GPSC members discuss student activity fee disbursement, graduate assistantship resolution

By Marnie Leonard

Members of the Graduate and Professional Student Council said Tuesday that they hope to increase graduate assistantship funding and possibly change the distribution of student activity fees during their regularly scheduled meeting.

One item on the agenda was a resolution from the Graduate Council to increase graduate assistantship funding from $21 million to $40 million as soon as possible.

The Graduate Council’s recruitment and retention task force met Tuesday afternoon and voted unanimously in support of this resolution, said Johnathan Flowers, GPSC vice president for student affairs.

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This resolution had its first reading before the Graduate Council as a whole in November and will have its second reading at the December council meeting.

At this meeting, the council will vote on the resolution’s passage. But, Flowers said, it will only have power if graduate faculty members place pressure on the administration to abide by the resolution’s terms.

“[The resolution] has no teeth if the faculty don’t get off their a—- and do something about it,” Flowers said.

After the meeting, he said graduate faculty members rarely act on resolutions like this one unless they directly benefit faculty.

“I need them to do it for the students,” Flowers said. “We’re the ones who are ultimately disadvantaged when the faculty fail to use their power to help us.”

Also discussed was a survey created by GPSC’s Fee Allocation Board. The survey, which will shortly be sent via email to all enrolled graduate students, involves the disbursement of student activity fees.

Graduate students pay the same fee as undergraduate students, and GPSC gets a portion of that money based on graduate and professional student enrollment, said Willie Lyles, GPSC’s vice president of administrative affairs.

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Another portion of this fee goes to Student Programming Council events, which include concerts, film screenings, comedy shows and homecoming activities.

Lyles said the board created the survey to gauge the level of graduate student participation in these programming events.

At the end of the survey, graduate students will be asked if they feel a part of the student activity fee that goes to programming should be given instead to GPSC to fund events graduate students will attend and benefit from.

If the survey results show graduate students aren’t interested in SPC events, a proposal will be drafted and given to university administration to repurpose some of that money toward GPSC’s portion of the activity fee, Lyles said.

He said this is necessary because the council’s event budget is at $3,313, which could be depleted in one meeting. A higher percentage of the student activity fee would bolster that budget, Lyles said.

GPSC’s final meeting of the semester is scheduled for 7 p.m. Nov. 29 in the Student Center.

Staff writer Marnie Leonard can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @marsuzleo.

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