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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Graduate students misled by GPSC

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    Guest Commentary

    Despite the Graduate and Professional Student Council’s claim in yesterday’s Arizona Daily Wildcat article, “”Grads not a part of ASUA after vote,”” the Associated Students of the University of Arizona still represents all students on this campus. The vote was nothing more than a biased survey administered by a group on campus that provided graduate students with inaccurate information in order to get the results that it wanted.

    ASUA has been the sole governing body to represent all students on campus since the creation of our constitution, which was enacted in 1997 after thorough input from a series of constitutional conventions in which both undergraduate and graduate students participated. The constitution was the result of a signed agreement between the ASUA president and the GPSC president and vice president.

    Since the birth of the organization, ASUA has offered numerous programs to and made several accomplishments for graduate students. For example, on March 31, 1999, ASUA was successful in securing a promise from President Peter Likins to quadruple the funds allocated from the UA general fund to the child care subsidy program.

    ASUA has consistently lobbied for decreases in health care rates and discounts on prescriptions for all UA students. ASUA put the UA on the path to 100 percent tuition remission in 2001 by landing a guaranteed $1.1 million in funding to increase TA/GA stipends. More than 20 percent of all students who use SafeRide are graduate students, and around 25 percent of the students who use legal services are graduate students, congruent with the current undergraduate-to-graduate ratio on campus.

    While GPSC was spending its time misleading the graduate population, ASUA was working to make changes on this campus relating to graduate issues and operating programs and services that graduate students use regularly.

    I am greatly concerned with the actions of the GPSC. Its leaders have led graduate students to believe they better represent the needs of graduate students, despite the fact that ASUA has a better track record for all students. In addition, they have manipulated graduate students into a vote that would result in a loss of graduate students’ abilities to use the multitude of services provided by ASUA.

    If GPSC continues to misinform graduate students for the sole purpose of gaining power, it will be at the expense of graduate students. GPSC would deny graduate students the opportunity to get a ride to the library from SafeRide. It would prevent graduate students from receiving free legal advice from an experienced attorney. It would limit graduate students’ voices in the Arizona Board of Regents and the Legislature by losing the reserved graduate seat on the ASA board.

    Graduate students would be forced to pay community prices for university concerts and events like Spring Fling or sporting events that are normally covered by the Zona Zoo pass. In addition, graduate students would no longer have the 60-plus individuals in ASUA who work more than 30 hours a week for programming and advocacy that affect all students on this campus.

    More importantly, GPSC has decided to ignore the constitution that protects all students on this campus. In order for this vote to have true significance, our constitution mandates that all students have to have the opportunity to vote, since such a separation would affect all students. The dangers of separate student governments have been made clear by the faults in our peer institutions that have implemented such a structure.

    “”Separate student governments create a system where no organization is looking out for the best interest of all students. As we have seen with our structure at ASU, it duplicates duties, leads to competition for funds and allows the administration to pin the two bodies against each other, all of which are at the detriment of both graduate and undergraduate students”” said Ed Hermes, the nonvoting student regent and a previous member of the student government at ASU.

    It is proven that student governments are only successful when they actively examine how each student issue will affect both graduate and undergraduate students simultaneously.

    The survey that GPSC administered instructed graduate students to vote for something that would be harmful to all students on this campus, especially graduate students.

    As your student body president, my job is to protect the student body from those who do not have the best interests of the students in mind. The purpose of this commentary is to warn the student body that if GPSC is permitted to continue its path of misrepresentation, students’ ability to represent themselves to the administration, the board of regents and the Arizona Legislature will be irreparably harmed.

    It is my hope that the students of this great university will stand up to GPSC and demand that it allow ASUA, their student governing body, to continue to fight on behalf of all students, as our constitution mandates.

    Erin Hertzog is acting ASUA president and a journalism senior. She can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu.

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