Grad. student representation to be restructured

Changes in the organization of the University’s Graduate School will impact GAPSA, COGS.

Restructuring of the Graduate School will require restructuring of graduate student representation.

The Graduate and Professional Student Assembly discussed the impact of the changes on their constituents during their first General Assembly meeting Wednesday.

The Graduate School is moving toward an administrative unit and the individual colleges will be responsible for running and financing their graduate programs.

Graduate and professional students are currently represented in GAPSA through ten councils from different programs like the Law School. The Council of Graduate Students, one of the ten GAPSA councils, is the organization that represents all students in the Graduate School.

Devin Driscoll, COGS President, said the group has been working with college deans to determine how they will reorganize. GAPSA President Ryan Kennedy stressed the importance of thinking about reorganizing now so students aren’t neglected later.

However, during the meeting Wednesday, neither GAPSA nor COGS presented any ideas to deal with reorganization.

“We don’t want to be caught unprepared,” Kennedy said. He added that by outlining a plan now, they can avoid a “turf-war” over which councils represent which students in the future.

Other business

During the meeting Wednesday, GAPSA voted to discontinue membership of the National Association of Graduate-Professional Students.

In its 2010-11 budget GAPSA allocated $500 to NAGPS for membership dues and $2,000 for the NAGPS conference at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in November.

Bree Dalager, GAPSA Vice President for Student Affairs, said ending their relationship with NAGPS was a good choice.

Dalager said the organization’s finances were “in shambles” and that the group had not filed necessary paperwork to be a nonprofit organization.

In addition to NAGPS tax issues, Dalager said GAPSA presented at NAGPS conferences in the past but did not learn from other organizations.

Terrance Paape, GAPSA Vice President for Student Affairs said continued membership would be a waste of money.

“We have to be really responsible with those student services fees,” Paape said.

GAPSA will instead focus on its relationship with Student Advocates for Graduate Education, a nonprofit coalition that does more lobbying for students, Dalager said.

She said NAGPS contacted the GAPSA executive board to tell them they had a plan to improve the organization. Paape and Dalager agreed that it was better for GAPSA to get out of NAGPS and wait for evidence of improvement than to continue supporting the organization.