In response to “GPSC president addresses ASUA bylaws during Faculty Senate meeting” (by Alison Dorf, Oct. 8):
I find it odd that [Associated Students of the University of Arizona president] Mr. Abraham continually invokes rhetoric that refers to this situation as a “shame;” one that the administration shouldn’t be burdened by and one that is better handled by the ASUA and GPSC [Graduate and Professional Student Council] internally. Yet, by his own admission and after an entirely transparent process in which the GPSC brought the issue directly to ASUA on a number of occasions, none of the ASUA Senators are “really interested” in considering the by-law change.
For ASUA undergraduates (and their alum), it is expected that they dismiss this issue as inconsequential because, for at least the last 22 years since the birth of GPSC, ASUA has not demonstrated ANY concern for the major issues that graduate and professional students face.
For 22 years, GPSC has represented, through direct funding and advocacy, the research, teaching and professional goals of graduate and professional students here at UA.
For 22 years, GPSC has advocated on behalf of their graduate and professional student constituents’ concerns over issues like affordable health care, on-campus child care, fee reimbursements, and fair wages and benefits. For 22 years, GPSC has given graduate and professional students a voice on campus.
And for 22 years, ASUA has sat back and, in the absence of true, active involvement in their lives and needs, taken credit as a representative body for UA graduate and professional students. What Mr. Brooks and the GPSC is asking for is nothing more than what is represented in practice and reality, and is nothing more than what sister universities across the nation (including ASU and NAU) already recognize—that just as there is a distinction between graduates and undergraduate students, so is there a distinction between the groups that represent their interests.
If Mr. Abraham were so concerned over the burden that setting this situation right has on the administration, then it is incumbent upon him and his colleagues on the ASUA Senate to ease the process by changing their by-laws to reflect the true picture of their exclusive undergraduate representation. This is not an adversarial issue, and is only made so by those that do not wish to acknowledge what is already evident.
I think Mr. Abraham is still holding a grudge about [GPSC president] Mr. Brooks’ support for an alternate candidate for ASUA President. Then again, as a graduate student who’s been here a little while, it seems ASUA notables promise all sorts of things that they can’t deliver and, ultimately, it’s just a big popularity grab. Or maybe a career working as some state Republican’s aide, at best.
If it makes ASUA feel any better, I don’t think any of us are worried that purse strings and power will change hands. GPSC will continue to eke out the budget that it can from central administration.
And guess what? Like them or not, GPSC will support your travel to professional conferences, give you small grants for working on your research, and fight for things that matter like our ridiculously insane teaching workloads (you’re welcome, undergrads) or better health insurance benefits. ASUA will still get to blow tons of cash on carnivals and concerts and sidewalk chalk. And rest their sweet heads, they won’t have to worry about graduate students because we barely factor into their calculi. Except for club recognition — and that’s just a Powerpoint doing the care work for you.