Resolutions

Resolution F20-05:  Expansion of the Committee on Fossil Fuel Investment Principles

Sponsors:

Megan Kelley (GSA Representative - Interdepartmental Neuroscience Program, Service Committee Chair) 
Amber Howell (GSA Representative - Interdepartmental Neuroscience Program)
Kyra Thrush (GSA Representative - Computational Biology & Bioinformatics)
Julianne Rolf (GSA Representative - Chemical and Environmental Engineering)
Laura Logozzo (GSA Representative - School of the Environment)

Recipients:

Peter Salovey (President, Yale University)
Scott Strobel (Provost, Yale University)
Jonathan Macey (Chair, Committee on Fossil Fuel Investment Principles)
David Swensen (Chief Investment Officer, Yale University)
Yale Board of Trustees

Whereas  the Yale University (the University) Committee on Fossil Fuel Investment Principles (CFFIP) was created on October 22, 2020 to, with input from the University community, develop guiding principles for the Corporation Committee on Investor Responsibility with regards to the “social injury” of fossil fuel investment.1

Whereas “social injury” means “the injurious impact which the activities of a company are found to have on consumers, employees, or other persons.”2

Whereas the “injurious impact” of fossil fuels includes environmental discrimination, in which risks tied to fossil fuels are inequitably shouldered by communities based on socioeconomic, racial, and cultural factors. In practice, this means that the negative impacts of the fossil fuel industry such as pollution and extreme weather due to climate change are disproportionately concentrated in communities which are poor and/or primarily made up of Black, Brown, or other people of color.3

Whereas students have long called for the University to take action to address the existential threat of climate change, including recognizing environmental discrimination and centering environmental and climate justice. 

Whereas the Graduate Student Assembly (GSA) is an elected body charged with representing graduate students, including acting as an important voice on many University committees such as the Advisory Committee on Investor Responsibility.

Whereas the GSA is recognized by the CFFIP as a partner in ensuring representation of graduate student perspectives on the development of principles on fossil fuel investment.

Whereas the University has many environmental justice experts within the Yale School of the Environment.4

Be it resolved that the GSA urges the University to expand the composition of the CFFIP to include experts on climate and environmental justice in order to ensure that the “social injury” of fossil fuels receives adequate attention in the development of the committee’s new investment guidelines. 

Be it further resolved that this expansion should also include representatives from University stakeholders with a history of involvement on these issues, such as the GSA, the Graduate and Professional Student Senate, the Yale College Council, and the Yale Office of Sustainability.

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1 “Committee on Fossil Fuel Investment Principles.” Office of the President, 7 Nov. 2020, president.yale.edu/committee-fossil-fuel-investment-principles, accessed November 1, 2020
2 Policies and Past Actions: Concept of Social Injury.” Policies and Past Actions | Advisory Committee on Investor Responsibility, acir.yale.edu/policies-and-past-actions, accessed November 30, 2020
 Schlosberg, D., & Collins, L. B. (2014). From environmental to climate justice: climate change and the discourse of environmental justice. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change, 5(3), 359-374.
 Yale School of the Environment Faculty Expertise: Environmental Justice. environment.yale.edu/profiles/expertise/environmental-justice.



RESOLUTION F20-004: Reassuring Yale’s Commitment to Maintaining ACA Health Policies

Sponsors:

Julianne Rolf (GSA Representative - Chemical and Environmental Engineering)

Breeanna Elliott (GSA Representative - History, Facilities and Healthcare Committee Chair)

Nicolle Rosa-Mercado (GSA Representative - Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry)

Anne Taylor (GSA Representative - Sociology)

Stephen Breazeale (GSA Representative - Nursing )

Recipients:

Peter Salovey, President of Yale University

Scott Strobel, Provost of Yale University

Lynn Cooley, Dean of Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Paul Genecin, Chief Executive Officer

Jennifer W. McCarthy, Chief Medical Officer

Madeline Wilson, Chief Quality Officer

Nanci Fortgang, Chief Clinical Operations Officer 

Peter Steere, Chief Operating Officer

Catherine Kelly, Manager of Member Services

Cynthia Smith, Associate Provost from Health Affairs & Academic Integrity

Whereas on November 10, 2020, the United States Supreme Court heard oral arguments on the future of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) and will render their final opinion in spring 2021.

Whereas the ACA guarantees access to healthcare regardless of health status, limits insurers’ ability to vary premiums based on age, and requires insurers to cover services and devices to treat individuals with injuries, disabilities, and/or chronic illnesses.1

Whereas the ACA stopped insurers from charging women up to 1.5 times more than men for health insurances and treating pregnancy as a preexisting condition.2

Whereas the ACA mandates basic services for insurance plans, including coverage for maternity services, pregnancy prevention, prescription drugs, lab tests for diagnosing illnesses, mental and behavioral health care, emergency room services, and hospitalization.3

Whereas the ACA requires preventive and wellness visits to have no copays; this includes well-woman visits, domestic violence screenings, and support for breastfeeding equipment.

