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A moment of gratitude: End of semester letter - Autumn 2020

Posted: December 1, 2020

December 1, 2020

Dear Ohio State Graduate Students,

As we approach the end of the autumn 2020 semester, we would like to express our deepest gratitude for your tireless work, flexibility, and understanding during these times. The COVID-19 pandemic has altered many facets of life for our community, and this semester has been very challenging. Nonetheless, we came together, and through our strong resilience, we’ve reached the conclusion of a semester like no other. 

In our autumn 2020 welcome email, we mentioned the rich tradition and excellence of The Ohio State University persists, and we committed to advocating for the advancement of the graduate student experience as we embarked on this new academic year—and we did just that. Throughout this semester, in collaboration with numerous university administrators, we were able to increase the annual stipend for graduate students, establish the new graduate/ professional student ombudsperson effective spring 2021, and made significant strides with student family housing efforts, among many other initiatives to advance graduate education and the graduate student experience.

Now, as you begin to wrap up your semester, we would like to share a short video with you. We hope that as you take time to relax and reflect over the next few weeks you will also take some time to express gratitude and spread some kindness to those who have positively influenced you this semester. The Office of Student Life Kindness Initiative is an easy way to send messages of gratitude and thanks to those internal and external to Ohio State.

We couldn’t be more proud of the advocacy, flexibility, commitment, and adaptability of each of you—and for that, we say THANK YOU! Additionally, we would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to CGS Advisor Kerry Hodak, Teresa Kempton-Dray from the Office of Student Life, President Kristina Johnson, Provost Bruce McPheron, Dr. Melissa Shivers from the Office of Student Life, Dean Alicia Bertone, Dr. Bern Melnyk from the Office of the Chief Wellness Officer, and the many faculty members, advisors, graduate program coordinators, and other members of the Buckeye community for their collaboration and contributions in helping us all make it through this semester. 

COVID-19 Related Reminders

  • Ohio State employees who are able to telework are strongly encouraged to do so until further notice. Please connect with your supervisor to establish a plan of action. Additional information can be found on the Office of Human Resources website.

  • The state of Ohio remains under a statewide curfew. Everyone should be in their home between 10:00pm and 5:00am until further notice. There are exemptions for individuals deemed essential workers and for other responsibilities and more information can be found on the Ohio Department of Health website.

  • In conjunction with Franklin County becoming level purple on the State Advisory System, Franklin County and the city of Columbus is under a Stay at Home Order until further notice. More information can be found on the Franklin County Public Health website.

  • Ohio State will begin the first two-weeks of the spring 2021 semester virtually.

35th Annual Hayes Research Forum
The 2021 Hayes Research Forum will take place on Friday, April 9th in a completely virtual format. Students may submit an abstract via the CGS website beginning December 1, 2020. Learn more at: cgs.osu.edu/hayes-forum

Graduate Student Engagement Fund
Recognizing the broad impacts of COVID-19, CGS has created a new grant program for university departments and support units to host socially distanced programming and events to support overall mental, emotional, and social wellbeing of graduate students. Departments can apply for funding at go.osu.edu/EngagedGrad.

2020-2021 CGS Grants
CGS – in partnership with the Office of Outreach and Engagement, Office of Student Life, Office of Research, and Ohio State University Extension (OSUE) – is pleased to announce the launch of the Engaged Scholar Grant. The Engaged Scholar Grant incentivizes graduate students to undertake community-engaged research and projects, in collaboration with a community partner, that address a specific need or problem within the community (in-state or out-of-state). Graduate students may apply for grants ranging from $500 to $1,500. Learn more at: go.osu.edu/engagedscholar.

