GPSC: Resignations and rejections result from representatives’ resistance

Posted on March 3, 2010

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GPSC Meeting, 3 March 2010 [UPDATE]

RESIGNATION RESULTS FROM REPRESENTATIVES’ RESISTANCE

The debate over student fees came to a head at last night’s GPSC meeting with the resignation of President David Talenfeld and the announcement of the resignation of Campus Recreation Director Juliette Moore (See below regarding “retirement” vs. “resignation of Juliette Moore.)

Click to read Talenfeld resignation letter

Vice President David Lopez-Negrete will serve as GPSC President for the remainder of Talenfeld’s term.

The Council clapped when Lopez-Negrete was sworn in. They voted to suspend for the rest of the semester the GPSC constitutional requirement to replace Lopez-Negrete’s Vice-President seat and tabled for future discussion whether or not Lopez-Negrete can receive both the V.P. and Presidential pay.

Talenfeld spoke briefly at the opening of Wednesday’s meeting to reiterate his support for over $600.00 in student fee increases for Fall 2010.

“The solutions to our states’ critical deficit problems can only come in the form of compromise and on the backs of all stakeholders … in our case that’s students,” He said.

Wildcats face a tuition and fee increase total of $2,766 (in-state) if proposals by University of Arizona President Robert Shelton are approved by the Arizona Board of Regents March 11.

English Graduate Union Co-Chair Jessica Erica Cirillo-McCarthy accused Talenfeld of “misrepresenting the students” by signing the letter as President of the Graduate Student Professional Council

“Should I dig into my heels and refuse to represent the council or hold true to my own views? Rather than be stubborn, I have chosen to resign and trust David (Lopez-Negrete) to adequately reflect the students,” Talenfeld said. “I think everyone is working for a solution, diligently, and in good faith.”

Talenfeld said that he believed after meeting with University administrators and state budget executives that no one wants to harm the students.

“The (Arizona State Legislature’s) 30 year track record proves that they don’t value higher education,” Talenfeld said after the meeting. “Likely no one else will.”

 

MOORE ABSENT; GPSC QUESTIONS BOOKSTORE ADMINISTRATORS’ CLAIMS

Campus Recreation Director Juliette Moore was supposed to report to the council on student usage but University Bookstores Executive Director Frank Farias attended in her stead, saying that Moore “chose to resign (retire), wisely.”

Farias helped to restructure moneys brought in by the bookstore to support some of the costs of Campus Recreation’s budget.

The GPSC objects to the bundling of fees proposed by Campus Health, Campus Recreation, University Libraries, and University Information Technology Services.

The representatives complained at several meetings that combining fees proposed by Campus Health and Campus Rec into a $306 “Health and Wellness Fee,” and those by UA Libraries and U.I.T.S. into a combined $335 “Library Technology Fee,” is “dishonest”, “unsubstantiated,” and “not reflective of the core needs of the University.”

President Robert Shelton said following ABOR’s public hearing Monday that the fees were first presented to him as bundled.

“If you don’t know how much money we actually need, how can you advocate for the fees as proposed?” College of Humanities Representative Lucy Blaney asked Farias.

Lopez-Negrete has represented GPSC on tuition and fee matters since Talenfeld wrote of his philosophical support for the fees as proposed to the Arizona Daily Wildcat, contradicting the Council’s statements of objection against student fees.

“This is the first time in 33 years I’ve had to come in and ask for the money. I’m humbled by this situation,” Farias told the graduate representatives. “The need is inescapable, financial, numerical. Somebody has to provide that.”

Farias was unable to provide any numerical or statistical data to the council to justify his claims that the bundled Campus Health and Wellness fee of $306 was needed to support both departments at current operating levels.

“I may not have the numbers right now, because I have not had the time, but I assure you the need is there” Farias said.  “You have already invested to build this facility (Student Recreation) but there’s no funding to protect it,”

College of Nursing representative Helena Morrison said 90% of the students she represents don’t live in Tucson and will never use either Campus Health or Campus Recreation.

Morrison challenged Farias, as she has Campus Health Administrative Services Director Kris Kreutz, on philosophical grounds of making students pay for things they may not use.

“Mandatory fees without usage is just not appropriate,” she said.

Kruetz told the Council at last week’s “special” meeting that bundling the fees was “good medicine” and that as a taxpayer, he understood the council’s natural objection. “I pay taxes for services I don’t use too.”

Moore was not available for comment Wednesday night.

 

COUNCIL DOUBTS SURVEY RESULTS; SUGGESTS CUT-BACKS

The Council has also rejected the legitimacy of surveys conducted by both Campus Recreation and University Information Technology Services that Shelton has used to justify both the need and desire of students to maintain services at current levels.

A review of the Student Information Technology Survey results provided by Papaleo revealed that only 374 students responded.

“I’d like to see what is done with my $25 before I invest any more,” said College of Law Representative Edwin Slade III

Blaney recommended that Farias consider closing the Rec swimming pool in the winter, opening membership to surround Rincon Heights residents, and firing any student personnel not absolutely required.

“Anyone who gives me attitude or blows gum in my face just has to go,” Blaney said. “We can’t afford them.”

Farias said that he has cut not only student positions, but Campus Recreation administrator positions as well.

 

BRIEF ON TUITION AND FEES; GPSC CONSULTS ASA

Teaching and research assistants’ tuition is often waived or covered by grants in return for their services.

The representatives voted, via listserv, to support President Robert Shelton’s proposed tuition increases as necessary to ensure the 2006 Maintenance of Effort levels required by the federal government to keep receiving education stimulus dollars.

If Arizona does not maintain k-College education spending at 2006, they will forfeit badly needed federal assistance.

The Arizona Constitution mandates that public education remain “nearly as free as possible.”

The ABOR’s interpretation for this measure for at least the last decade has been that student tuition input remains at the top of the bottom 1/3 of the total cost of education.

Fee increases do not typically enter into a parents’ accounting when gauging the cost of education, Jacobi said.

The GPSC considered mentioning in their memo that while there is an expectation that parents pay portions of undergraduates’ tuitions, graduates are usually on their own and still bound by FASFA limits that require a student to reach the age of 25 not to be counted on their parents income taxes.

The GPSC voted to utilize the Arizona Students’ Association’s stance that ABOR should now consider the cap at tuition as 30% of Arizona’s median income which is somewhere between $41,000 and 49,000

The U.S. Census Bureau reflected that the median income of a 2-person family in 2008 was $56,900.

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