November 26, 2012

GPSA Seeks to Add NYC Tech, Geneva Representatives

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No student activity fee without representation in the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly.

That sentiment could be considered the guiding principle behind a proposal introduced Monday by the GPSA to add two new representatives to its body: one for the New York City tech campus and another for Cornell’s New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva, N.Y.

If approved, the GPSA will vote on Jan. 21 to amend its charter accordingly.

The Student Association of the Geneva Experiment Station has sent representatives to serve their interests in the GPSA for several years, according to GPSA Vice President Nicole Baran grad.  In April 2010, a similar resolution was proposed that would have specified that one seat of the GPSA advisory board be reserved for a student from Geneva. The resolution failed to pass.

According to GPSA President Mitch Paine grad, the biggest possible objection to the resolution is the possibility of overrepresentation — that students at each of the satellite campuses would be unnecessarily represented by both their field representative and a new GPSA representative for their campus site.

“There’s two perspectives: one on paper and in theory, and one in practice. In theory and on paper, they’re already represented,” Paine said. “But in reality, they might not be engaged in the GPSA. In theory, they’ll be double-represented, but the distinction would be clear in the charter. In reality and on paper are different things.”

Students at the Geneva campus are technically represented by the GPSA because they pay the GPSA student activity fee. Still, they do not have a formal representative. CornellNYC Tech students will be in a similar situation, according to Baran.

“Currently, the administration imagines that the GPSA will represent the students at the NYC tech campus,” Baran said. “Students based there would pay the GPSA activity fee, so it would make sense for the GPSA to serve as the primary student government [for the tech campus].”

However, according to Baran, the satellite campuses “face different challenges” — and thus require representatives who understand these site-specific issues.

Paine agreed and added, “It’s really important to us that all needs, expectations and experiences are represented. The particular challenge with the Geneva campus and Cornell tech is that they’re going to have a really different experience.”

The resolution to add the two new representatives was proposed at the GPSA meeting Monday. Since changes to the charter require the vote to occur at a second meeting, a final decision will not be made until the GPSA reconvenes Jan. 21, Paine said.

“Having a student who’s representing students at these campuses will add a completeness of the GPSA and a completeness of what we’re trying to do,” he said.

Original Author: Nikki Lee