The Graduate and Professional Student Assembly approved its 1997-98 budget last night, marking a symbolic end to the financial woes facing the organization since 1995.
“We’re pretty straightened out now,” said Grant Johnson, the assembly’s administrative coordinator.
GAPSA’s troubles began in June 1995, when the organization discovered that the assembly had neglected to pay its payroll taxes for the previous five years. The back taxes amounted to $26,000, with an additional $22,000 in penalties and fees.
The Student Fees Committee this year allowed the assembly to charge a special fee to graduate and professional students to cover the taxes and replenish its reserve funds, raising the budget by $14,000.
This year GAPSA approved a budget more in line with the assembly’s usual requests, agreeing unanimously on a budget of $78,368. “We may have to do some last-minute adjustment on that,” said Sean OhmsWinnie, the assembly’s legislative liaison.
The assembly also voted to send a second letter to Gov. Arne Carlson, “asserting that tuition should not be raised more than 2.5 percent,” and to ask that the Governor put that in writing. Another letter was sent to Carlson last month requesting that he recommend fully funding the Board of Regents’ budget request.
“It makes our position stronger, in terms of lobbying both the legislature and the administration,” said Blessing Rugara, the assembly’s representative to the regents.
The assembly also voted to grant $2,000 to the International Law Students Association to fund Practitioner Awareness Week. Taking place over three days, the event will consist of lectures and panel discussions about international law. However, the assembly added that no funds can be used for receptions, which will be a part of the week.
“We didn’t want to get involved with funding parties,” said Bruce Bromberek, the assembly’s president. “We approved the content, we just didn’t want to fund the social aspects.”
The International Law Students Association also went to the Minnesota Students Association for funding, but the student government denied the request. Bromberek said he was disappointed that the MSA voted against funding of the project.
“It involved human rights issues, international law and environmental law,” Bromberek said. “I would have thought that the undergraduates would have been more supportive of that.”
Bromberek added the program had appeal to both undergraduate and graduate and professional students. “In this global economy, you have to be aware of international law and how it applies,” he said. “It was an area of natural interest. We were convinced that it had a lot of appeal for those both in the law school and outside of it.”