GPSC open letter to the future UA president
Dear Future President,
The Graduate and Professional Student Council —GPSC— write to you on behalf of approximately 10,000 graduate and professional students at the University of Arizona.
In a short time, you will be named the new president of Arizona’s finest university. We have chosen to write this letter to you in advance, because, like many other students of this world renowned University, we want you to be successful in your new role. As you begin in your new role, here are a few issues we would like you to keep in mind.
Cost of Attendance:
As a land grant institution, the UA must remain affordable for Arizona students. We ask you to work with the Arizona Board of Regents (ABOR) and ensure that the rising cost of tuition and fees is mitigated. Tuition is estimated to have increased by more than 130 percent in the last 10 years and it continues to rise. We understand that this is challenging as Arizona was ranked 49th per capita in state higher education funding for fiscal year 2016, yet we ask you not to relent in keeping the UA affordable, while providing the quality education a Land Grant University mandates. As a student government, we will continue to advocate for more state funding but urge you to resist the simple solution of placing more financial burdens on students in the form of tuition and fee increases. In addition, cost of attendance must remain commensurate to graduate students’ wages and salary and we hope to see that reflected in dynamic pay increases for graduate student employees.
RELATED: Say no to stripped down degrees
ABOR’s Funding Model:
With the advent of the 2025 ABOR Strategic Plan, the board proposed a new student-focused funding model. The 50-50 funding model goal, which prioritizes support for the education of Arizona students, is an excellent approach towards attaining a better state commitment in providing its resident students quality higher education and achieving ABOR’s projected growth in student enrollment and increased retention in the coming years. We support this funding model and encourage you to work closely with ABOR and the Arizona State Legislature to achieve this goal.
From the Osiris REx mission to the Precision Medicine Initiative, the Giant Magellan Telescope project and other outstanding research initiatives, the UA is known as one of the leading research institutions in the country. We urge you to invest in the future by making strategic investments in research at the University your priority. Our students and faculty members are working hard to maintain the UA’s reputation as a world renowned research institution and we urge you to support their efforts through increases to the compensation of our research assistants and graduate students.
Diversity and Inclusion:
Under the present university administration, the UA has made significant progress in improving diversity and inclusion on campus, but there is still a lot of work to be done. We know that practicing Inclusive Excellence and becoming a more diverse university will require the efforts and contributions of everyone, including students, faculty, staff and administrators. Your approach and attitude towards this important matter will play a significant role in this progress. We want to see more diversity amongst faculty, staff, and administrators at the UA pursuant to the goals set in the list of demands from the Marginalized Students of the University of Arizona. With the lofty enrollment and graduation goals set by ABOR, efforts to support, retain and graduate an ever-diversifying student body are mandatory. UA simply will not continue to compete with other research universities without a consistent commitment to diversity and inclusive excellence.
Relationship with Students and Student Leaders:
As elected student leaders, one of our roles on campus is to actively advocate on behalf of students and provide students’ perspective during discussions with administrators. Our perspectives and opinion may not always align with those of the university administration, but we remain committed to having open and honest conversations with you and finding a common ground. We would like to build a healthy and friendly relationship with you, and help you achieve your goals. We have appreciated the robust rapport, communication and genuine interest in student concerns by members of the university senior leadership team and look forward to a strong continuing relationship.
Furthermore, be open to meeting with and speaking directly with students. Understanding their concerns and challenges and addressing them in a timely and appropriate manner will be crucial to your success. An angry student group will be counter-productive to your administration’s efficacy. Working with students, student groups and the student government as you do with the Faculty Senate and the UA shared governance as a whole is paramount.
We want to remind you that the UA is an academic institution meant to educate students and prepare them for real world challenges. We know that the University must remain profitable in order to run efficiently and fulfill its mission; however, the UA is a not for profit organization and should stay that way. It can not be run strictly as a business.
A university cannot exist without students. This is not to undermine the role of our excellent faculty, outstanding administrators and staff who hold the institution together, but students must remain a key priority during your administration.
The Graduate and Professional Student Council is eager to work with you. We want you to succeed and we will be happy to support you in the best ways that we can and expect the same.
We wish you the best and congratulations in advance.
On behalf of the Graduate and Professional Student Council