Whereas the ACA allows children up to the age of 26 to be included as beneficiaries on their parents’ plans and ensures dental and vision care for pediatric beneficiaries.

Whereas the ACA eliminates annual and lifetime limits, significantly reducing bankruptcy filings.4

Whereas Yale provides Yale Health Basic Coverage services free of charge for all students as well as Hospitalization/Specialty Care Coverage for full-time PhD students.5

Be it resolved that the GSA urges the recipients to publicly acknowledge to the Yale community the critical importance of the healthcare coverage and protections provided by the ACA as well as the serious financial and medical challenges individuals, including graduate students, will face if such protections are not guaranteed by law.

Be it further resolved that Yale continue to provide Yale Health Basic Coverage for all students and provide Hospitalization/Specialty Care Coverage for all full-time Ph.D. students.

Be it further resolved that the Graduate Student Assembly (GSA) implores Yale University to guarantee healthcare benefits as specified in the ACA regardless of the Supreme Court’s ruling.

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 Affordable Care Act. https://www.healthcare.gov/where-can-i-read-the-affordable-care-act/
N. Rapfogel, E. Gee, and M. Calsyn. 10 Ways the ACA Has Improved Health Care in the Past Decade. https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/healthcare/news/2020/03/23/482012/10-ways-aca-improved-health-care-past-decade/
https://www.kff.org/health-reform/fact-sheet/summary-of-the-affordable-c…
4 K. Amadeo. Benefits of Obamacare. https://www.thebalance.com/benefits-of-obamacare-advantages-of-the-aca-3306066
5 Graduate Student Assembly. Yale Health. https://gsa.yale.edu/compass/life-yale/health-and-wellness/yale-health



RESOLUTION F20-003: Call for Yale Administration to Support Yale Students affected by Azerbaijan and Artsakh Conflict

Sponsors

Max Clayton (GSA Representative - American Studies) 
Frankie Barrett (GSA Representative - American Studies) 
Sandra Sánchez (GSA Representative - History) 

Recipients

Peter Salovey (President, Yale University)
Scott Strobel (Provost, Yale University)
Richard Jacob (Associate Vice President for Federal and State Relations, Yale University) 

Whereas Starting September 27, 2020, Azerbaijan, backed by Turkey, has been attacking Artsakh (also known as Nagorno-Karabakh), a 95% Armenian-majority de facto sovereign entity and an Armenian stronghold where indigenous Armenians have lived since antiquity. 

Whereas under the guise of territorial claims, Azerbaijan’s attacks, which have included the use of cluster munitions and other war crimes in violation of international humanitarian law, have led to the loss of many civilians and the destruction of essential infrastructure.1

Whereas the Senate Foreign Relations Committee ranking member Bob Menendez introduced two resolutions calling on the U.S. State Department to review Azerbaijan’s human rights violations, U.S. leadership has failed to intervene to prevent the use of its weapons and military technology by Azerbaijani forces.2

Whereas our Yale community admits and supports undergraduate and graduate students from Armenia, Artsakh, Azerbaijan, and Turkey, as well as those who remain part of diasporic communities in the U.S. 

Whereas this crisis affects the mental well-being of these students and disrupts the academic opportunities of Yale students and faculty who conduct research in the region involved in the conflict. 

Whereas Yale has an opportunity to support the diverse and inclusive community of scholars, researchers, and aspiring leaders. 

Be it resolved that Yale should stand with our affected community members by publicly acknowledging that this conflict negatively impacts our Yale community. 

Be it further resolved that the Graduate Student Assembly urges the recipients to support our affected community members by publicly demanding that the federal government advocate for the immediate cessation of hostilities and restoration of peace, followed by a diplomatic approach to resolving the conflict.

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1 https://www.hrw.org/news/2020/10/23/azerbaijan-cluster-munitions-used-na…. 
2https://www.foreign.senate.gov/press/ranking/release/menendez-colleagues….



RESOLUTION F20-001: Implementing a Medical Relief Policy for Graduate Students 

Sponsors

Stephen Breazeale (GSA Representative - Nursing)
Carson J Bryant (GSA Representative - Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry)
Christina Carolus (GSA Representative - Anthropology)
Ronald Chow (GSA Representative - Public Health)
Breeanna Elliott (GSA Representative - History; Chair, Facilities & Healthcare Committee)
Chrishan Fernando (GSA Representative - Biological and Biomedical Sciences (BBS))
Gadareth Higgs (GSA Representative - Molecular Cellular and Developmental Biology; Chair, Academic and Professional Development Committee)
Megan Kelley (GSA Representative - Interdepartmental Neuroscience Program; Chair, Service Committee)
Madison Rackear (GSA Representative - Biological and Biomedical Sciences (BBS))
Nicolle Rosa-Mercado (GSA Representative - Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry; Member, GSA Steering Committee)
S. Maxwell Scalf (GSA Representative - Cell Biology Representative; Chair, Transit & Security Committee)

