December 2021

December SURPAS Council Meeting Agenda

Thursday December 16th , 2021 11:30am-1:00pm 

Location: Zoom



  • Acknowledgment statement, inc group norms/mutual respect (4’) 

Read by Kun Lyu

  • Welcome, Zoom etiquette (2’) 
  • Introductions and Approval of minutes (4’)

New postdoc, Gerwin Dijk introduced himself and is happy to join. Celeste Melamed joined in as well. 

  • Updates (15’)
    • COVID requirements
    • SURPAS postdoc benefits survey
    • Ask for testimony of health insurance concerns
    • Fronting Policy
    • SURPAS new website
  • Annual Bylaw update/vote (30’)
    • Need at least 13 council members to vote.
  • Committee Updates (10’)
    • SPIF–Silvia
  • Resolution Update – Tim (20’)
    • Divest From Fossil Fuels
    • Support of Hakeem Jefferson
  • Upcoming events (5’)
    • Coffee hour Dec. 17th, 9:30-10:30 am
    • Family-Friendly Hike
    • Family-Friendly Local Activity
    • January Council Meeting

Chuying Huo from The Daily attended the meeting and asked to record it so that she could write a story on it. The leadership team agreed to this. Chuchu will send this recording to Chuying

Co-chair and community engagement liaison positions are open to apply. Chuchu briefly explained the roles of each position and asked postdocs to apply. 

Updates on COVID-19 requirements, booster shots can be scheduled via SHC or through Dept of Public health. Updates on Univ policies and requirements for interational travel. Domestic and international travel plan, please check Stanford website before traveling. 

We deployed SURPAS postdoc benefits survey. Chuchu requested council members and all postdocs to complete the survey. 

Health insurance concerns, Chuchu requested for testimony from postdocs to gain feedback. 

Fronting policy – Chuchu and other leadership members are not aware of fronting policy. Organizing events- student organizations can not sponsor, schedule or plan events for off-campus organizations. Please get approval before organizing events to verify the rationality. 

SURPAS has a new website: with new features such as search bar and resources tab. Contact Kun for more info. 

SURPAS voting rules, only elected SURPAS council members can vote to determine bylaws and leadership vote. 

New bylaw updates: SURPAS co-chairs should extend an invitation and share OPA meeting agenda to the affinity groups. This will enhance SURPAS collaborative interaction with the postdoc affinity groups. Tim thinks this is a great idea to have a more collaborative relationship.  We got 15 votes for Yes. Motion was passed.

2021-2022 session: The position of SURPAS representative to the School of Medicine Diversity Cabinet is an elected position from within the current SURPAS leadership OR The position of SURPAS representative to the School of Medicine Diversity Cabinet is an elected position from within the SURPAS Council OR The position of SURPAS representative to the School of Medicine Diversity Cabinet will be assumed by the Advocacy Coordinator. Chineyere explained that the advocacy coordinator picks up this role but this would be a good idea to have a separate position to have elected position. Roberta likes the idea will be filled by someone on council and or on leadership but she wonders if there could be some consideration to make the role similar to c-Res. Chuchu is not completely sure, but wants to have to on the bylaws for now and the leadership will make it more comprehensive later on. We got 14 votes for yes. Motion was passed.

Chuying Huo is a writer from Stanford Daily and would like to write a new story about the SURPAS council meeting. Chinyere asked council members and leadership to put in the chat to consent recording. Many said yes, nobody said no. So, we are recording. 

SURPAS co-chairs should invite Faculty Staff Help Center to present at Council Meetings biannually – this is essential as postdocs are a transient community within Stanford and ensuring that all incoming postdocs have the opportunity to know about the services that FSHC provide is important. Postdocs face many challenges both in our research, mentor-mentee relationships and personally and it is important to ensure that our community is aware of these services. Tim thinks it is a great idea. We got 16 yes votes. Motion was passed.

Article II Legislative Branch
“B. Council members must attend more than half of the scheduled meetings in a year of service on council. Excused absences should be coordinated with the Operations Manager in advance of the meeting. Excused absences will not be considered a missed meeting. ”
Section 2B: Add If Council members do not meet this requirement, they will not be asked to re-run for re-election at the end of their term. Roberta commented that these specific bylaws were added during the first or second year. Because people were coming into council only once or twice. So the idea was to have people re-run so that the postdocs can justify themselves to the council what they have accomplished as a council member. Usman Ahmad said that during an upcoming election, if postdocs could announce during the council meeting on who will be keeping the leadership roles, and how the positions will be continued. Arianna responded that leadership roles have elections every year and some are overlapping so the transition will be easy. We got 11 yes and 2 abstain. The motion was passed. 