The Edward J. Ray Travel Award for Scholarship and Service (Ray Award) encourages and enables graduate students to participate in professional conferences, both in their respective fields and in the broader academic community, by reimbursing or partially reimbursing the expenses incurred by graduate students during travel to conferences and meetings to present original research. Students may apply for up to $1,000. Learn more at: go.osu.edu/ray

The Career Development Grant (CDG) encourages graduate students to prepare for placement into their chosen field by providing funding to defray costs associated with career and professional development experiences. Students may apply for up to $350 to attend virtual conferences, enroll in online training courses, renew organizational memberships, and prepare for licensure exams, among other things. Learn more at: go.osu.edu/cdg

As always, we send our love and support to all of you and encourage you to take care of yourselves during these stressful times. Please remember, CGS continues to fiercely support and advocate for all Ohio State graduate students and know you can reach out to us at any time by email at cgs@osu.edu.

To stay up to date on CGS, please follow us on social media. Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

Stay safe and #MaskUpBuckeyes,

DaVonti’ D. Haynes, MSW
Vice President
PhD candidate, College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences

Sarah Light
Secretary
PhD candidate, Neuroscience Graduate Program, College of Medicine

Nicholas Messenger
Chief of Staff
PhD student, College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences

Autumn 2020 Welcome!

Posted: August 25, 2020

Dear Ohio State Graduate Students,

We hope this email finds you and your family safe, well, and healthy during these uncertain times. We are writing to officially welcome each of you to the new academic year. Our new students are about to begin an exciting and challenging journey and our returning students are finding opportunities for continued growth, personal and professional reinvention, and academic success. Each of us in the Council of Graduate Students (CGS) wants to help you make your Buckeye experience an extraordinary one.

Graduate school is a demanding time in one’s life and, to make things even more challenging, we are living through an unprecedented global health pandemic compounded by several other social justice crises. We recognize how stressful the current environment may be as you manage your academics, research, work, and social lives, while also caring for your family and friends who may be impacted by these crises. It is for this reason that we would like to stress the importance of taking care of oneself by prioritizing your mental, physical, and emotional health. 

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has created uncertainty for all of us. Whether on-campus or not, every one of us needs to fully commit to protecting ourselves, our families, our friends, our colleagues, and our community as a whole. We all play a key role in curbing the spread of COVID-19. Our campus and the way we navigate it will be a very different experience this autumn. However, the rich tradition and excellence of The Ohio State University still persists, and we look forward to continuing to advocate for the advancement of the graduate student experience as we embark on a new academic year. On behalf of CGS, we send our love and support to all of you and encourage you to take care of yourselves in the coming months and to reach out to us at any time by email at cgs@osu.edu with any issues or concerns.

2020-2021 CGS Grants

CGS – in partnership with the Office of Outreach and EngagementOffice of Student LifeOffice of Research, and Ohio State University Extension (OSUE) – is pleased to announce the launch of the Engaged Scholar Grant. The Engaged Scholar Grant incentivizes graduate students to undertake community-engaged research and projects, in collaboration with a community partner, that address a specific need or problem within the community (in-state or out-of-state). Graduate students may apply for grants ranging from $500 to $1,500. Learn more at: go.osu.edu/engagedscholar.

The Edward J. Ray Travel Award for Scholarship and Service (Ray Award) encourages and enables graduate students to participate in professional conferences, both in their respective fields and in the broader academic community, by reimbursing or partially reimbursing the expenses incurred by graduate students during travel to conferences and meetings to present original research. For funding period III students may apply for up to $350. Funding ranges for period IV will be determined at a later date. Learn more at: go.osu.edu/ray

The Career Development Grant (CDG) encourages graduate students to prepare for placement into their chosen field by providing funding to defray costs associated with career and professional development experiences. Students may apply for up to $350 to attend virtual conferences, enroll in online training courses, renew organizational memberships, and prepare for licensure exams, among other things. Learn more at: go.osu.edu/cdg

Buckeye Diversity Dialogue Series

The Buckeye Diversity Dialogue Series provides opportunities for Ohio State graduate students to have intentional conversations about relevant issues of equity, diversity, inclusion, social justice, and much more. These informal conversations, led by an expert speaker, are designed to allow participants to learn from and educate one another and to encourage participants to direct the conversation. The Buckeye Diversity Dialogue Series is meant to be a catalyst for discussion on difficult topics, as it relates to diversity and social justice. Learn more and RSVP at: go.osu.edu/buckeyedialogue.

