General assemblies of GSA and GPC vote on resolutions to modify merger proposal

Members of both organizations are now revising specific resolutions in preparation for the proposal’s implementation.

The Graduate Professional Council discussed and voted on specific resolutions to the proposal that would dissolve the Graduate Student Association into GPC during its General Assembly meeting Feb. 6.

As part of the resolution, the executive boards of both organizations must present the proposal “in tandem to the representative bodies of each organization at their regularly scheduled meetings of January 30, 2018 and February 6, 2018, respectively.”

As part of the meeting, the General Assembly voted on adopting certain resolutions to the proposal with respect to GPC bylaws. GPC President Alex Howe explained resolutions 1718-04, 1718-05 and 1718-06, which dealt with the functions of a new assistant director position, transition privileges for the outgoing GSA president and the new budget, respectively.

All three resolutions were adopted by majority vote.

The proposal as a whole outlines the process by which GSA and its functions will be dissolved into GPC, as well as specific details on transition provisions, board positions, funding, recognitional awards and failsafe clauses. The changes listed in the blueprint will be effective at the beginning of the next fiscal year, July 1.

The general assemblies of GPC and GSA voted to pass the merger proposal last December. A similar proposal was presented to the executive boards of GPC and GSA in 2011 but was voted against by GSA.

GSA President Sarah Senff, who was at the General Assembly meeting on Tuesday, cites the lack of disagreement during the resolution discussion as a positive indicator of how the proposal’s implementation will be received.

“The margin by which all of our resolutions and changes to governing documents passed in both groups was nearly unanimous,” Senff said. “I think graduate students see this as way to eliminate the confusion that came between the organizations.”

One of Senff’s hopes with this merger is that any confusion on which organization to contact when programming and planning events will be eliminated. She also foresees this consolidation as fostering a good sense of teamwork.

“I think we’re moving into a place of good camaraderie and good collaboration,” Senff said. “I do think that we have more planning to do, but we’re prepared to do that.”

After some concerns from members last year about the proposal being made behind closed doors, Senff is pushing for more visibility of the process moving forward.

“We’re trying to be very transparent with our plans,” Senff said. “Everything we do will be reported back to our general assemblies. It’s an effort that we’re trying to hear every opinion on the matter.”

Katherine Perry, who was president of GSA during the 2016-17 academic year, spent her presidency trying to rebrand GSA as a separate body from GPC. Her and the GSA executive board at the time were trying to “redevelop it as something that was very clearly for professional development or grad students.”

Perry said she believes she left the organization on a positive, forward direction. Because of this, Perry was especially upset that Senff, who was president after Perry left, would choose to dissolve the organization.

“We were pretty excited about the future and leaving it in the hands of people who we thought would grow [GSA],” Perry said. “We were surprised at just how adamant the new GSA board seemed to be with being on board with this.”

Despite this, Perry said she hopes only for the best with this unification. She maintains that the ultimate goal, no matter which organization, is to serve graduate workers.

“It is important to give GPC leadership the opportunity to demonstrate that [merging] was best for graduate students,” Perry said. “They now have the [responsibility] to do right by graduate students.”

Edited by Skyler Rossi |

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