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GPSF meeting hears possibilities for future recreation center

The Graduate and Professional Student Federation met Tuesday night to vote on several constitutional amendments and hosted guest speaker Bill Goa, director of UNC Campus Recreation.

What happened?

The meeting began with an open-forum section where anyone could introduce topics.  

Two constitutional amendments were passed concerning the finance committee's powers and the process for judicial recalls. Four other constitutional amendments were passed as well. 

Katie Stember, chairperson of the Future of the GPSF Committee, reported on the new mission statement and goals of GPSF. The goals, she said, are to increase GPSF engagement with the wider community, improve how current student government systems are run, create useful programming for graduate and professional students, and create systems to identify and address the changing needs of graduate and professional students.

Who spoke?

Goa spoke about the current plans for campus recreation. He said the average peer university has around 222,000 square feet of recreational facilities while UNC only has about 85,000 square feet.

“We’re really, really behind as far as the number of square feet we need to make up for additional programming and additional facilities,” he said.

Goa said that student wellness and fitness resources are the number one need for student recreation. Campus Recreation is discussing ways to provide a student recreation center closer to the graduate school buildings, with one main option being to build a recreation facility in combination with the new medical research building currently being built on Medical Drive.

“Ideally, we want one recreation center on campus … but with a campus this size it’s just not going to work,” he said.

Dylan Russell, GPSF president, reported on the UNC System Grad Summit held with other UNC schools to discuss graduate and professional student needs and meet with the Board of Governors.

“It was a great time for graduate and professional students to work on the narrative of what does it mean to be a graduate professional student and how our needs are so unique and so different from the undergraduates,” he said.

Alissa Brown from the Biology Safe Spaces Committee spoke to the senate in the open forum about concerns regarding faculty members and inappropriate conduct involving graduate students.

“The faculty members who are perpetrating the abuse are leaders of these labs in this kind of feudal system where there aren’t a lot of checks and balances making sure they’re doing their job,” Brown said.

Laura Mudge from the Biology Graduate Student Association reported on research the organization did on the financial concerns of biology graduate students at UNC.

“We have found that there are discrepancies between the stipend amount and the cost of living and also some discrepancies among how students are funded throughout the department so there’s definitely large financial concerns for students,” Mudge said.

Why was this important?

The senate received an update on what was going on for graduate and professional students and passed constitutional amendments.

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