November 2021

November SURPAS Council Meeting Agenda

Wednesday November 17th , 2021 11:30am-1:00pm 

Location: Zoom


Quorum:  13

  • Acknowledgment statement, inc group norms/mutual respect (2’) 
  • Welcome, Zoom etiquette (2’) 

No new postdocs were introduced.

  • Introductions and Approval of minutes (5’)

Co-chair and community engagement liaison positions are up for reelection in January. Minutes approved. 

  • Updates (15’)
    • COVID-19 requirements
    • Meeting with Vice Provost Stacy Bent – VPGEPA
    • Meeting with Terrance Mayes – Associate Dean and Executive Director, Commission on Justice and Equity
    • Update on meeting with FSHC clinicians
    • Meeting with OPA and Denise Livengood
    • Meeting with Howard Wolf, Vice President of Alumni Affairs
    • SURPAS postdoc benefits survey

Must have a medical exception to not be vaccinated as a postdoc. Tim mentions that California has opened booster shots to all adults. 

VPGEPA: Planning quarterly meetings. One issue raised is postdoc housing. Had a brief conversation with President Tessier Lavigne and they are currently aware of the issue. Talked about affordability and childcare. Talked about the possibility of a loan or help with moving costs, no plans yet but issues have been raised. Right now is household is making under $150,000 should qualify but are sometimes denied grants that they previously have to sign a contract for. They are working on re-wording this contract. Short term goals is dealing with COVID fallout and restoration and long term goals to increase diversity (worked on PRISM funding). Tim asks if there will be opportunities to interact with administrators for open conversations with others. Chinyere mentions they hope will re-open this after COVID hopefully. 

Terrance Mayes: Discussed PRISM program and SLM program. Hope to implement this program with faculty and postdocs. Also discussed hiring more URM therapists. FSHC representatives will be coming to council meetings every 6 months so incoming postdocs will be aware. 

OPA: Working on rising costs of healthcare premiums (costs up by $100 since January and don’t know what 2022 will bring up). Looking for testimonies, ideas, or suggestions if you have any suggestions. SURPAS has met with Howard Wolfe to discuss alumni status and having access to Stanford email after leaving. SURPAS postdoc benefits survey to roll out soon the first week of December. 

  • Council Member Elections (10’)
    • Lucy Xie

Is a co-chair of the family committee. Wants to advocate for families with dependents and is planning family-friendly events and resources. One idea is to match kids for playdates based on where they live ect.. Also want to match postdocs with alumni. Tim asks how they can share resources. Have google drive so far for sharing and managing resources. 

VOTED IN- 13 yes

  • Council Member Re-Elections (10’)
    • Roberta Sala

Has been part of SURPAS for many years. Wants to serve as a resource for everyone. Was involved in salary increase and long range planning. 

VOTED IN- 15 yes

  • C-RES Update (10’)
    • Alaa Youssef

C-RES is proposing a policy on limitations for postdoc consultation. Current limitation is 13 days/quarter and no clarity to distinguish between internship and consultation. Planning to meet with C-RES again to make the case that this is not beneficial for postdocs. 

Chinyere: Is this open-ended period or for a certain amount of time? Alaa mentions the 13 days is arbitrary. Will be the choice of the PI to determine whether they can do this. Argued that this would be a good opportunity for training and consulting/industry positions. Will need department approval if go past 13 days. Chinyere: How is this different for international postdocs? Alaa mentions international postdocs are not eligible due to VISA restrictions so this is another inequity. Alina mentions you can consult but have to have authorization so is possible. Vimala comments that testimony of people doing this would add value to our argument. Tim mentions that the training aspect of this is a good argument. Alina mentions that one consulting activity requirement is that it is linked to your project so phrase it that the consulting will help in a certain way. Lucy mentions to ask consulting firms for testimonies saying how beneficial postdocs are in this role. Alaa mentions that we want to represent postdocs and should not be reaching out to companies as of now and confidentiality. Eamon asks whether 13hr/quarter is summer is not included. Alaa yes summer counts as a “quarter”. Alina mentions we could also use financial incentives. Alaa said that’s one reason but may be inequity between postdocs so something for Stanford to consider. 

  • Committee Updates (30’)
    • Teaching and Outreach Committee —Alaa Youssef and Divya Pathak
    • Family and Housing Committee – Lucy Xie
    • Sports Committee – Becky Gullberg

Teaching & Outreach: Started back up in November. Started CAL Academy NighLife up again. Teaching certificate, Science is Elementary and other programs that they’re trying to re-start. CAL Academy Bioluminescence event in November. Will be setting up a committee meeting in the near future.  

Family & Housing: Wants to support postdocs with dependents. Having a family committee meeting tomorrow. Want to have a Spring event (previously in March/April). Running “Parents in Bioscience” event where themed monthly coffee chats. Want to do weekend family-friendly event quarterly (first one was a success). Can meet at playgrounds with food/snacks keep smaller due to COVID restrictions. Family friendly outings such as kids and stroller friendly organized hikes and local activities. It’s estimated that 25% of total postdocs are Stanford have dependents. Working on covering basic living costs, housing and childcare. Reached out to OPA about this. Wants to create a need based grant, $25,000 (estimated cost of daycare) support grant. Have initiated negotiations with OPA and planning to discuss further with the faculty. Also food and housing insecurities. Family supporting initiatives like guides for activities, travels with kids, reviews for daycare, match family with kids for playdates and childcare share. 

Sports Committee: Have many sports groups like climbing, tennis, biking, running club, volleyball, soccer and hiking. Trying to get more people interested in leading the hikes. Suggests doing family-friendly hikes in the future. Mentions about waivers for some events, should we have them? Looking to increase social media content. Sending out monthly email with events. Ioana mentions 2 new instagram accounts (tennis and wine club) that use Stanford logo which technically shouldn’t. Requires approval process to use Logo’s. Hikes can sign up for 2 people and bring whoever you want. Bradley mentions for non-Stanford people there may be ASSU guidelines but as long as Stanford participants outweigh the number of non-Stanford participants then it should be fine. 

  • Resolution- Fossil Fuel Industry

Resolutions brought by Tim Mackenzie. Want to call the University to Divest from fossil fuel. Ioana mentions to get more postdocs aware of this resolution. Tim mentions that we can also put public pressure on the university by having this resolution pass as SURPAS. Ex. Have an article get into Stanford Daily. Chinyere mentions to distribute a document to postdocs and we will discuss further and bring it up at the next council meeting. 

  • Upcoming events (10’)
    • November Happy Hour
      • Date: Nov. 24th, 4 – 5:30 pm
      • Location: LSKC Herb Garden
    • Wellness program
      • In partnership with the Office of Medical Student Wellness (OMSW), SURPAS will host a Dog Therapy Session on December 2, 12-1PM in front of LSKC 
    • December Council Meeting – 
      • Thursday, December 16th 11:30 am-1 pm