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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    GPSC joins Student Affairs

    Former Graduate and Professional Student Council President Stephen Bieda, an atmospheric sciences graduate student, swears in GPSC President-elect David Talenfeld, an M.B.A. candidate, in the Tucson Room of the Student Union Memorial Center on Wednesday.
    Former Graduate and Professional Student Council President Stephen Bieda, an atmospheric sciences graduate student, swears in GPSC President-elect David Talenfeld, an M.B.A. candidate, in the Tucson Room of the Student Union Memorial Center on Wednesday.

    Even though it was the last meeting for many of the 2008-2009 representatives, the Graduate and Professional Student Council initiation was at the bottom of the agenda.

    Wednesday’s meeting saw the passage of a motion that will assimilate GPSC into Student Affairs. Formerly, the GPSC had both received funding from and been a part of the Graduate College.

    Outgoing GPSC President Stephen Bieda addressed the conflict that has been brewing between GPSC and Associated Students of the University of Arizona that spurred the change.

    Unlike their undergraduate counterparts, ASUA, the GPSC did not feel they had as much leverage within the university.

    Bieda said that Student Affairs Vice President Melissa Vito has assured the GPSC that if they made the move to be under Student Affairs they would have as much leverage as ASUA.

    He said that although they would move away from the Graduate College, GPSC would continue to receive $100,000 in funding from them.

    According to Bieda, once GPSC goes under Student Affairs, ASUA has to request their permission to hire any graduate assistants.

    He said this will inevitably increase tensions between GPSC and ASUA.

    Right now ASUA employs about half a dozen graduate assistants and has never consulted GPSC about hiring them, which they are required to do, Bieda said. They also have five graduate students from the College of Law serving on the ASUA Supreme Court.

    Bieda said ASUA has also considered funding for graduate clubs even though that should have been assigned to the GPSC.

    Although GPSC split from ASUA during the 1996 school year, Bieda said ASUA still views itself as the student government for the entire student population.

    “”Legally speaking, this is unfortunately a legal issue and if we cannot resolve it with the Vice President of Student Affairs Melissa Vito, it will go to President Shelton,”” Bieda said.

    In another motion that was passed during the meeting, Bieda presented a raise in stipend for the GPSC president and vice president.

    “”This year as your GPSC president I can tell you that the stipend of $8,500 a year was making it a little difficult for me to fulfill my duties as a research associate, especially with the budget crisis that existed and the transformation process,”” Bieda said.

    The raise for the president will go from $8,500 per year to $16,000 per year plus tuition remission. The council also raised the vice president’s stipend to $10,000 per year plus a tuition remission.

    All other positions were voted to stay at their current pay.

    According to Bieda, the money for these increases is coming from $85,000 from the Student Affairs and Appropriations Committee.

    In parting from his job at the GPSC, Bieda said that he was grateful for what he was able to accomplish, but ready for someone else to take over for him.

    “”I feel that the incoming council will do a stupendous job. Next year will not be an easy year for the council or the governing board,”” Bieda said. “”Obviously the budgetary crisis will continue. I am grateful for the services I was able to provide for the graduate and professional students, but I’m also glad we have new officers and representatives who will carry the way for us.””

    At the end of the meeting, the torches were passed to the new representatives and newly initiated President David Talenfeld, who will speak with President Shelton tomorrow regarding budgetary issues, said his main focus will be making sure the budget is as under control as possible.

    “”My goal is to, first and foremost, contain the bleeding of the budget crisis and strive to improve the student experience despite the cuts,”” Talenfeld said, “”Unfortunately, our position cannot be done without increasing everybody’s burden. I know that we are going to learn a lot through the process and have a lot of fun.””

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