Letter to the editor: GPSC ushers in new era of accountable leadership and advocacy
Dear graduate and professional students,
As some of you may be aware, the president of the Graduate and Professional Student Council recently resigned from his position. Per the GPSC Constitution, I was sworn in on Sept. 27 as the new president.
I am writing this first update to reassure you of our commitments to advocating on your behalf and to always act in your best interest.
Back in March of 2016, a lot of you took to the polls to vote for those you trusted to represent you this academic year. I was humbled by the overwhelming amount of votes I received to be the executive vice president, and I am still grateful for the support you have shown to me.
While we had a rough start at the beginning of this term, we are now turning our attention to those who matter the most: YOU! During our most recent General Council Meeting, we set a new list of goals for the remainder of the academic year.
Some of those goals include expanding and sustaining our current programs such as travel grants and Research and Project Grants—ReaP, sexual assault awareness and Title IX harassment awareness, addressing food insecurity among UA students, and increased outreach and representation across the university.
In the near future, I will give you updates on our progress in achieving these goals. We are also renewing our commitments to advocating on your behalf regarding tuition, fees, childcare, healthcare and wages.
We will also be conducting a special election to fill the vacant executive vice president position soon. If these goals reflect your passions and interests, I strongly encourage you to run.
I also want to let you know that we hear and share your concerns as graduate students. We are aware of the list of demands from marginalized students. We are aware of the rising cost of attendance without commensurate increase in stipends or salaries.
We are aware of graduate student debt and the higher interest rates imposed on us. We are aware of the recent IRS/ACA ruling which could potentially affect our health insurance. We are aware of our budget constraints, which make it difficult to give out as many travel grants as we have in the past. We are aware of the serious mental health issues affecting graduate and professional students due to stress.
However, more than being simply aware, we are devoted to proactive advocacy and effecting positive change on these issues.
We understand that the task ahead of us is a challenging one, but we are determined to meet it. Please join us in our advocacy efforts. Participate in our surveys, vote during our elections— get involved! Together our voices become stronger.
Speaking of elections, are you registered to vote in November? Student advocacy comes from student involvement—I urge you to get involved in all levels of government, from the GPSC to the White House.
Lastly, I want you to know that we are in this position as officers and representatives of GPSC because you chose us to represent you. As such, we must be ACCOUNTABLE to YOU.
You are welcome to attend our meetings, to ask us any questions, to share your concerns with us and to speak up if we fail to remain accountable to you.
We are open to constructive criticism, because as graduate students and professionals, you deserve nothing less than transparent and accountable leadership.
Please do not hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions or concerns. I look forward to hearing from you.
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