

So… how has the DSC fared in such a context over the past year? Among the many activities of DSC Steering Committee members, some of this year’s notable ones include those during which we:

Many of the aforementioned accomplishments were made possible because of student involvement in the governance of our own university. However, the DSC is not just a space where students can access shared governance. It is also a space where we can reimagine the academy. The DSC maintains its commitment to making CUNY free, as it historically had been, both in regard to freedom from prohibitive increases in tuition costs and extraneous tuition fees, as well as freedom from bans on expressive conduct. In further pressing for the reality of an affordable graduate education, uncomplicated by excessive financial burdens, the DSC, along with other student groups such as the Adjunct Project and the Professional Staff Congress (PSC), has also fought in support of full and fair funding initiatives for graduate students and the 7K-or-Strike Campaign in support of livable adjunct salaries. In the year ahead, the DSC will continue to advocate for students who may be cut-off or adversely impacted by delays in funding streams, particularly master’s and international students. In so doing, the DSC will also continue to press for improved transparency of college- and university-wide budgeting practices across CUNY.

These initiatives will take effort that goes far beyond the everyday administrative duties of the DSC, and will require collaboration with the student body and other CUNY student groups, including the PSC. Members of the DSC and its current and future leadership will continue to advocate for students at the various levels of the Graduate Center and CUNY’s governance structure.

In so doing, we must also ask that you, as members of the student body, continue to demand that CUNY become a place where everyone can belong in the truest sense of the word. This requires a renewed commitment from all of us. As we strive towards this aim, it is our hope that you, and fellow students, can look to the DSC as the space where such a commitment may continue to be nurtured.

In solidarity,

Teresa Ober, Co-Chair for Communications, 2018-19 (outgoing), on behalf of

Alison Parks, Co-Chair for Student Affairs, 2018-19 (outgoing)
Raj Korpan, Co-Chair for Student Affairs, 2018-20 (continuing)
Roderick Hurley, USS Delegate, 2018-19 (outgoing) and Co-Chair for Communications, 2019-20 (incoming)
Anaïs Wong, UFS Liaison, 2018-19 (outgoing)
Elizabeth Che, Officer for Funding, 2018-19 (outgoing) and Co-Chair for Student Affairs, 2019-20 (incoming)
Jason Nielsen, Officer for Governance & Membership, 2018-19 (outgoing)
Ana Perry, Officer for Health & Wellness, 2018-19 (outgoing)
Shoumik Bhattacharya, Officer for Outreach, 2018-19 (outgoing)
Elena Chávez Goycochea, Officer for Student Life & Services, 2018-19 (outgoing)
Marlene Nava Ramos, Officer for Library & Technology, 2017-19 (outgoing)