GPSS OKs support of full scholarships

Kay Souvatrat

After a tight vote, the Graduate and Professional Student Senate voted to support a resolution calling for full-tuition scholarships for doctoral students.

A vote on the issue had been tabled from the October meeting because a majority of the senators felt more information was needed on the issue.

John Mayfield, associate dean of the Graduate College, was scheduled to present his ideas on the waiver at Monday’s meeting, but was unable to attend due to out-of-state meetings.

Although Mayfield was unable to attend, he did provide handouts of frequently asked questions about the tuition waiver proposal.

From the handouts provided, questions were brought up about the Premium for Academic Excellence Award, which is provides a one year scholarship to 10 percent of incoming graduate students.

“If I were to lose my PACE scholarship, I feel I’d have to vote against supporting [the tuition waiver proposal]. I feel this is not in favor for me or my constituents,” said Kersten Kappmeyer, GPSS senator for journalism and mass communication.

The current tuition proposal waiver plan would phase out the PACE Award, which is also offered to students seeking their master’s degrees.

“It makes me nervous to see what would happen, but given current budget cuts, it seems the PACE Award would be phased out eventually,” said Nicole Davros, GPSS senator for Natural Resource Ecology and Management.

“We would lose more students who are applying at universities that offer tuition waivers,” Davros said. “[Iowa State] wouldn’t have the chance to be as competitive as other schools.”

The vote to support the tuition proposal as is was supported by 27 senators and opposed by 20 senators, and four abstained.

GPSS also continued discussion on a possible graduate student union.

An exploratory committee on unionization presented research and benefits of graduate student unions at October’s meeting.

Discussion on unionization was also tabled for discussion at Monday’s meeting.

“We have no motion or bill written dealing with this issue,” said GPSS Parliamentarian Jo Etzel. “The exploratory committee ended with the findings from the last meeting.”

Etzel said there were two options regarding unionization: make a bill to look into forming a new unionization committee or leaving the idea of a union and forming no committee and taking no action.

Dale Tessin, GPSS senator for ecology and evolutionary biology, questioned whether GPSS should be part of a union after October’s heated debate.

“Before we start anything, we need to see if there is a need, push and drive,” he said. “I don’t see that coming from other GPSS representatives.”

Victor Raymond, GPSS senator for sociology, suggested there may be a problem trying to figure out what’s appropriate to do on behalf of all graduate students.

“It isn’t wrong for GPSS to host an open forum and then [other interested graduate students] can take the next step,” he said.

GPSS passed a motion to form a new unionization committee that could hold an open forum for all students to discuss forming a union.

GPSS also passed motions to accept the Fall 2003 allocations requests from graduate and professional student organizations and to form of a committee to examine the Articles of Cooperation.