A resolution to recruit a Graduate and Professional Student Assembly liaison to the Slope Day Programming Board, and to create a joint GPSA and SDPB working group, was rejected Monday by the GPSA, which questioned the necessity of continuing conversations about Slope Day funding.
Resolution 18 –– proposed by incoming Student Assembly President Adam Gitlin ’13 and S.A. minority representative Roneal Desai ’13 –– aimed to identify ways the event could be made more valuable to the graduate student community.
The GPSA turned down Resolution 18 by a vote of 10 no to 1 yes.
GPSA Executive Vice President Nicole Baran grad said that she did not want to spend additional time discussing a topic that had “distracted [the GPSA] from discussing other issues like graduate professional development resources.”
The resolution also recommended that the GPSA Appropriations Committee raise its SDPB allocation for the fall of 2013.
Discussion between the GPSA and SDPB began in November, when the GPSA chose to raise its allocation of funds from the student activity to SDPB to $3.50 despite the SDPB’s request for $6, causing the SDPB to consider forcing graduate students to buy tickets for Slope Day.
Slope Day proposed a compromise in which it would accept GPSA funding and charge graduate students a reduced ticket price of $7, but the GPSA turned this down in March, declaring that Slope Day could either accept their funding or charge graduate students, but could not do both.
Baran said that she would not prompt the GPSA to adjust the $3.50 in student activity fees it has recommended to give to SDPB.
“This resolution will change nothing,” Baran said. “The [$3.50] … was made after generous consideration. I am proud of the work that the GPSA has done in this dispute, and I am ready to move on.”
However, Desai disagreed, saying that he hoped that the working group would increase collaboration between undergraduate and graduate students.
“We identified a disparity in the value that grad students saw in Slope Day and the value that undergrads saw in Slope Day, and hoped to find productive solutions to what [SDPB] can do for grad students to make it a University-wide event,” Desai said. “I think that there is currently a discrepancy where both sides are losing.”
Gitlin said that he hoped that the working group would promote more productive discussion.
“We wanted to re-frame the discussion with Slope Day and GPSA leaders as looking at it not as the turbulent discussions that occurred over the past year, but rather as a longer-term relationship between Slope Day and GPSA,” Gitlin said. “At the end of the day, we want to make Cornell a better university for students, not [just] for undergraduates.”
Should the SDPB reject GPSA funding, SDPB will charge graduate students to attend on Slope Day in 2013.
According to GPSA President Evan Cortens grad, all available data suggests that accepting the current funding proposal would be in the best financial interests of the SDPB.
“Ultimately, it is a debate about money,” Cortens said. “I think that the GPSA has made them a very good offer in $3.50, and it is more money that they will get than if they decide to charge tickets. SDPB needs to decide whether or not they want to make more money and continue to admit grad students as is or turn away grad students and make less money. And that’s their decision.”
Cortens stressed that, despite the rejection of Resolution 18, discussion between the GPSA and SDPB will continue.
“While this resolution didn’t pass today, it doesn’t necessarily close down any dialogue,” Cortens said. “We’re certainly waiting to hear what the Slope Day committee is going to decide.”