GPSC agrees to cut funding for travel and research awards

By Muriel Berry

Graduate and Professional Student Council funded 18 different events last year, but with the council’s recent 5 percent budget cut, it unanimously agreed to reduce travel and event funding.

The council cut research awards by $50, reducing them from $250 to $200.

Amanda Barnard, vice president for graduate school affairs, said cutting research awards was not ideal, but there was a chance the administration would match GPSC’s contributions for the awards.


Bernard said the council considered cutting $30,000 from the graduate assistant’s budget for the upcoming school year.

“Next academic year this could mean there will be less teaching and resident assistant job opportunities,” she said.

Bernard said the cuts have worried some faculty members.

“Dr. [James] Garvey said he was worried about this because it affects employment as well as the undergraduate students,” she said. “If there are less TAs, that means labs and lecture groups will have to be larger.”

Jim Podesva, of Graduate Assistants United, presented at the meeting explaining why council members should join GAU as well. GAU is one of five student unions, he said.

Podesva said joining GAU will give graduates more health benefits and protection under a professional contract.

“Unions are relevant for money, fees and health insurance,” he said. “We’re working on our third contract to include employed graduate students.”


One of GAU’s accomplishments was decreasing student fees by $963 for the 2012-2013 academic year, Podesva said.

Patricia Walker, a senior from Carbondale studying biological sciences, presented on behalf of Students Engaging in Nature Sustainability and Environmentalism, about divestment—removing economic support for fossil fuel companies in favor of saving the environment.

“The divestment of fossil fuels arrived at SIU last year, and the plan is to make a social statement saying we don’t support the use of fossil fuels,” she said. “As a student, I’m encouraging this effort because I want a better future, and I feel like the university can’t effectively invest in our futures if they’re destroying the environment.”

At the next meeting, members plan to vote on the fossil fuel resolution and if passed, will send it to the SIU Board of Trustees for approval.