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Graduate Student Council Debates Phrasing of Extension School Diplomas, Student Organization Financing

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The Harvard Graduate Council discussed the provision of financial support for events promoting cross-school interaction and the language on Harvard Extension School degrees at its meeting Monday.

Eight of Harvard’s graduate and professional schools were represented at the meeting, hosted at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, with some members joining via Zoom. The meeting began with a review of the current applications for funding through the One Harvard Catalyst Fund, which subsidizes approved graduate school events.

While the Harvard Business School Christian Fellowship, Asian Pacific American Law Students Association, and the HBS Middle East & North Africa Club all requested funds, discussion of funding applications evolved into more general discourse surrounding criteria for approval and the timeline for fulfilling those requests.

“In a very philosophical sense, the Harvard One Catalyst fund’s objective is are we supporting activities, events, initiatives that really bring the student body together in some capacity,” said Council President Peter M. S. Choi.

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Some representatives questioned whether the Council should set requirements for event funding, including requiring that a minimum number of schools be in attendance at each event, and if retroactive funding should be permitted.

Harvard Kennedy School Representative Camille N. Choe noted that the Council had to reopen the HBS Christian Fellowship’s funding application and expressed concern over how delayed grant approval reflects on the Council.

“My challenge with this application is that it’s now been so long and I feel like it really does not reflect well on us as the body with the One Catalyst fund and being kind of a gatekeeper of funding, and kind of putting them in a tenuous position, because it’s kind of our fault the application is now retroactive,” Choe said.

The Council ultimately approved funding for the HBS Christian Fellowship, with the stipulation that the money be used either this year or next year. The Council also approved the Asian Pacific American Law Students Association’s funding request and voted to reconsider a previous financing request from the HBS Middle East & North Africa Club.

The Council also discussed the current language used in Harvard Extension School diplomas. Harvard Extension Student Association member Kody Christiansen asked the Council to support his bill, which seeks to remove the phrase “in extension studies” from HES degrees.

“I just think this is really important for the dignity of our students, and we represent the entire graduate student community who I think would very forcefully be in favor of this,” said Gabrielle “Gabe” L. Crofford, a Harvard Law School student, while expressing her support for the bill.

Ultimately, the Graduate Council voted to be a signatory on the bill.

Later in the meeting, the council approved a series of constitutional amendments that would increase the minimum number of voting representatives required from each school from one to two and set a maximum of four representatives according to the school’s enrollment.

The Council voted to conclude the meeting at 8:30 p.m., half an hour after it was scheduled to end, and ultimately failed to address half of their agenda items.

—Staff writer Paton D. Roberts can be reached at paton.roberts@thecrimson.com. Follow her on Twitter at @paton_dr.

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