A graduate student bill of rights and responsibilities took a major step forward Friday with a unanimous endorsement from the Graduate Council, Chair of the Graduate Council Andrew Carnie said.
The council, which is a body of faculty members and administrators who decide graduate student academic policy, voted at their Oct. 23 meeting to endorse the bill as a ""concept document."" The endorsement is not required to make the bill official university policy but is necessary to persuade President Robert Shelton to approve it, said Graduate and Professional Student Council President David Talenfeld, a second-year law student.
Changes from the bill's previous incarnation reflect edits made by Associate Dean of the Graduate College Dianne Horgan so that the bill would match preexisting legal policies.
""It's 95 percent identical (to the previous draft),"" Talenfeld said.
In an email to Talenfeld sent before the meeting and copied to the Daily Wildcat, Horgan said of the revised bill that a ""quick scan looks like you got most of my concerns!""
The Graduate Council is ""happy with the current version"" of the bill, Talenfeld said, adding that no further edits will be required by that body. The next step on the long road to approval will be a presentation of the bill to the Faculty Senate at its Nov. 2 meeting for a second endorsement, he said.
One of the major changes to the bill was the insertion of the phrase ""where possible"" in certain clauses mandating that students who begin a certain degree program will be allowed to finish their degree even if the program is cancelled, Talenfeld said.
""We have to acknowledge that there are certain circumstances where that may not be possible,"" he said, citing lack of funding and loss of faculty as examples.
Overall, he said, the bill managed to retain its original spirit while conforming to the directives of administrators, he said.
""All the changes that were made I think were perfectly acceptable,"" he said.