2020-2021 Departmental Representatives & Autumn 2020 Election

Interested in representing your department and serving as delegate within CGS? As a delegate, you serve as the direct contact between the Council and your constituents. Your job is to bring forth any issues graduate students may be having and take note of pertinent events and legislation that affect your fellow students. Delegates also serve on an internal CGS Committee and an external University Committee. Autumn 2020 elections will take place September 28-October 7. If your college/department does not have an elected delegate or still has an open seat you can apply to represent your department at: go.osu.edu/delegate.

To view your department’s 2020-2021 delegate(s), click here

To view all CGS 2020-2021 Senate & University Committee appointments, click here

Equity and Racial Justice Task Force & Governance Review Committee

CGS has established two internal ad hoc committees. The Equity and Racial Justice Committee is tasked with investigating and reviewing current university procedures, policies, and practices to develop new policies that foster an equitable, diverse, and inclusive Ohio State community. The Governance Review Committee is tasked with reviewing and revising all CGS governance documents, procedures, policies, and practices to inspire transparency and increase CGS’ ability to effectively and efficiently advocate on behalf of all graduate students at Ohio State.

To stay up to date on CGS, please follow us on social media. Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

Stay safe and healthy and #MaskUpBuckeyes,

DaVonti’ D. Haynes, MSW

Vice President

PhD student, College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences

Sarah Light

Secretary

PhD candidate, Neuroscience Graduate Program, College of Medicine

Jack Brandl

Chief of Staff

MSW student, College of Social Work

Resources:

A Resolution Against the Plan to Return to Campus

Posted: August 24, 2020

This resolution strongly urges the university to further restrict congregate activities such as classroom learning and in-person meetings that would require students, staff, faculty, and other personnel to be physically present on campus, unless those in-person activities are absolutely necessary and have no online alternative. I hope you will all help me keep the health and safety of our graduate students front of mind and make proactive changes to ensure we reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Return to Campus & Racial Justice Updates

Posted: July 23, 2020

July 23, 2020

Dear Ohio State Graduate Students,

As you know, the university has announced plans to resume on-campus teaching and activities next month, in alignment with the start of the autumn 2020 semester. We recognize and understand there is high interest and concern about the safety, health, and wellbeing of our campus community as we prepare to transition back to campus in a few short weeks. As we embark on a new academic year, we wish to take this opportunity to welcome you all back to Ohio State, and thank each of you for your continued patience, commitment, creativity, innovation, and collective dedication to Ohio State during the past few months as we all adapted to unforeseen circumstances.

While this announcement is momentous, we recognize this decision has not been well received by everyone. Our efforts to fight for the needs of graduate students does not end with this [impending] return to campus. We are aware there are many unanswered questions still lingering and we are consistently working to gather answers for you and ensure that the graduate student voice is heard. CGS will continue to advocate and engage the extraordinary talents and resources of our university as we navigate this transition. We are thankful for the leadership and support of Dr. Melissa Shivers, Vice President for Student Life, and Dr. Alicia Bertone, Dean of the Graduate School during this time. And on August 24, we will graciously welcome Ohio State’s 16th President, Dr. Kristina Johnson to campus. We are excited to bring graduate education to the forefront of Ohio State in continued partnership with university leadership.

We wish to use this opportunity to share with you some updates and precautions for the new year. As we look ahead and pursue new ways to engage with our community and our research and take on the challenges facing our world today, the health, safety, and wellbeing of our campus community remains our highest priority. A successful autumn semester will require us all to work together to control the spread of COVID-19 by adhering to the necessary practices and protocols that have been put in place. We recognize that this autumn will look and feel very different from prior semesters and we will all have to adjust to new ways of navigating campus under the restrictions prompted by the pandemic. In doing our part, CGS has moved all autumn 2020 meetings and activities to a virtual format.

