GAPSA passes resolution on fees transparency

The assembly also approved an earlier budget deadline.

Jenna Wilcox

At its November meeting Wednesday night, the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly unanimously passed a resolution to increase the clarity of student fees due to their continued increase over the years.

According to the resolution, collegiate fees continue to increase each year, with an average jump of 38.8 percent in fiscal year 2012, but there is limited explanation for the dramatic increase.

With the new resolution, GAPSA, along with the Council of Graduate Students, will request that collegiate units explain the increase in fees charged by some colleges as well as notify students as soon as they decide to increase fees.

âÄúWeâÄôre not objecting to it if the fees are actually being used in the way theyâÄôre intended,âÄù said COGS President Emily Combs.

âÄúWe just want to make sure theyâÄôre being used for what they say they are.âÄù

An additional resolution was unanimously passed to change the assemblyâÄôs draft budget deadline to March 31. GAPSA hopes the change will help the assembly be better prepared for the fees presentation process, and then ratify it based on the fees outcome.

Due to GAPSAâÄôs inability to formally approve a budget at the last meeting of the 2010-11 academic year, the executive board voted to operate off the prior yearâÄôs budget. This included the payment of members over the summer.

At the October assembly meeting, Combs initially proposed an amendment to prevent dually elected officers of GAPSA from being compensated over the summer, should a budget for the next fiscal year not pass at the last assembly meeting of the year.

âÄúThey didnâÄôt consider how people would react to them paying themselves over the summer,âÄù Terrance Paape, at-large GAPSA director and representative to the Board of Regents, said before the October meeting.

But the argument didnâÄôt sit well with former GAPSA Vice President for programming Jesus Estrada, who said the amendment was unfair.

âÄúIt reads to me as a way to gain power over us,âÄù he said. âÄúWe could bypass it in other ways so this seems like a slap on the wrist.âÄù

But because GAPSA decided to change the deadline for the budget, Combs withdrew the recommendation.

âÄúWe were finding that a lot of points were raised about it being a response to bad feelings [from COGS],âÄù Combs said. âÄúWe wanted it to go forword in a positive sense.âÄù