Justifying Graduate and Professional Student Assembly’s expense

The assembly should be more visible with its advocacy.

Editorial board

 

Last week, the Student Services Fees Committee made public its initial recommendations for student group funding. Public hearings took place last Tuesday and Wednesday, where several student group advocates and members were able to comment about recommendations made by the SSFC.

The Graduate and Professional Student Assembly, in particular, received criticism from students who felt that the funding proposal for officer stipends was excessive. “GAPSA’s request included a $91,650 appropriation for salaries, wages and stipends, which was fully funded in the initial recommendations,” the Minnesota Daily reported Feb. 28.

The article also reported that $50,400 would go toward officer stipends alone. GAPSA was recommended a $42,000 increase in funding for next year, bringing the total recommended amount to roughly $434,000 for the 2013-14 school year.

Though GAPSA was recommended about $29,000 less than its initial request, the student group still has an enormous budget to work with, much of which will go directly to paid officer positions.

Paid positions can be important to attract bright and motivated students, and GAPSA has done a good job with grants and funding for the most part.

However, with students doling out more than $400 each semester in student services fees, the assembly’s advocacy and University presence should be more visible especially to the students it serves.

We don’t hear much about GAPSA until it receives negative attention; with such a large budget, the student group should justify its large price tag by being more involved in graduate student life and by more perceptibly promoting initiatives to the graduate student body.