Doctoral Students' Council (DSC)


The Doctoral Students’ Council (DSC) serves all students enrolled in Graduate Center doctoral and master’s programs or courses who pay a Graduate Center student activity fee. This includes students whose programs may be based largely on other CUNY campuses. The DSC is the sole policymaking body representing students in doctoral or master’s programs at the Graduate Center and administers the money collected from the Student Activity Fee. The DSC welcomes suggestions from the student body on how to maximize the use of its resources.

The Doctoral Students’ Council is located in the Robert E. Gilleece Student Center on the 5th floor. The Student Center houses the student organizations chartered by the DSC and has two spacious, large-windowed student lounges (Rooms 5414 and 5409) where students can meet and relax. These lounges, together with a small conference room (Room 5489), are available for reservation for student events through the DSC.

The Executive Committee consists of three co-chairs, the University Student Senate (USS) Delegate, and the University Faculty Senate (UFS) Liaison (as nonvoting ex-officio members):

Each program has representatives to the council elected on a proportional basis according to the number of students enrolled in the particular program. In addition, at-large representatives are elected from the student body as a whole: one at-large representative for every 200 students. A listing of DSC representatives is available from the DSC office and on the Web site, The DSC nominations are held each February and elections each April. Nominees are solicited from and voted for within each discipline. The incoming council elects the officers from among its own membership in May. (No more than three officers may be from the same program, and no more than one co-chair may be from the same program.) The term of the new council and its officers begins on July 1.

DSC in Action

The Doctoral Students’ Council (DSC), its Executive Committee, and its Steering Committee are charged with:

  1. Representing student interests before the administration and ­external bodies and providing Ombuds functions.
  2. Supporting student organizations.
  3. Fostering a sense of community among the students in the CUNY Graduate Center’s doctoral and master’s degree programs.

Representing student interests before the administration and ­external bodies and providing Ombuds functions.

In addition to informal and ongoing communications, the DSC Executive Committee and Steering Committee members meet with members of the Graduate Center administration to report activities and exchange information. Students may have issues presented by their DSC representatives or the DSC Executive Committee before the Doctoral Students’ Council, or can personally address the council by requesting to be put on the DSC agenda for an upcoming meeting. This may, in turn, result in discussion or actions taken within the DSC or between the DSC and the administration. The DSC members also act as advocates for graduate student interests at the Board of Trustees, University Student Senate, University Faculty Senate, New York State Assembly, and the Mayor’s Office, and with the Graduate Center administration. Students who are interested in serving on Graduate Council or advisory committees should indicate their interest to the DSC Co-Chairs. (Please refer to the Student Leadership Eligibility section for standing committees of Graduate Council and consult a Co-Chair for other committee information.) Examples of DSC efforts on students’ behalf include: working for tuition remission for all graduate students; securing enhanced fellowships, professional development funds, and research awards for students; striving for improvements in student health insurance and services provided by the Wellness Center; working to ensure student representation on Graduate Council standing and ad hoc committees as well as on program committees; opposing tuition increases; and maintaining student autonomy in handling Student Activity Fees. The DSC co-chairs serve as ombudspersons for students, providing information and assistance as requested. This includes guidance and referral in grievance matters and working with departmental student representatives to address student grievances at the Graduate Center.

Supporting student organizations.

The DSC considers requests for charters for interdisciplinary student organizations. Based on the organization’s intent and fulfillment of various structural requirements, the DSC evaluates and votes on whether to charter the organization, which entitles its members to funding according to specified guidelines. (Consult the DSC Co-Chair for Student Affairs for further information.) A list of some past and present student organizations can be found at the end of this section.

Fostering a sense of community among the students in the CUNY Graduate Center’s doctoral and master’s degree programs.

The DSC keeps the Graduate Center community informed on important issues through the DSC Web site, the student newspaper (The Advocate), posters, and open forums. The DSC also organizes free Graduate Center student social events, including fall, winter, and spring all-school parties. The Outreach Committee also organizes at least two campus outreach visits each semester, with campuses selected on a rotating basis.

DSC Grants

The DSC provides funding for cultural events, conferences, performances, professional development activities, publications, seminars, and other projects organized by students from program standing or ad hoc committees, Chartered Organizations, or ad hoc groups not necessarily associated with programs or Chartered Organizations. The Grants Committee gives priority to applications that are interdisciplinary in nature and to programs, disciplines, and areas of interest that have not received grant funds during the current fiscal year. Participation in grant-funded activities must be free and open to all Graduate Center students. Specifics about each grant can be found on the DSC Web site at

Program Allocations

Funds derived from the Student Activity Fees are also available for use by the individual programs. Each program and subprogram receives a per-semester allotment based on the number of students—either $5 per student or $200 per program, whichever is larger. These student funds must be obtained through program representatives to the DSC and must be requested within the academic year for which the funds are allocated. Funds are disbursed as reimbursements through check requests, which can be filed at

Adjunct Project

The DSC Adjunct Project exists to improve the employment opportunities, situation, and status of CUNY doctoral student adjuncts. Project staff use a variety of methods to accomplish these goals. They engage in advocacy for doctoral student adjuncts, publicize issues of importance to doctoral student adjuncts, facilitate communication about issues of concern, and assist students in advocating for themselves with department chairs and other University administrators. In cases where adjuncts are represented by an existing union, the Project works to advocate for them within the union and to make clear the issues of importance to doctoral students. For inquiries or more information about the Adjunct Project, stop by Room 5494 or call 1-212-817-7869.

