New plan proposed for PB graduate fund

Plans to create a Program Board fund for graduate student organizations are being re-examined after a University administrator halted a similar plan last semester.

Mike Gargano, assistant vice president for Student and Academic Support Services, voiced strong objections last month to a plan to give graduate students PB funds for separate graduate programming. But he is trying to re-establish the fund.

A tentative deal, which Gargano is working on with PB Executive Chair Brian Nathanson and Student Bar Association President Scott Mory, calls for 20 percent of PB’s budget to be earmarked for graduate students for the next three years. The plan also calls for a new Graduate Student Leaders Council, which was proposed last semester, to create a programming budget by Nov. 1 of each year. If the money is not budgeted by then, it would revert to PB’s main budget.

“It gets us where we want to be to start with,” Gargano said. “It gets everyone communicating.”

Gargano said the new plan addresses his main concern, which is that a specific dollar amount cannot be allocated to graduate students from PB’s budget for future years.

Last semester’s plan called for $15,000 to be allocated to the fund this academic year with almost all graduate student contributions to PB being allocated in three years. Using a percentage of PB’s budget in the new plan instead of a fixed number keeps it from violating University policies, Gargano said.

“In reality, it’s the exact same agreement (as last semester), but we want to develop the budget on an annual basis,” Gargano said.

Mory said he is creating the draft proposal and will be giving it to other graduate student leaders for review next week.

Emily Cummins, a member of the Columbian School Graduate Coalition, said she believes the new plan will work out well. She also said she was glad Gargano reconsidered sidelining the deal.

“I think when other administrators got involved in the discussion, Gargano realized he shouldn’t have stood in the students’ way,” Cummins said. “I think he agrees with the principle of the idea.”

Graduate student leaders have expressed concerns in recent years that most PB programs are geared toward undergraduates, although grad students contribute to PB’s $211,200 budget.

The idea of reserving funds for graduate use was raised two years ago and resulted in a verbal agreement to create programming for graduate students.

Cummins, who spearheaded the agreement two years ago, said she is happier with this year’s solution.

“The good thing is that this time it’s actually going to happen,” she said.

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