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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    “Seeking autonomy, GPSC turns to Likins”

    GPSC has requested for President Likins to appoint a committee that would evaluate the student government on campus and assess the need for a change in the ASUA constitution to facilitate the pullout of graduate students from the constituency of ASUA.

    In a letter written Monday to President Peter Likins and Saundra Taylor, senior vice president of campus life, the Graduate and Professional Student Council requested that Likins initiate an assessment of the Associated Student of the University of Arizona.

    “”I would like to see an investigation of the student government at the University of Arizona. If ASUA has nothing to hide, they should have nothing to lose,”” said GPSC President Elaine Ulrich.

    As the basis for the request, GPSC president-elect Paul Thorn cited Arizona Board of Regents policy 5-202 A, which states that while student government constitutions aren’t submitted to the board for approval, “”the board may, at the request of the president of an institution, direct the president of the institution to appoint a committee to review the constitution and determine whether revisions are necessary or desirable.””

    Acting ASUA President Erin Hertzog said that administration intervention in an entirely student-run organization is the last thing students want.

    “”We are made up of nothing but students,”” Hertzog said. “”I don’t know why they want to put a stop to something that has been successful for 85 years, and I don’t think the administration would want to do that either.””

    Student Regent Ben Graff also criticized the actions of GPSC, writing them a letter Tuesday calling for them to immediately stop their “”ranting, angry mumbling and inappropriate remarks.””

    Graff, who was ASUA president from 2000-2001, said this is the second time this year he’s felt the need to construct such a letter in response to GPSC “”misleading”” students, and he writes that he has “”never been so disappointed in the GPSC.””

    “”If you do not calm down and address your issues with civility and professionalism, I will take it upon myself to draft a full report of your unethical behavior to the administration and the regents,”” Graff wrote.

    Paul Thorn, GPSC external affairs vice president, questioned whether it was Graff’s proper role as a student regent to take such a position and to write a “”threatening”” letter.

    “”These kinds of threats and statements are grossly inappropriate for someone who is, as a student regent, supposed to represent all students in the Arizona University System,”” Thorn said in an e-mail statement.

    Graff also addressed accusations that it was then-GPSC President Jason Auxier who successfully obtained teaching assistant and research assistant remission funds with minimal help from ASUA during Graff’s time as ASUA president, a claim that has been debated since the GPSC elections two weeks ago.

    “”(Auxier) and GPSC functioned exactly how it was intended in 2001 – as an advisory group to the student body president,”” Graff said in the letter.

    Auxier said in an e-mailed statement that he disagreed that the role of GPSC was of an adviser.

    “”Did I give (Graff) advice and did we discuss graduate student issues? Sure. But as the GPSC president, I primarily worked directly and independently with the UA administration,”” Auxier said.

    He said that he worked to secure the teaching assistant and remission assistant funds as GPSC executive vice president at least a year prior to when Graff came in as president.

    He said by the time Graff came in, the plan was “”already devised and the implementation of this plan had begun,”” as worked out between Likins, Provost George Davis, Gary Pivo, then-dean of the Graduate College, and himself.

    “”I can see where Ben is coming from, but I think that graduate and professional students should be governed by graduate and professional students,”” Auxier said.

    If the administration doesn’t request the appointment of a committee, another way to separate the student governments would be to amend the constitution, which requires a certain number of student signatures, passage through the ASUA senate and passage on a studentwide referendum, said Jim Drnek, ASUA adviser.

    Thorn said he did not know whether GPSC would pursue an amendment through that route.

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