2018 GCHC Membership Referendum

Neutral Informational Overview: 
The 2018 GSG Election will also include a vote on a referendum related to graduate student membership in the Graduate College House Committee (GCHC). The text of the referendum reads: “Whether the Graduate College House Committee (GCHC) should automatically include all graduate students living in university housing as members of the House.”

The overall question at hand is whether the Graduate College House Committee (GCHC) should automatically include all graduate students living in university housing as members of the House. As attendance and inclusion in House events, such as Fall Ball, Spring Formal, Social Hour, and DBar, has grown more prevalent with non-house members, there is reason to suggest these individuals be made members of the House A GC non-resident membership would allow these individuals access to the DBar without having to be a guest of a current member.  An opt-out process would be in effect to allow students to remove themselves from this system in the event they do not use the services provided (this opt-out policy would not extend to students currently living in the GC, as the dues also go to pay for other services related to their housing).

  • Would you support extending GCHC membership to automatically include all graduate students living in university housing, thereby automatically granting DBar access?
  • Would you opt-out of this new system?
  • If you would opt-out, at what due cost would you consider staying in this system (current GCHC non-resident membership is $25 per academic year)?

General Information:
The DBar in the Graduate College is facing two concerns to stay in compliance with its New Jersey Club license: declining attendance and liability issues related to visitor sign in at the bar. DBar operates under a club license, which grants us permission to sell alcohol but solely to GC resident and non-resident members and their guests. There must be a 3-day grace period between when someone signs up for a membership and when they are granted access to the bar.  Members are allowed to sign in up to 9 guests at a time, but these guests are the responsibility of the member while they are in the bar, and they must leave with their member. They cannot be resigned in at this point by another member, but they can be signed in at the beginning of the night under more than one member. This is supposed to prevent guests from using the services of the bar without supervision of a member and to prevent abuse of the system. To prevent students from leaving without their guests, the door person at the bar collects the PUIDs of all members signing in guests, which can be picked up upon leaving the bar with guests in tow unless the guest was signed by two members and one of the members still stays at the DBar with the guest.

Why is this proposal being considered?
The primary issue at hand is that after their first year at Princeton, most graduate students move out of the Graduate College where they had automatic GC resident membership. Graduate students who do not live at the Graduate College or Annexes are currently allowed to apply for GC non-resident membership for $25 per academic year, and pick up a GC sticker 3 days after they submit their application. Many students, however, do not do so, but instead rely on select friends to purchase a membership and sign them in whenever they go to the DBar. If friends are not available, they do not come to DBar.  This is mainly due the current opt-in process, where many students forget or choose not to sign up at the beginning of the year. When they remember on nights they want to come to DBar, due to the 3-day waiting period as required by the New Jersey Club license they are unable to use their own membership. This limits signups overall, and puts barriers to students accessing and participating in the DBar.

The liability issue stems from the sheer number of sign ins on any given night, and the fact that there are 2-10 times as many Princeton graduate students signed in than guests of GC resident and non-resident members who are not Princeton graduate students. On busy nights, DBar can sign in over 100 guests, which makes tracking all of these signed in guests and linking them to their member incredibly difficult. Since there are a couple of exits from DBar, students often forget their IDs at the bar and come pick them up at a later date. In addition, these signed-in students live nearby, and are not reliant on their member for either accommodation or friends at the bar, and therefore feel no compunction to leave with their member. DBar may therefore be liable to issues arising from breaches of these rules, which must be remedied as soon as possible.

Proposed Solution:
To address both these issues simultaneously, we would like to extend GC membership to all graduate students currently living in graduate housing. Since all graduate students are allowed, and frequently do use Graduate College House services, including other events and Procter Hall, they should be included in the House automatically. These students would become members of the GCHC house, and be afforded all voting and other privileges that come with membership, including DBar. This measure would drastically reduce the number of sign-ins the bar handles on any given day, and would reduce the likelihood that guests stay behind when their members leave, as DBar can more accurately monitor the fewer guests. Non-resident membership would not change, and still be available for those students not living in graduate housing. An opt-out process would be available for those students who do not want to use any of the GCHC benefits, or partake in DBar activities.

If the referendum were to pass, what would the impact be for graduate students at Princeton?
All graduate students living in university housing who do not opt-out (opt-out mechanism and opt-out time period yet to be determined) will be charged the GC non-resident membership fee and will be provided a GC membership sticker, assuming they are over the age of 21 Due to the increase in members, the dues cost would drop, providing a similar revenue stream to the GCHC but spread over more members. The final amount would be determined based on this survey: how many students would opt-out and how many members would be added. Any changes in membership dues would be voted on by House members.