ASUA, GPSC reach agreement on representation
ASUA and GPSC found common ground.
The presidents of the Associated Students of the University of Arizona and the Graduate and Professional Student Council signed an agreement Thursday called a Memorandum of Understanding. The MOU better defines the roles of both organizations, said Morgan Abraham, engineering management senior and president of ASUA.
The creation of the MOU was due to a conflict between the two groups last semester over the representation of graduate and undergraduate students, Abraham said. This agreement states that ASUA recognizes GPSC as the primary representative for graduate students.
Zach Brooks, president of GPSC and a second language acquisition graduate student, said the agreement also formalized a relationship between the two groups to increase communication.
“[The agreement] also outlines what Morgan and I have been doing anyway, which is meeting frequently to talk about common issues that we advocate for,” Brooks said.
This increased communication will improve the representation for both graduate and undergraduate students, said Issac Ortega, business economics junior and treasurer of ASUA.
“It opened up a lot of communication between GPSC and ASUA, which is, I think, the way to solve any issues that might arrive,” Ortega said. “If graduate students don’t feel represented by undergraduate students, then I think the way to solve that is through communication.”
The memorandum doesn’t change the structure of either organization, Abraham said, but clarifies the powers and duties of both.
“All this does is it strengthens GPSC’s structure and their ability to represent and advocate for graduate students,” Abraham said.
Brooks said the recognition GPSC is receiving from ASUA as the primary advocate for graduate and professional students will improve advocacy abilities for both groups in representing the student body.
“For ASUA, I think it helps give them the absolute best partner they could have in a lot of their advocacy issues,” Brooks said. “We’re dealing with a lot of similar stuff as graduates and undergraduates. … Together, we need to work on those things.”
The agreement should help students understand the functions of both clubs and how they work for the student population, said Taylor Ashton, a political science junior and chief of staff for ASUA.
Ashton said the memorandum will also provide guidance for the organizations on how to do their jobs and effectively work with one another through meetings between the two presidents.
“We both work on our separate projects and initiatives, and I think what it’s going to do is facilitate more room for collaboration,” Ashton said. “Having those meetings periodically throughout the semester is going to allow for us to know what they’re doing and for them to see what we’re doing.”
The ASUA Senate passed the memorandum unanimously during a recent senate meeting, Abraham said, and the two organizations are already looking to the future.
“It’s important for future years to come … that ASUA and GPSC are working together,” Abraham said, “and they’re both on the same page, and they’re not fighting or bickering or going back and forth anymore.”