Whether on-campus or not, every one of us needs to fully commit to protecting ourselves, our families, our friends, our colleagues, and our community as a whole. We all play a key role in managing the spread of COVID-19. Some strongly recommended actions include:

  • Self-monitoring for COVID-19 symptoms
  • Daily temperature checks
  • Wearing face masks/coverings in public settings
  • Frequent hand washing (or use of hand-sanitizer when soap and water are not available)
  • Practicing social distancing at all times
  • Self-isolating if you suspect you may have been exposed to COVID-19
  • Avoiding large gatherings of people

In addition to those safety practices, the university has announced additional plans to ensure a safe and clean campus such as enhanced cleaning protocols, furniture rearrangement, new building signage, and much more, to ensure all campus spaces and activities support the health, safety, and wellbeing of our campus community. More details are available on the Office of Student Life website and Ohio State’s Safe and Healthy Buckeyes website.

Equity and Racial Justice Task Force & Ad Hoc Governance Review Committee
CGS has established two internal ad hoc committees to examine organizational operations. The Equity and Racial Justice Committee is tasked with investigating and reviewing current CGS and university procedures, policies, and practices in order to foster an equitable, diverse, and inclusive Ohio State community. The Governance Review Committee is tasked with reviewing and revising all CGS governance documents, procedures, policies, and practices to inspire transparency and increase CGS’ ability to effectively and efficiently advocate on behalf of all graduate students at Ohio State.

Engaged Scholar Grant
CGS has partnered with the Office of Outreach and Engagement and the Office of Student Life to establish a new grant program to support graduate students undertaking community-engaged research and/or projects addressing specific community needs or problems, in collaboration with a community partner. Graduate students may apply for grants ranging from $500 to $1,500 during the 2020-2021 academic year. 

On behalf of CGS, we send our love and support to all of you and encourage you to take care of yourselves during these stressful times. This is an extraordinary moment in history, and it requires each of us to treat one another with the utmost respect, care, and compassion. Please remember, CGS continues to fiercely support and advocate for all Ohio State graduate students and know you can reach out to us at any time by email at cgs@osu.edu.


To stay up to date on CGS, please follow us on social media. Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

Stay safe and #MaskUpBuckeyes,

DaVonti’ D. Haynes, MSW
Vice President, Council of Graduate Students
PhD student, College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences

Sarah Light
Secretary, Council of Graduate Students
PhD candidate, Neuroscience Graduate Program, College of Medicine

Jack Brandl
Chief of Staff, Council of Graduate Students
MSW student, College of Social Work

2020 Graduate Compensation and Benefits Committee Recommendations

Posted: July 22, 2020

2019-2020 Graduate Compensation and Benefits Committee (GCBC) Annual Report & Stipend Recommendations for 2020-2023

Duties and Responsibilities

The Graduate Associate Compensation and Benefits Committee (GCBC) is a standing committee of the University Senate at The Ohio State University as defined in the University Faculty Rules, Chapter 3335-5-48.18.

The following are the duties and responsibilities of the GCBC, as defined under Chapter 3335-5- 48.18. (B) of the University Faculty Rules.

  1. Study the adequacy and other attributes of the university's policies and provisions including stipends, outside professional services, and supplemental compensation.

  2. Conduct research and provide advice on economic support of graduate associates, professional development, quality and design of benefit programs, and appointment terms.

  3. Make recommendations to the university senate, the graduate council, the graduate school, and the office of academic affairs as appropriate.

Overview

The Graduate Compensation and Benefits Committee (GCBC) was quite active in addition to our annual stipend and benefits evaluation. We met multiple times formally and informally to discuss a variety of policy changes that we thought would provide more robust financial, institutional, and support for graduate students. This year, graduate, international, and parenting students made their voices heard for us to advocate for a new Multi-family housing facility. With the help of USG, IPC, Student Life, the ODI and many others, our members helped establish the Parenting and Pregnant Student Working Group to comprehensively look at the issues facing these students and begin to make a plan of how to provide more support. With the help of the Provost, Administration & Planning, Student Life, and Business & Finance, GCBC is committed to establishing an sponsor group to move forward with a new multifamily housing facility. As graduate students still need a central, independent resource for solving conflicts and giving guidance on resources, we are brought forward a proposal to institute a Graduate Ombudsperson. With that impetus, we are excited to continue our work with the Provost, the Office of Academic Affairs, and the University Staff Advisory Committee to establish an Office of Ombudspersons where such a position could be housed. With the help of the Graduate School, GCBC collaborated with the Graduate Council to establish a specific Graduate Student Emergency Fund so those students most in need can be supported. The remainder of this report will walk through the analysis, considerations, and recommendations for increasing the current minimum stipend and for taking other administrative actions that will benefit Graduate Associates throughout The Ohio State University.

