GPSC lights up smoke bans, fees

The Graduate and Professional Student Council weighed in on the Smoke-Free Task Force’s proposed campus-wide smoke ban during their first semester meeting Tuesday.

GPSC President Blaine Tisdale said said he and GPSC were under the impression the task force’s meeting, which he attended in January, was to discuss whether or not a ban would be appropriate, but the meeting was more to discuss ban implimentation.

“When I sat down in the (task force) meeting, it was not a question of if, but a question of how or when,” Tisdale said.

Although GPSC did not originate nor support ban discussions, some members suggested a complete smoke ban would be unrealistic to enforce.

“One of the arguments the Chancellor made was that it would increase enrollment,” Tisdale said. “Potential students will look at the ban and be encouraged to come here.”

The Smoke-Free Task Force plans to propose a ban to Chancellor Rita Cheng in April, Tisdale said.

GPSC Vice President for Graduate

School Affairs Brooke Talley addressed the Chancellor’ Campus Life and Safety Task Force presentation at the graduate council. Recent crime data reported SIU has the second highest crime rate among universities after Western Illinois University, she said.

Potential student fees also reached GPSC deliberation.

GPSC members discussed how to respond to proposed Fiscal Year 2014 student fees, and how the fees will affect graduate students. GPSC takes an up-or-down vote on fee approval, but last year the group symbolically tabled their vote, Tisdale said in an email.

Peter Lucas, GPSC vice president for administrative affairs, said one potential fee involves a student-optional, more inclusive insurance plan. Students would pay more fees, but the insurance would cover emergencies and serious illness more thoroughly than university insurance does now, he said.

“I am all for the real insurance,” Lucas said. “I would not mind paying more for insurance and having more options.”

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