November 21, 2011

GPSA Rejects Slope Day Funding Increase

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The Graduate and Professional Student Assembly finalized the graduate student activity fee at $81 for the years 2012-2014. The fee, passed unanimously on Monday night, allocates $3.50 per person to the Slope Day Programming Board, despite the SDPB’s appeal for a higher allocation.

According to GPSA President Evan Cortens grad, SDPB members have previously said that the club would need at least $4.50 per graduate student to maintain graduate students’ free attendance. If the SDPB does not accept the GPSA allocation, graduate students may be charged to attend Slope Day, The Sun reported Friday.

“I remain hopeful that the SDPB executive will not decide to forgo this allocation and seek instead to charge graduate and professional students $25 to attend,” Cortens said. “I believe accepting the GPSA decision results in more revenue than they’ll receive from ticket sales. … Even though it may not have been as much as they believe is ideal, it is the most graduate and professional students are able to offer.”

SDPB Administrative Director Jon Rau ’12 could not comment on the implications of the finalized allocation, but said that the SDPB will continue open dialogue with the GPSA.

Before accepting the recommended allocations determined by the Appropriations Committee, the GPSA turned down a proposed amendment that would have maintained the $81 fee but redistributed approximately $700 from the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly Finance Committee to Slope Day.

“The Appropriations Committee put a lot of thought into their recommendation of $3.50 per student,” GPSAFC Chairperson Mia Tootill grad said. “Slope Day can still take place with that level of funding, whereas the proposed raise would have taken money away from the GPSAFC and likely prevented one or more graduate student organization events from happening.”

At the meeting, graduate students opposing a further increase in funding toward Slope Day called into question the value of the event to the graduate and professional community.

“Graduate students and undergraduate students are in a very different place,” Alison Nash grad said.  “$3.50 is reaching out and saying we do want to be a part of this, but also recognizes the fact that many grad students do not have the option of attending Slope Day, either because they are teaching in classes or have other academic obligations.”

Rau expressed concern about the allocation, especially the focus of the GPSA’s deliberation.

“I was disappointed that the debate was centered around the value [that] Slope Day provides to graduate students when that’s not the metric that is used for a lot of the organizations that are funded in the byline process,” he said.

Natalie Raps ’12, president of the Student Assembly, echoed Rau’s sentiments.

“This was a very civil debate, and I know that we are going to work well with graduate students no matter what,” Raps said. “It’s just a bit disappointing.”

Original Author: Elizabeth Kussman