New Family Housing Letter

Posted: July 15, 2020

New Family Housing Letter

Overview

The Parenting & Pregnant Students Support Committee (PPSSC) unites invested stakeholders to further develop a university-wide support system for parenting & pregnant students and their families throughout all facets of university life. The committee acknowledges that the ACCESS Collaborative is the primary program that provides support to this population, while recognizing the power in partnerships across the university and that all Buckeyes play a role in creating a supportive community. The PPSSC includes students, a representative from all three student governments, faculty, and staff with leadership from the Office of Diversity & Inclusion, the Office of Institutional Equity, and the Office of Student Life. This letter provides historical background, student needs, benchmark data, and requested action from the committee for The Ohio State University to move forward with the planning of a multi-family student housing facility and how to further support this diverse population.

Parenting and Pregnant Students Support Committee (PPSSC) Members 2020-2021

Name

Title / Area / Involvement

Dr. Matthew Couch

Interim Associate Vice President for Student Life & Associate Dean of Students

Traci Lewis

Program Director, ACCESS Collaborative, Office of Diversity and Inclusion

Jillian Deas

GAA, ACCESS Collaborative; ACCESS Scholar; MA, Education Policy; President, Students with Children 

Molly Peirano

Director, Education and Engagement, Institutional Equity; PhD Candidate, Social Work

Gala Korniyenko

CGS Senator, COPE member, PhD Candidate in City and Regional Planning

Steph Charles

CGS; works with CCAMPIS grant; PhD Candidate, HESA

James Uanhoro

CGS, PhD Candidate

Charity Martin-King

Director of Social Change, Office of Student Life

Leila Vieira

CGS, Chair of Housing and Family Affairs Committee; Buckeye Village Parent

TJ Beavers

Inter-Professional Council (IPC)

Donald Fuzer

Director, Child Care Program

Rhonda Michelle

ACCESS Collaborative; Buckeye Village Resident; VP of Students with Children

Jamie Wood

Assistant Director, Athletics Compliance

Trina Thomas

IPC Senator; law student parent

Anna Wagner

Senior Coordinator of Leadership Programs, Student Activities, Office of Student Life

Maddie Carson

USG, Chair of the Undergraduate Caucus

Stephen Post

CGS, President

Erica Regan

Associate Director, Center for the Study of Student Life, Office of Student Life

Jeremy Gabis

Director, Facility Planning and Design, Office of Student Life

Background

The Ohio State University (OSU) established Buckeye Village in 1948 as the University’s first permanent housing and there were 400 units by 1961. University announced the closure of 50 units in Buckeye Village in 2015 to build the Covelli 15 Multi-Sport Arena at a cost of $49.7 million. The University initiated a series of listening sessions in 2016 that continued until 2017 to identify the housing priorities and preferences of Buckeye Village residents. The data gained from these sessions emphasized the need for a residential community of students with families, where rental rates are offered at below market level. In January 2017, the University put out a Request For Proposals for private developers to construct the replacement complex and offer rental rates at most 25 percent below the market rate of apartments within 10 miles of campus; A plan for the University to build a 450-unit replacement complex at $65 million failed to be seen as a financially viable solution[1]

In 2017, the University’s capital planning vision, Framework 2.0, called for the development of an Athletics District in the area surrounding and including Buckeye Village. In October 2019, it was announced that the Buckeye Village at The Ohio State University would be officially closing and all current Buckeye Village residents in 89 units to move out by the start of the 2020-2021 academic year. Due to student advocacy and the COVID-19 pandemic, Buckeye Village residents were granted an extension to stay until the end of the 2020-2021 academic year. This decision however did not solve the issue of future family housing being provided by Ohio State. The Parenting and Pregnant Students Support Committee (PPSSC) was formed at the beginning of 2020 to examine gaps in support for these students and make recommendations on how to move forward with family housing at Ohio State.

