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GPSC talks budget woes at first meeting of the fall

%28From+left+to+right%29+Zachary+Brooks%2C+Wei-Ren+Ng+and+Ezra+Smith+%28talk+or+listen%29+in+the+Pima+room+at+the+SUMC+on+Thursday%2C+August+25th.
Tom Price
(From left to right) Zachary Brooks, Wei-Ren Ng and Ezra Smith (talk or listen) in the Pima room at the SUMC on Thursday, August 25th.

The Graduate and Professional Student Council is currently figuring out how to work with a smaller budget this year due to budget cuts and overspending funds last year.

With a budget that typically runs around $900,000, GPSC is now looking to work with about $150,000 less.

As a result, GPSC will be able to provide 300 fewer travel grants than last year.

Recently reappointed GPSC President, Zachary Brooks said the budgetary loss is a “huge hit.”

“It’s the way I think we impact graduate students the most,” Brooks said about GPSC’s travel grants. “So graduate students will get the money from us and go present at a conference in their field and there will be maybe a famous professor or researcher or someone else, and that famous professor or researcher they meet at that conference could change their entire life.”

GPSC’s funds come from three different sources: the Graduate College, Student Affairs fees and student services fees. Most of the money given to GPSC must be used for a specific purpose, such as grant programs.

Last year the council had a $200,000 surplus from the 2014-2015 school year, according to Brooks.

“There was a series of communication breakdowns surrounding this situation that resulted in GPSC mistakenly believing that virtually any 2015-16 surplus would expire at the end of the fiscal year,” said Jasmine Sears, GPSC administrative vice president, via email. “To avoid losing money unnecessarily, we spent a fair portion of the year finding non-recurring ways to improve grad student life in as many different areas as possible.”

Some of the non-recurring purchases GPSC made last year included new computers for the English department and a communal research drone for the College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture, according to Sears.

READ: GPSC executive board tied to improperly allocated funds

Though Sears said she recently found out that GPSC would have been allowed to have $50,000 rollover from the 2015-16 school year to this year, the council did not find out before they had spent most of the rollover money. Now only about $5,000 of the 2014-2015 surplus is left to roll into this academic year.

GPSC’s executive board held its first meeting of the fall semester Thursday night. Topics of discussion included the budget and allocation of monies, as well as some possible restructuring.

GPSC treasurer Jim Collins expressed concern about the council’s past record of spending.

“Again I’ll just keep reiterating my concern which is that we don’t have any record of what we have actually spent on operations in years past,” Collins said.

To make the allocation of funds more traceable in the coming year, the executive board came to a consensus on moving money allocated by their last budget into sub-accounts, such as event spending, rather than a general account.

READ: GPSC Elections

The executive board also talked about a potential restructuring of GPSC, which would include the creation of a graduate supreme court removed from GPSC that could provide an impartial opinion when it comes to items such as elections, just as ASUA’s Supreme Court does.

It was proposed that GPSC’s governing documents committee go through the governing documents and propose amendments that would create a space for a supreme court. Those amendments will then be presented to the General Council.

In September, GPSC will hold a special election to fill the vacancies of 18 representatives.


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