GPSC takes stand against fee process, drops support for previously agreed-upon amounts
Coverage from last Wednesday’s GPSC meeting, courtesy of freelance journalist Brian Mori.
The Graduate and Professional Student Council voted Wednesday to express their displeasure with how University of Arizona administration has presented student support for fee increases to the Arizona Board of Regents.
The council voted to change their support (in dollars) from what they agreed upon in a February 16 joint “Student Response to Fees” with the Associated Students of the University of Arizona.
Newly elected GPSC Secretary Cory Christenson confirmed that the council would draft and release a new statement some time over the weekend which would support separating the bundled Campus Health and Wellness fee (Campus Health Services/Campus Recreation) and the Library and Technology fee (University Libraries and Univ. I.T. Services).
GPSC and ASUA supported $404 in their joint statement (still available on GPSC website.)
GPSC reduced their support Wednesday to $264 $364.00. (No online update as of March 1)
“I think that this will more directly reflect the voices of the graduate students,” David Talenfeld, President of the GPSC, said after the meeting.
Talenfeld has publicly disagreed with the GPSC’s opposition to proposed fees based on his own opinions.
At the heart of their concern is what GPSC representatives called “unsubstantiated” comments that Shelton made in a memo on student fees claiming that students’ were adequately consulted.
“I’d be happy to support these fees if they were presented in an honest way,” said Helena Morrison, College of Nursing representative.
“They did not provide us any more information than we had in previous years,” said November Papaleo who sits on the Internet Technology Student Advisory Board and represents the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences.
“The IT fee was unsubstantiated,” she said. “I would want more information before I approve the funding in its entirety.”
Papaleo said she hasn’t attended the advisory board meetings because they are held in direct conflict with GPSC’s on Wednesday nights.
“I can’t attest with the recommendations because I haven’t been there and they don’t send notes.”
“These entities did not (originally) propose these fees (as bundled) and they have been proposed as such (by Shelton),” said Morrison.
The Arizona Board of Regents will hold it’s Annual public hearing on tuition matters today at 5 p.m., via teleconference with all three state universities.
The University of Arizona justifies cost-of-education policies by consulting multiple student advisory boards, on which student leaders and delegates collaborate with administrators to determine students’ educational needs and priorities.
According to Papaleo, the results of recent surveys conducted by University Information Technology Services were not sent to her until 2/23, after President Shelton released his memo assuring the Arizona Board of Regents that his proposals came from duly consulting students.
The representatives also voted to include comments in their new statement reflecting their suspicions over bundled fees.
University of Arizona Vice-President and Chief of Staff Jacqueline Mok explained during a mid-January interview that the process by which fees are presented to Shelton, and ultimately the Board of Regents, involves many rounds of discussions and negotiations between students, faculty and administrators.
“Our perspective is that (health services and campus recreation) are inextricably linked. This is good medicine,” said Kris Kruetz, Director of Administrative Services for Campus Health.
Campus Recreation Director Juliette Moore told the council she’d bring reports reflecting recreation center usage for the GPSC’s next meeting.
“Getting sunlight helps you too, I guess we should support the green fee then,” smirked Jim Collins who represents non-degree seeking graduate students. “It was a completely spurious decision.”
The council voted to recommend the following fees for the Fall 2010 semester:
Campus Recreation: $23.
Campus Health: $36 $136.
Internet Technology: $85.
University Libraries: $120. (No change from joint statement).