Student Need & Supporting Data

The closure of OSU’s onlyfamily housing facility means pregnant and parenting students will have another barrier to focusing on their education. It creates the difficult decision between either living close to campus and spending more of an already stretched budget on rent and utilities, or living far from campus and spending a lot of time commuting and away from their children. According to a study conducted by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research[2], 15% of undergraduate students at four-year institutions have children. While there’s no official data available specifically for graduate students, in the CGS Demographic Report for the 2019-2020 academic year[3], 10% of the body claims to have children. A study[4]of doctoral students at the University of California found that about 13% of students become parents by the time they graduate.

In a study conducted by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research[5], data shows that, “Student parents are more likely than students without children to be students of color: 51 percent compared with 46 percent of students without children. Looking across racial/ethnic backgrounds, Black college students are the most likely to be parents (33 percent), and Black women — two in five of whom are mothers — are more likely than women from other backgrounds to be raising children while in college.” As you know, there are many international students and families currently living at Buckeye Village. Their international status means that they are not eligible for federal financial aid, nor are they or their spouse allowed to seek employment elsewhere to supplement their income. These are underrepresented populations that the university must support.

Availability of family housing also impacts recruitment. Many present and past residents of Buckeye Village would not have chosen to attend OSU if subsidized housing hadn’t been available. A number of residents has also been approached by prospective students with questions about applying for family housing, only to regrettably tell them it is no longer a possibility at Ohio State. When comparing to other universities in the United States, including some Big 10 institutions, Ohio State will no longer be in the same group as universities that do offer family housing, such as University of California - Los Angeles (1,102 units for families), University of Florida (980), University of Illinois (1,041), University of Michigan (781), University of Minnesota (824), Penn State University (124), University of Washington (738), and University of Wisconsin (1,196)[6].

Requested Actions

For years Ohio State has kicked-the-can on finding a solution to the issue of family housing, now is the time for us to put forward a plan to support these deserving students. The Ohio State University prides itself on its many initiatives to ensure the academic success of all our students, and promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion by taking care of our most vulnerable populations. Therefore, we request the university take the following actions to make progress on providing affordable, family housing and supporting parenting and pregnant students:

  • Establish the Family Housing Facility Executive Sponsor Group with leadership including Dr. Melissa Shivers, Vice President of the Office of Student Life; Michael Papadakis, Chief Financial Officer in the Office of Business and Finance; and Jay Kasey, Senior Vice President of the Office of Administration and Planning
  • Ensure the continued communication among the Executive Sponsor Group and the Parenting and Pregnant Students Support Committee (PPSSC), the Office of Institutional Equity, and the Office of Diversity and Inclusion to incorporate knowledge and student needs.
  • Engage the Office of Government Affairs to look at options of making this development more affordable to students through the help of community partners.
  • Further support the work of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion’s ACCESS Collaborative including Scholar House, CCAMPIS, and other resources.[7]
  • Collect demographic data throughout this process to track the needs of these underrepresented students.

[1]https://cgs.osu.edu/posts/documents/res-1920-au-006-buckeye-village.pdf

[2]https://edubirdie.org/translations/parents-in-college-by-the-numbers/

[3]https://cgs.osu.edu/posts/documents/demographic-report-3.pdf

[4]https://www.chronicle.com/article/Why-So-Few-Doctoral-Student/48872

[5]https://iwpr.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/C481_Parents-in-College-By-the-Numbers-Aspen-Ascend-and-IWPR.pdf

[6]https://cgs.osu.edu/posts/documents/res-1920-au-006-buckeye-village.pdf

[7]http://oma-test.org.ohio-state.edu/access/student-parent-resources/affordable-undergrad-student-parent-housing.html