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GSA president discusses servery dinner options for graduate students

Photo courtesy Prayag Gordy

By Hajera Naveed     9/28/21 10:17pm

At the Student Association meeting Monday Sept. 27, Graduate Student Association President Mario Escobor discussed the fact that there are no dinner options for graduate students on campus. Escobor said the GSA wanted the input of the undergraduate population on this initiative. 

According to Escobor, the GSA has been dealing with this issue for years, but the Rice administration had some concerns about implementing graduate student dinner access.

“The administration’s concern is that [the undergraduates] would be very very against the idea of us just getting food from the serveries,” Escobor said in the meeting. 

Student Association President Kendall Vining said that she doesn’t believe that undergraduate students would be against this initiative. 

Lily Sethre-Brink, the SA internal vice president, said she believes that this could be beneficial for Rice undergraduate students as it would allow for greater collaboration with graduate students.

“I don’t think there is really an argument for not allowing graduate students to be in the serveries,” said Sethre-Brink. “I don’t see there being a harm with having more connections between undergraduate and graduate students and in that social space as well.”

During the meeting, a student asked whether there could be a vaccination requirement for graduate students to access and eat food in serveries because of their lower  vaccination rate. However, Skye Fredericks, the Jones College SA senator, said that this cannot be possible because of the state mandate against a vaccine requirement. 

Jerry Templeton, Duncan College new student representative, said he believes that the serveries are already understaffed so there would have to be adjustments made if graduate students would have access to the serveries during dinner. 

“What I witnessed at our serveries is that there are not enough workers there to even handle the undergraduate population,” Templeton said. “If we do invite more graduate [students], I would be all on board, but we would need more staff in the serveries because they can’t really handle more people at the moment.” 

Escobor said that the GSA has discussed these implications with Housing and Dining, and they are fully aware that adjustments must be made in serveries if graduate students are to have access during dinner time. 

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