Fundraising and Alumni Commission

The Fundraising and Alumni Commission (FAC) was recently created to establish fundraising and networking opportunities for graduate students at the Graduate Center.  In addition, the Fundraising and Alumni Commission shall act as liaisons between Graduate Center Alumni and the DSO in order to strengthen connections between current and former students in ways that will be mutually beneficial to both parties.  For inquiries or more information about FAC, visit


OpenCUNY advocates on behalf of and provides students access to free and open-source digital media. Currently, OpenCUNY runs an installation of WordpressMU, which offers free Web space for students as well as organizations, whether they are officially chartered through the DSC or are ad hoc groups. For inquiries or more information about OpenCUNY, visit

In addition, the DSC provides the following:

  1. The Robert E. Gilleece Student Center (5th floor), which has a microwave, sofas, worktables, meeting space for student chartered organizations, and office spaces. To make arrangements for the use of student meeting space, file a room request on the DSC Web site at The time and location of each DSC event is posted on DSC Web site.

  2. Free legal consultations through a partnership with the Community Legal Resource Network (CLRN) and ongoing financial advice. To request a consultation, visit the DSC Web site at

  3. A student newspaper, The Advocate.

  4. The DSC Web site,, where students can obtain all current information about the DSC and can post notices on a student bulletin board.


The Executive Committee consists of three co-chairs, the University Student Senate (USS) Delegate, and the University Faculty Senate (UFS) Liaison (as nonvoting ex-officio members):

Co-Chair for Student Affairs: Amy Martin, (French)
Room 5493
Telephone: 212-817-7881

Co-Chair for Communications: Hamad Sindhi, (Sociology)
Room 5491
Telephone: 212-817-7847

Co-Chair for Business: Jennifer Prince, (Hispanic and Luso-Brazilian Literatures and Languages)
Room 5499
Telephone: 212-817-7892

University Student Senate Delegate: Cecilia Salvi, (Anthropology)
Room 5496
Telephone: 212-817-7868

University Faculty Senate Liaison: Liza Shapiro, (Comparative Literature)
Room 5496
Telephone: 212-817-7881

The Steering Committee consists of the Executive Committee and six officers-at-large, who each oversee a particular domain:

Officer for Outreach: Saiful Saleem (French)

Officer for Funding: Theodor Maghrak (Anthropology)

Officer for Health and Wellness: Charlotte Thurston (English)

Officer for Student Life and Services: Carlos Camacho (Sociology)

Officer for Governance and Membership: Kyla Bender-Baird (Sociology)

Officer for Technology and Library: Jeremy Randall (History)

Current and Past Student Organizations Chartered by the DSC

For up-to-date information about student organizations, see the DSC Web site, For more information, contact the DSC at 1-212-817-7888, or visit the DSC offices in Room 5495. The following are examples of current or past student organizations chartered by the DSC:

AELLA (Latino & Latin-American Students Association)
Africa Research Group
Africana Studies Group
American Studies Group (aka CUNY Americanists)
Association for Computer Machinery
Black Student Alliance (BSA)
Chinese Students and Scholars Association (CSSA)
Cinema Studies Group
Classical and Ancient Near Eastern Studies Group (CANES)
Colombian Studies Group
CUNY Women In Science, Engineering and Math
DSA / Democratic Socialists of America at CUNY
Early Modern Interdisciplinary Group
Eastern European Studies Group
Eighteenth Century Studies Group
Ethnobiology Study Group (ESG)
Feminist Studies Group
The French Interdisciplinary Group for Seventeenth-Century Studies
The Future Is Green Club
The GC Poetics Group
Global Studies Collective
International Socialists’ Organization
Japan Study Group
Korean Student Association
Language Studies Organization
Luso-Brazilian Studies Organization
Middle Eastern Studies Organization
Mise en Scène
PART (Art History Journal)
Pearle Kibre Medieval Study
Postcolonial Studies Group
QUNY: The Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgendered, and Queer Student Group
SPTSA / Social and Political Theory Students Association
The Spatial Scholars Group
Taiwanese Students Organization
Turkish Students Association
Twentieth Century Studies Group
Women of Color Network

Contact Information

Robert E. Gilleece Student Center, Fifth Floor
Main Office: Room 5495
Telephone: 1-212-817-7888
Fax: 1-212-817-1592