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Graduate Student Senate sets deadline for key committee formation

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Debate sparked among Graduate Student Senate members Tuesday night over the appointment of two committees.

Representative Brett Fredericksen brought forward a resolution to create a concrete deadline to form a governance and budgeting committee within GSS, in addition to beginning a list of members interested in joining these committees. 

Fredericksen was concerned that the committees, which help form resolutions and act as a check and balance between the body and the executive board, were yet to be appointed this year. 

In previous years, GSS appointed both committees earlier in the semester, but Tuesday marked the fifth meeting this year that neither committee was in place.

Fredericksen felt the urgency to push a resolution to form both committees after he noticed the body was planning to pass a budget resolution with no budgeting committee in place.

“I was particularly taken aback that we were putting forward budget requests that haven’t been seen by the body at all,” Fredericksen said. “That means on the other hand that if the execs are only looking at budget requests, they can deny one without the body ever seeing it, which of course has potential issues.”

Dareen Tadros, president of GSS, expressed concern that Fredericksen was overstepping his position with the resolution during the meeting. Tadros and the other GSS executive officers have been continuously working on enacting the committees but have not completed the task yet.

Tadros also questioned why the resolution to form the committees was introduced at the last minute as Fredericksen brought the resolution forward just an hour before the meeting, which is an unusual move for GSS.

While Fredericksen acknowledged introducing the resolution wasn’t a typical route for legislative action, he still believed it was an important step for the body to take.

“That is unusual and it is impolite to do so, of course, to the exec board,” Fredericksen said. “But, generally in the light of new information that comes between the time that agendas are passed to the meeting, we can write and amend resolutions. So, when I saw on the agenda we had a $350 budget resolution and no budget committee, I wasn’t too happy.” 

While Tadros pushed against some aspects of the resolution during the meeting, she later said she supports appointing the committees and felt like any concerns she had with the resolution were cleared up.

“I didn’t have any hesitation about it,” Tadros said. “I felt there was a bit of a miscommunication, but I believe now it’s clear to formalize the committees and that we will make them public soon.” 

The resolution passed with a small majority vote. Thirteen members voted in favor of the legislation; eight voted against it and four abstained.

Fredericksen hopes both committees are formed soon and hopes to work with both committees. 

The body also passed a resolution that supports the inclusion of the Survivor Advocacy Program and Counseling and Psychological Services on all university syllabi. 

Tadros, in particular, was in favor of the resolution, not only because of her belief in the importance of these university programs but also because of her observations that not all students are aware of the resources available to them.

“It’s important to bring awareness about these resources, and they’re there to support students, and that’s our mission,” Tadros said. “Having (resources) listed will result in prevention and students knowing that the university doesn’t tolerate sexual assault and sexual misconduct, and there is support available for survivors.” 

The next GSS meeting will take place on Nov. 12 at 7:30 p.m. in Walter 235.

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