Article II Legislative Branch
“A. Committees shall be composed of volunteers from the Council and SURPAS. It is recommended that all committees have at least one council member involved. Committee members shall appoint or elect a chair (or co-chairs) to manage the Committee. This chair or co-chairs must be approved by simple majority vote (anonymous or show of hands) of the Council. ”
Section 5A: We currently do not have votes by council for co-chairs of committees. Should we amend this? Tim thinks it is okay either ways. Tim still likes the idea of autonomy and self organize. Lucy – currently does there have to be a council member in every committee? Are there committees which does not have any council member. Chuchu responded says its okay that the committee members are not council member. Usman – clarifies that this update would require that at least one council member be on the committee. Julia – clarifies that currently the bylaws require a vote for committee cochairs, but thinks that we can get rid of this requirement. A vote no means that council will have to elect the cochairs of committees bylaws stay as is), a vote for yes means that the committee themselves should decide who their cochair is without having to check in with council. Final vote: 9 yes, 4 abstain, 1, no.

Section 7: Article II Legislative Branch
“A. SURPAS has a voting seat on the Faculty Senate Committee on Library (C-LIB), Faculty Senate Committee on Academic Computing and Information Systems (C-ACIS), and Faculty Senate Committee on Research (C-RES). These prestigious seats must be filled by May-June to be effective by September of the same year and are elected by Council.”Remove “prestigious” from “These prestigious seats must be filled …”.
Section 7: Remove Adding a comment about a seat being prestigious does not seem necessary or appropriate in bylaws

 Roberta comments that these seats are important for SURPAS and the word was used to emphasize the importance of having representation on these committees. Tim says that this word is unnecessary because by virtue of having them in the bylaws the emphasis on their importance is already there. Final vote: 7 yes, 3 no, 5 abstain

Article II Executive Branch. G.  Delete “names and titles of all elected and appointed Council members”, so that names of council members are not publicized

Roberta comments that it is useful for people to know who serves on Council. Tim seconds this thought. Vivek thinks tha postdocs should have this information but that the public should not. Chuchu mentions that this info is only available to people with access to the Google Drive and the website. Usman asks whether voting yes means that a council member list currently available on the website would be removed. Chuchu says yes. A vote for no means that the public list will remain. Usman says that having this public list is good for the professional career of council members and encourages engagement from other postdocs. Julia says that we will start sharing the minutes (with names) with all postdocs, so all postdocs will have this contact information.  Final vote: 9 no, 3 abstain, 0 yes.

We agreed to keep the rest of the bylaws update until the next council meeting. 

We are moving to the committee updates. SPIF – Silvia Natale is giving an update about the committee. Since Oct, they have approved three projects – polymer lunch and learn, postdoc wine appreciation club and networking event for biosciences minicourse participants on science communication.

Tim introduced a resolution to divest from fossil fuels. Resolution adapted from a joint resolution passed by Graduate Student council and UG senate (ASSU) in March 2020. More info here: Tim calls upon all postdocs to add our voices to divest from fossil fuels on moral and financial grounds. Chuchu talk about how fossil fuel can be used in a more clean way, it depends on how the the electricity is generated. Tim says Stanford has a symbolic representation which is important. Usman says it is a complex issue and there are two sides: 1. Exert pressure to make a change happen. 2. ? What does fossil fuel mean, what types are targeted? Since we are asking them to divest – needs to have more specific language. More specific things can be. Nuclear energy – is this clean or not? We need to understand what is considered clean and not. Where does research money come from and where does it go? Can we consider battery energy clean – but it is a finite resource. So, we need to be specific and concrete about what Stanford needs to do about it. Tim says this was based and part of the ASSU. Tim and Chuchu agree – considering the time – we can have an online voting or have the voting next council meeting. 

Resolution in Support of Hakeem Jefferson – Tinm explains the resolution (slide has more info). Even this will be done via online voting. 


  • Updates on upcoming events:
    • Coffee hour tomorrow 9:30-10:30 am
    • Family events: hike and local activity
    • Next meeting: Jan 26th 11:30am.