Vote ‘yes’ on Graduate Student Government Independence

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For years, the Graduate Assembly, or GA, has been fighting for independence from the ASUC because the ASUC has hindered its ability to attain adequate financial and legal resources. To finally put an end to this contentious relationship, the GA must become autonomous once and for all.

Since the GA is a subsidiary of the ASUC, it must obtain the ASUC’s approval before signing any independent contracts or advocating independently on behalf of graduate students. Considering that the GA knows best how to serve graduate students, obtaining permission from the ASUC doesn’t make sense, especially when one notices that all elected ASUC positions are currently filled by undergraduate students.

Throughout the years, the GA has struggled to efficiently represent graduate students because of the ASUC’s inadequate funding. From 2003-18, $500,000 of graduate student fees never made it into the GA, highlighting the ASUC’s lack of dedication to securing resources for graduate students. Moreover, graduate students constitute more than one-fourth of the student population, but the GA only receives a mere 4% of the campus’s total budget despite its significant contribution to ASUC fees, according to expense estimates from the Office of the Vice Chancellor of Finance for 2017-18. This discrepancy showcases the need for an independent student body dedicated to prioritizing graduate students’ needs.

Although opposing arguments say the GA’s separation will lead to a wider disparity between graduate and undergraduate students, graduate students’ needs have simply been neglected for too long. Graduate students can also technically serve on the ASUC, though many choose not to. The GA has been pushing for independence for years, citing various forms of neglect from the overarching student government. Only graduate students can vote for this referendum and, after catching this topic’s history, we urge graduate students to vote for a future without the burden of the ASUC.

Vote ‘yes’ on Graduate Student Government Independence.

Editorials represent the majority opinion of the editorial board as written by the spring 2020 opinion editor, Simmy Khetpal.

A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that funds allocated to the Graduate Assembly by the ASUC were connected to campus’s financial allocations. In fact, the campus budget and ASUC budget allocations are completely separate.