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GPSF proposes plans for separation from student government

The Graduate and Professional Student Federation presented two plans for co-optation or separation from student government at its Tuesday meeting.

The plan for separation, created by the GPSF Executive Board, proposed a new constitution with a separate branch of graduate and professional students receiving power directly from the chancellor.

The separation plan also creates a joint council of student government to address issues that affect the entire student body. Members would be appointed by both the undergraduate student body president and the graduate student body president.

The plan for co-optation is proposed by Student Congress leadership as a compromise based on the concerns of GPSF.

“The GPSF Executive Board gave us a list of their concerns about the fact that, in their opinion, certain issues should be handled by GPSF rather than Student Congress, because we speak for all students and they speak specifically for graduate students,” David Joyner, speaker of Student Congress, said.

The changes Student Congress has proposed for graduate students include increasing the amount received from the student activity fee from $9.75 to $11.24 per student, increased representation in Student Congress and changing the language explicitly naming powers from Congress to GPSF.

Taylor Livingston, vice president of external affairs and interim vice president of internal affairs for GPSF, said the upcoming months are for discussion of these plans, including a town hall meeting on January 25 for both undergraduate and graduate students.

Members of the GPSF will vote on which plan to pursue at their February meeting. GPSF will need to collect signatures from at least 10 percent of the student body to place the referendum in the spring general election.

GPSF President Dylan Russell said both proposals stem from historical concerns about undergraduate and graduate student governments not meshing well together.

“Both of these plans will put us in a better spot so that we can best represent our constituents,” Russell said.

In November, the GPSF sent a letter to administrators asking to establish an autonomous body of government for graduate students, but Livingston said a response to the letter advised them to practice student self-governance without the intervention of university administrators.

Joyner advocated for the compromise proposed by Student Congress, drafted by both undergraduate and graduate students.

“We are certainly not trying to cause a fire on our way out,” Joyner said. “We would in the future be governed by these laws, and we think this is the best decision possible.”

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