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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


GPSC pushes for transparency on fees

The Graduate and Professional Student Council asked for transparency from UA administration regarding long-term action on budget cuts and proposed fee increases.

Emily Connally, the president of GPSC, said the council’s statement on budget cuts is in part to inform future graduate students that there will most likely be continued budget cuts for the next 10 years, and that future graduate students should “”plan for the worst-case scenario.””

Connally said that, as partners in the successes of the university, graduate students deserve to know exactly what will be happening in the future and that she expects an “”honest prediction.””

“”The year-to year-approach does us (students) a real disservice,”” she said.

Connally gave examples of this by asking the university to clarify exactly why tuition is being increased through a justification statement. She asked for a five-year plan to address things such as cuts to faculty so graduate students, who invest their research careers with a particular faculty member, can know ahead of time if that person may leave the university.

Connally added that the budget plan for 2013 was the same as 2011 and 2012: an increase in tuition and a cut in jobs. She said if the UA has a plan to respond to the budget, they need to show students the plan, and if they don’t, the GPSC statement on budget cuts can remind them.

“”We are aware of the reality of the situation … graduate students won’t come here (to the UA) if they know this,”” she said.

She did say that the administration is trying to pick an appropriate number for increases, and that they are in a “”very difficult position.””

GPSC also discussed student fees, agreeing that student fees should not be mandatory and that they should be addressed through student referendums.

The library, information technology, recreation center and health fees were reviewed, and the council approved only the library fee increase without proposed changes.

GPSC decided they would only approve the information technology fee increase if the proposal was rewritten through a student referendum vote and was overseen by a representative or representatives of the council. The council discussed how these funds were misused in the past through improper fee allocations in things like online learning.

GPSC also decided that recreation center fee increase would only be approved if constituents were not charged to use facilities during the summer, and that the health fee increase would only be approved if sexually transmitted disease testing, obstetrics and gynecology screenings and treatment for alcohol poisoning were free of co-pays.

Discussion on transparency permeated throughout the meeting.

Other business:

— The GradCat, the quarterly GPSC newsletter, will become a blog to increase communication between GPSC and its constituents.

— GPSC discussing more options on how to collaborate with UA Career Services.

— Plan to change grant submissions for the Professional Opportunities Development Fund or club funding, will have a trial run on how to fill out a new application in April.

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