General Assembly – Fall 2017

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The Fall 2017 GISA General Assembly was held on November 1st, 2017 at the Maison des étudiants Edgar et Danièle de Picciotto. Please refer to the summary report below for details.



In the autumn GA 2017, the student body and GISA welcomed Mr Burrin who hold the introduction as a guest speaker. He put the institute in a broader academic context and explained to the student body the financial situation and future steps the institute will take.  He explained that IHEID ought to commit to a higher number of students – 1000 is the goal. The institute would like to remain selective, but is bound by negotiation agreements. He annouced that the level of financial aid will continue to increase. One of the measures of funding for IHEID is the new student house designed by Kengo Kuma. When the sketch is finalized, GISA with inputs from the student body, will discuss questions such as studios vs. shared apartments, public spaces, the rooftop and sustainability issues. He also announced that IHEID is working on implementing a four year package for PhD students.

After the introduction, Mr Burrin took two questions. The first one concerned PhD tuition and funding. Mr Burrin gave a two-part answer: reducing the number of PhDs to the level where it is sustainable to fund all of them on the one side and an introduction of a responsibility of the scholarship holder on the other side. The second question concerned support of students with children, on which Mr Burrin gave the answer that there will be the discussion about potential day-care in the new building.


Election themes and results
  1.     GISA Budget for 2017/2018:                                           Accepted

For:   Large majority    Against: 0        Abstain:4

  1.     Unsustainable Growth of the Institute:                           Accepted

The general voted with a large majority to ask GISA to put priority for the next 6 months on the issue of the current growth of the institute. Despite the reassuring words of M. Burrin at the beginning of the session students expressed fears regarding 3 mains points.

  • concern over professor/student ratio.

Many students reported the difficulties to find supervisor for their thesis and to get access to professors in time of office hours as they tend to be fully booked. Classes are also bigger this year than last year and students underlined that it is impossible to get a seminar format discussion in a 30+ student class.

  • Classrooms conditions

Students reported occurrences where they are in rooms too small for their number, or the lack of the chairs to sit. They also reported that some chair don’t have a writing tablet. They also mentioned that air quality decrease really quickly in the smaller classrooms when 30+ students sit for more than 60min.

  • Student spaces

Students pointed a lack of study spaces and public spaces, they cited more sitting areas outside classrooms, packed kitchen areas, lack of study areas. They asked to make rooms available to book for study for group of students. It was also reported that PhDs without contracts are not able to access the hot desks in the department on weekends and after 7pm. They asked for a potential derogation for those who request. It was also noted that no transparent desk allocation had been done this semester by department administrators for PhDs without contracts.

  1.     Conditional Tuition Waiver for Specialized Committees:    Rejected

Specialized committees  presented their proposal for a Conditional Tuition Waiver aiming at the elected presidents of the Specialized Committees, at recognizing a student’s outstanding contribution to the student body.

Students discussed the possibilities to include initiatives members and MIA mentors within the scope of a Conditional Tuition Waiver. The audience voted on a short majority to reject the proposal to pursue later discussions on that proposal.

For:   19      Against:     24 Abstain: 15

TOPICS brought up by the student body

  1.     Priority of use of MdP space:                                             Accepted

Students defended the view that external events should not have priority over students (not closing the cafeteria earlier for an event & send security to throw out the students), They underlines the fact that a restaurant on Petal 5 should be used in priority for events rather than cafeteria or lobby during class times; They also regretted the fact of renting the big auditorium if there was a class scheduled in there

A large majority of the audience connected to these ideas and voted that the priority of the students on MdP P1 & P2 should be reinstated.

For: Large majority Against:           Abstain:

  1.     Student Space in MdP:                                                       Accepted

A student express the need for a space on which students would have full control, a place where we could go to be loud, express ourselves in any way we want.”

The audience strongly backed that proposal.

For: Large majority    Against:           Abstain:

  1.     Availability of food in the cafeteria:                                   Accepted

A student reported that there are problem in the availability of food out the 12-2 time period, especially student dish is often not ready before 12:00 and sold out at 13:30. At the same time, many courses are scheduled between 12:15 and 14:00”

The audience agreed with the student and voted for an extension of the service time to fit with class hours.

For: Majority Against:     5      Abstain: 6

  1.     Registration Process:                                                          Accepted

Student require that work should be done to avoid what happened this year. Maybe even creating a system where conflicts are visible on the webpage when we register, and a tool to create your timetable/ list of courses before registration, so we have an idea of the courses we get/ want to take/ conflicts etc. before hand. Which makes it easier for students to plan courses ahead of time. It becomes less stressful during the day of registration.

Advanced students mentioned that registration system has created troubles and stress every year for at least 2 years.

The audience voted that this should be another priority in GISA work for the coming months.

For: Majority   Against:     1      Abstain: 2

The audience asked multiple questions on the new building, expressing especially concerns on the level of rents. GISA explained that this would be discussed later on in november with the administration.


End of Assembly

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