 

Recipients:

Lynn Cooley (Dean, Yale University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences)
Paul Genecin (Chief Executive Officer, Yale Health)
George Longyear (Director,Graduate and Professional Student Housing) 
Scott Strobel (Provost, Yale University)

Whereas the intended purpose of the GSAS medical leave of absence is to provide the protected ability for a student to interrupt their graduate studies should medical concerns arise and to support students with disabilities and/or chronic illnesses;

Whereas the current GSAS medical leave of absence policy neglects to support low-income students, who may otherwise benefit from and/or require a period of flexibility during their studies, in taking said leave due to prospective loss of healthcare coverage, stipend income, and access to Yale facilities and Yale-affiliated graduate housing;

Whereas other GSAS policies, such as the parental relief policy, demonstrate the administration’s flexibility in supporting students who experience a change in life circumstances, these policy considerations do not yet extend to those graduate students who may require similar flexibility and financial support for documented medical reasons, which disproportionately impacts students with disabilities and/or chronic illnesses;

Be it first resolved that the Graduate Student Assembly urges the GSAS administration to implement a medical relief policy, which offers, as a minimum, similar benefits to those of the parental relief policy. This would provide such benefits as allowing students on medical relief to maintain their full-time student status, receive their standard financial aid stipend and health award, have all academic responsibilities altered to fit their circumstances, and have their academic clocks stopped for the duration of the term;

Be it further resolved that graduate students requesting medical relief be provided the option to enroll in the Academic Travel Rider or a similar program in case relocation is necessary;

Be it further resolved that GSAS and other university leadership will work alongside the GSA Facilities and Healthcare Committee and the GSA Steering Committee to develop this policy.



RESOLUTION F20-02:  The GSA Opposes DHS Proposal to Shorten Admission Period for F- & J- Student Visa Holders and their Dependents

Sponsors:

Stephen Breazeale (GSA Representative - Nursing)
Christina Carolus (GSA Representative - Anthropology)
Ronald Chow (GSA Representative - Public Health)
Breeanna Elliott (GSA Representative - History; Chair, Facilities and Healthcare Committee)
Ferhat Erata (GSA Representative - Computer Science)
Aida Feng (GSA Representative - Germanic Languages and Literatures)
Chrishan Fernando (GSA Representative - Biological and Biomedical Sciences (BBS))
Aritra Ghosh (GSA Representative - Astronomy; Member, Steering Committee)
Sophie Hao (GSA Representative - Computer Science)
Karina López (GSA Representative - Spanish and Portuguese)
Federica Parodi (GSA Representative - Italian Studies)
Carl R. Rice (GSA Representative - History; Chair, PR Committee)
Pavla Rosenstein (GSA Representative - Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations)
Joseph Shomar (GSA Representative - Physics)
Spencer Small (GSA Representative - Slavic Languages & Literatures, Member, Steering Committee)

Recipients:

Peter Salovey, Ph.D. (President, Yale University)
Scott Strobel, Ph.D. (Provost, Yale University)
Kimberly Goff-Crews (Secretary & Vice President for University Life, Yale University)
The Yale Corporation Board of Trustees
Lynn Cooley (Dean, Yale University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences)
Ann Kuhlman (Executive Director, Office of International Students & Scholars)
Richard Jacobs (Associate Vice President for Federal and State Relations)

Whereas the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced on September 25, 2020 a proposed rule change that will alter the current Duration of Status policy for F & J status visa-holders and would limit the duration of their stay in the US to either two or four years before requiring an application with US Citizenship and Immigration Services for an extension of stay;

Whereas international students comprise approximately half of the doctoral students in the US and more than one-third of the students in Yale’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences;

Whereas this proposed DHS rule change saddles international students with unnecessary emotional and financial distress;

Whereas this undue distress will adversely affect international students’ progress in their academic programs; 

Whereas Yale University maintains a commitment to Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, promotes Belonging at Yale, and emphasizes its support for international students and scholars;

Be it first resolved that the Graduate Student Assembly (GSA) affirms that international students belong at Yale and are valued and essential members of the Graduate School and Yale communities.

Be it further resolved that the GSA condemns this proposed xenophobic and inhuman threat to academic freedom and commits to opposing the implementation of this rule (or any similarly xenophobic and isolationist rule changes);

Be it further resolved that GSA calls on the resolution’s recipients and other University leaders to join the Assembly in all of these actions by reaffirming their support of international students, by directing the Office of General Counsel to prepare a legal challenge to the proposed rule change, and by publicly opposing this rule change and any future proposals of this nature.

Be it further resolved that the GSA requests the University administration  work alongside GSA and other student organizations as it designs a robust response to the proposed rule change.