Graduate students may get special representation in the Student Association if new legislation spearheaded by two graduate senators is passed in the upcoming weeks.
Sens. Katie Santo (CCAS-G) and Chris Bruno (Law) are working to create the Graduate Affairs Committee Act and plan to vote on the bill at the Nov. 27 senate meeting. If passed, this act would create a standing committee that represents graduate students in the Senate.
“Graduate students have long felt disillusioned with the Student Association,” Bruno said. “They believe that it doesn’t consider the issues that they face on a daily basis but instead acts predominantly on undergraduate issues.”
The graduate affairs committee would address academic affairs and student life issues that affect graduate students. Both Bruno and Santo said this is an effort by the SA to regain the trust of graduate students.
Santo said the committee would handle graduate issues such as University housing options, on-campus dining vendors not accepting credit cards and funding for graduate student organizations.
“We hope that by having a graduate affairs committee, those issues that graduate students find most important.can be addressed,” she said.
In order to streamline SA outreach for graduate students, a provision within the act would create a seat on the committee for the vice president of graduate student policy, Emmanuel Caudillo, a member of the SA executive.
“We have a provision within the legislation that would add the VP for graduate student policy as an (SA executive) member of the committee in an effort to both strengthen the ties between the Senate and executive,” Santo said.
Both Santo and Bruno said the bill has gotten a positive response from other SA senators.
“Katie and I have garnered support from a diverse community within the SA,” Bruno said. “Furthermore, there are a number of senators I have talked to who believe that the idea is good overall but are waiting to see how the bill will logistically look.”