GAPSA reviews key issues

by Tom Lopez

Members of the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly resolved to make their voices known on the three issues most likely to affect the future of the University.
The issues of faculty unionization as well as the presidential and regent search processes highlighted the agenda at the assembly’s meeting last night.
GAPSA was concerned with a resolution passed on Dec. 5 in which the Minnesota Student Association encouraged the faculty to reject unionization. The resolution passed, 13-10, with 11 abstentions.
But Tom Foster, the president of the Council of Graduate Students, wrote a letter to Virginia Gray, the chairwoman of the Faculty Consultative Committee, in which he qualified the vote’s result, saying it “fails to appropriately represent the opinion of many of the students who attend the University.”
Foster pointed out that GAPSA senators unanimously voted against the resolution during the December MSA forum, and accounted for nine of the dissenting 10 votes.
“I just wanted the University community to know that this was clearly a partisan issue,” Foster said, adding that the vote was clearly divided among undergraduates and graduate students.
“It is evident from the voting record that the resolution passed by (MSA) was in reality only supported by some undergraduates at the Twin Cities campus,” Foster said. “It does not reflect the interests or intentions of the coordinate campuses, nor the graduate and professional students.”
The letter, which Foster wrote with input from GAPSA’s members, said more examination of the issue was necessary, and that as presented, the resolution appears to be “biased, ill-informed” and “assumptive.”
GAPSA members generally shared the sentiments of MSA representatives when it came to the final days of the presidential search process, however.
In the assembly meeting, GAPSA president Bruce Bromberek sharply criticized the University’s presidential search. GAPSA abstained from the interview portion of the search, accusing the process of failing to adequately solicit student input. Bromberek said the assembly was only given the opportunity to interview lone candidate Mark Yudof, and that the lack of other options defeated the process of student input.
“I did not feel that they were making us a part of the consultative process,” he said.
Bromberek added that the assembly’s subsequent decision to withhold its input on Yudof was to oppose that failure.
“We had no problems with the candidate, but we did have serious problems with the process, so we decided not to participate,” Bromberek said. “We wanted at least one other candidate to compare him with, so we could be sure we were getting the best candidate, and not the only candidate.”
But another administrative search process is just underway, and GAPSA members are determined to take part.
Blessing Rugara, GAPSA’s representative to the regents, outlined plans to draft a questionnaire to send to the candidates for the Board of Regents. The questionnaires would be evaluated and assigned a grade, ranging from A to F, by a committee of students.
The evaluations would then be used to lobby the Legislature in its selection of regent candidates.
“We want to bring to light some issues that students have that should be addressed,” Rugara said. “This is the time we have the most leverage as to whom the next regent will be.”