Michael Suguitan/Sun File Photo

Cornell's GPSA hopes to hold in-person meetings when University operations return to normal as planned next week.

February 1, 2022

GPSA Reconvenes Virtually For First Meeting of 2022, Fills Vacancies

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The Graduate and Professional Student Assembly convened virtually on Monday for its first meeting of the semester, filling three vacancies: the finance committee chair, the appropriations committee chair and a social sciences voting member position. 

The meeting began with outgoing Finance Committee Chair Caroline Steingard grad nominating Andrew Murtha grad, a member of the GPSA Finance Committee, as her replacement. Steingard said that the position entails leading a committee of 13 to 15 people and allocating funds to student organizations as they request money.

“I have a pretty good familiarity with the behind the scenes … but also the GPSA rules that we’ve been adhering to,” Murtha said in her speech to the assembly. 

Murtha was subsequently elected to the role with 33 votes in favor and two abstentions.

Following Murtha’s election, Programming Board Chair Kyle Karnuta grad nominated Niamh Moore grad for the position of appropriations chair. 

“Most of the responsibilities [of the appropriations chair] are aligned with the setting the student activity fee,” said GPSA President Preston Hanley grad. 

According to Hanley, the role also helps to allocate the GPSA’s budget, assist committees with their own budgets and improve the committee functions.

Previously, Moore served full-time as the president of the student union at St. Mary’s University Twickenham, in addition to subchairing on the board for finance, audit and risk.

“This is something I’d like to be back involved with in the U.S. here, and be involved in the GPSA,” said Moore.

Moore was elected to the role with 32 votes in favor and one abstention. Both the finance committee and appropriations committee chair are yearlong appointments, lasting until December 2022. The social sciences voting member position expires at the end of the semester.

Operations and Staffing Committee Chair Kate Carter-Cram grad then nominated Melia Matthews grad to the social sciences voting member position. 

Matthews previously served as a voting member for the College of Veterinary Medicine. However, per the GPSA charter, the College of Veterinary Medicine is required to fill its own vacancies. Once they selected their own candidates to serve as voting members, Matthews had to vacate her former position.

Matthews was elected to her new role with 30 votes in favor and one abstention.

While this meeting was held virtually, GPSA Vice President Damien Sharpe grad said that the GPSA plans to return to in-person meetings as early as the week of Feb. 7, if the University allows them to do so. Unlike during the fall 2021 semester, where all assembly members had to attend meetings in-person, members will now be offered the choice to continue attending GPSA meetings virtually if they choose.

“We will be doing hybrid meetings from here on out, so you will have access to the Zoom or to the classroom,” Sharpe said. “If the [in-person] meetings get small enough, we may change rooms because it doesn’t make sense to continue to pay the $300 per meeting for [398 Statler Hall].”