During the first meeting of the year Tuesday, the Graduate Student Senate focused on becoming an autonomous entity beyond the reach of the undergraduate Student Senate.
Student Senate, which is run primarily by undergraduate students, claims to represent all students on campus, including graduate and professional students.
The Student Senate body thinks the Graduate Student Senate does not possess enough of the necessary populations that should be represented within the body, and therefore stay under the claim of the Student Senate.
They can make decisions for graduate and professional students – so if they pass an amendment to their constitution, it could trickle down to the Graduate Student Senate, even though they have different agendas.
The 2017-2018 body took an official stance of autonomy which was passed with a large number of the Graduate Student Senate body. In 2019, Graduate Student Senate President Dareen Todras hopes to form partnerships with the student senate, and other organizations on campus that involve all students.
When administration is looking for a voice for graduate students, they should come to us first, Graduate Student Senate body member Alexander Meyers said.
The money then goes to the undergraduate student senate because they are saying they represent everyone.
The Graduate Senate received a one-time funding increase of about $13,000, or $10,000 after taxes, from the university, which will help fund graduate student research, Todras said.
The last balance of the Senate was $8,643 in April 2019, and currently the balance for the Student Senate is at $4,930 after all the deductions, Michael Senteney, Graduate Student Senate treasurer said. We get a total of $3,354 dollars yearly that is divided monthly into $279.50.
These funds were allocated toward bringing guest speakers to the university, reserving the Walter Rotunda room, and printing the new Graduate Student Senate logo on marketing materials and banners.
The senate also supported the Graduate Professional Student Appreciation Week last year to help graduate students get funding for their research from places like the Innovation Center and the President’s Office, amongst others.