April 15, 2013

Cornell Slope Day to Cost $20 for Graduate and Professional Students

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Clarification appended

For the first time, graduate and professional students looking to attend Slope Day will have to pay $20 for admission to the event, the Slope Day Programming Board announced last week.

The change comes as the result of long discussions between the SDPB and the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly. According to a GPSA press release, the SDPB requested allocating $6 — instead of $3.07 — of each student’s activity fee to Slope Day. In return, the GPSA offered increasing the amount to $3.50 per student — a 14 percent increase — which the SDPB rejected in May 2012.

When the SDPB rejected GPSA’s offer, the GPSA reallocated the $3.50 from each graduate and professional student’s activity fee to its Finance Commission so student organizations could apply for the funding, Paine said. All of the money has since been reallocated, according to Paine.

According to Slope Day Chair Yang Zhao ’13, the request to increase graduate and professional students’ activity fee contributions to $6 per person was “an effort to bring the GPSA’s funding in line with what the undergraduate student population was paying per person.”

$18 of each undergraduate student’s $216 activity fee is allocated toward the SDPB.

“Our goal is to reach an equitable level of contribution from both undergrads and grads, not to raise the greatest total amount,” Zhao said.

Countering Zhao, GPSA President Mitch Paine grad said the GPSA’s offer to increase funding for Slope Day was the most generous proposal it made to any byline-funded group. Furthermore, he said the GPSA felt its offer was appropriate given the relatively low number of graduate and professional students who usually attend Slope Day. In 2011, about 25 percent of graduate and professional students were in attendance and less than 10 percent stayed for more than an hour, according to Paine.

Chavez Carter grad said he believes that although the newly implemented fees change will likely not affect graduate and professional students’ attendance at Slope Day, the resolution “feels purposefully segregating” to many graduate and professional students.

“From what was explained to me, Slope Day’s mission is for everyone — graduate students, undergraduates, staff, faculty — to get together for a day without the barriers of titles,” he said. “Its that one day when the entire Cornell community comes out. Its an event facilitated just for that purpose.”

Zhao, however, said that he does not think the new fee will affect graduate and professional students’ attendance and inclusion in Slope Day.

“I do not think that this resolution will exclude graduate and professional students from the event. Slope Day has and always will be a community event enjoyed by all Cornellians, regardless of their academic status,” Zhao said.

According to Kemberli Sargent grad, the price will influence her decision to attend Slope Day activities this year.

“While I was on the fence before, as I think many graduate students are, I will definitely not pay that much to go this year,” Sargent said. “The price certainly feels a bit exclusionary for graduate students, and we are already segregated enough in most instances.”

Paine added that the change could make Slope Day an increasingly undergraduate-focused event.

Shiau-Yun Chen grad echoed Paine, saying, “It kind of suggests that undergraduates are the center of the University.”

Clarification: A previous version of this story said that GPSA allocated $3.50 of each graduate and professional student’s activity fee to Slope Day, implying students would have to pay both a $20 fee and the $3.50 from their activity fee to attend the event. While the GPSA did originally allocate $3.50 to Slope Day, it is no longer spending $3.50 of each student’s activity fee for the event because when SDPB rejected the assembly’s proposal, GPSA reallocated funding to student organizations.

Original Author: Nikki Lee