Grad Students Vie for ASUC Profit Share

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A Graduate Assembly representative is expected to file a petition today in response to the ASUC Senate's failure to allow a proposition on the Spring ballot that would divert one-third of ASUC store profits to the assembly.

The senate rejected the measure at its Wednesday meeting after ASUC Attorney General Nathan Quigley said the proposition was unconstitutional. The ASUC constitution states the assembly is limited to placing items on the ballot that only affect graduate students.

"Regardless of my personal feelings on the subject of graduate student funding, it is my opinion that the Graduate Assembly does not have the authority to place propositions on the ballot for vote by the whole student body," Quigley said at the meeting. "Additionally, even if the proposition were to pass, the amended sections of the bylaws would be unconstitutional and hence null and void."

Assembly President David Friedman said he plans to file a petition for mediation with the ASUC Judicial Council today. The petition demands the measure be allowed on the April ballot and, if supported by a majority of students, be considered a valid amendment to the constitution. The council has final authority on constitutional interpretation.

"I think (the decision) is wrong - I am giving him the benefit of the doubt and I am hoping it's not a political decision," Friedman said. "I think we have a strong legal argument and I'm hopeful that we'll prevail in court."

Friedman said he has faith that the council, which is comprised of undergraduate students, will remain unbiased when making a decision.

"The argument that I will make to (the judicial council) doesn't require the people hearing it to be undergraduate or graduate students," Friedman said. "The judicial council is supposed to be impartial."

Friedman said the senate's actions have only supported the assembly's argument that graduate students have no say in ASUC affairs.

"They are making the case that graduate students aren't served by the ASUC Senate for us by first refusing to sit down with us and negotiate a deal, and by refusing to allow all students to vote on this issue," Friedman said.

He suggested that the assembly wants a chunk of ASUC money because of past financial carelessness on the part of the undergraduate-dominated ASUC.

"The reason why the GA built a surplus was because we were worried the ASUC was going to go bankrupt," Friedman said. "It just further shows you that the Graduate Assembly is responsible. A few years ago when they were building up this debt you could easily conclude that they were being irresponsible."

ASUC President Patrick Campbell cited the repayment of the ASUC debt as an example of ASUC accountability.

"While the GA has built up a surplus of $200,000 in the last four years, the ASUC has paid off a $6 million debt and developed a $1 million reserve," Campbell said. "The ASUC has bailed out the Graduate Assembly before."

Campbell said the ASUC has a duty to make sure its activities remain fiscally sound.

"I fully appreciate the GA's role in representing graduate student issues; however, the ASUC is responsible for representing all students," Campbell said.


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