February 28, 2006

GPSA Will Help Fund Slope Day

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With perhaps a note of reconciliation in the air, the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly agreed last night to help fund Slope Day, bringing an end to tensions between the assembly and Slope Day Programming Board, which began when the GPSA turned down a $15,000, two-year funding request for the spring holiday last month.

The approved funding will give the SDPB $4,000 for one year with stipulations as to how it can be spent. The GPSA will also be credited on all Slope Day promotional materials, and the SDPB promised to put a graduate student on its Logistics Committee.

Krystyn Tendy grad, the SDPB liaison to the GPSA, presented the compromise, which amended a motion for a one-year, no-strings-attached $4,000 that had been tabled at the GPSA’s last meeting in January. That deal had been worked out on Friday by members of the SDPB, GPSA and Student Assembly.

“I think it was a fair compromise,” said Lizz Giorgos ’07, who is vice chair of the SDPB and co-chairs its Logistics Committee. She said that although the SDPB would have preferred the $7,500 annually which they had originally requested, she saw that the GPSA is “not at that level where they have that money” to spend on the event.

One of the key benefits of the deal, several GPSA and SDPB members said, was that it would keep graduate students involved in Slope Day.

“We’re very, very happy that we got the participation this year,” Tendy said. “By the time this meeting rolled around, our focus was on just getting the participation.”

As part of that initiative, Slope Day’s planners will encourage graduate students to participate as volunteers during the day. Jon Bellante ’06, chair of the Slope Day Committee, said that he sees this year’s funding as “seed money” to keep graduate students involved, and that he hopes to see them taking an even greater part of Slope Day in years to come.

“Hopefully in the future, Slope Day will have changed so that the graduates feel they should have an equitable contribution,” Tendy said.

The question of GPSA’s funding for Slope Day ruffled some feathers last month when the SDPB’s $15,000 request was reduced to $4,000 and tabled. In response, the S.A. considered banning graduate students from Slope Day or charging them more for concessions on the slope.

The SDPB’s request for money seemed even more at risk when the GPSA voted away an $18,000 “slush fund,” which would have likely been used in part to fund Slope Day, for procedural reasons.

But Tendy said that although there were some tensions between the two sides after the funding came into question, it had mostly been due to “a lot of misunderstanding and some miscommunication.”

“That [vote] actually seemed like it was against Slope Day, but it wasn’t,” Giorgos said. “It was against procedural errors.”

Michael Walsh grad, who was one of the GPSA members that helped broker the deal on Friday, said that SDPB approached the matter differently this time around.

“Rather than a request for money, it was a request for graduate participation in Slope Day,” he said. “Before, it was a demand” for money, he added.

Although Bellante said that he hopes that the GPSA will be able to maintain its $4,000 contribution next year, the SDPB is looking into applying for byline funding, a more permanent solution, in the future.

Under the amended funding request, the GPSA’s contribution will be split equally between this year’s musical performer and Slope Fest, Slope Day’s non-alcoholic counterpart. The GPSA approved the motion by a vote of 8-5. Among those who voted against funding, the most common argument seemed to be that graduate students are not interested in participating in or funding Slope Day to any degree.

Archived article by Yuval Shavit
Sun City Editor