Despite a low turnout Tuesday night, the Graduate and Professional Student Council General Assembly discussed the progress members have made so far this year in each of the seven committees.
The assembly dedicated a majority of the time to the academic affairs committee, chaired by third-year physics student and GPSC President Rob Saunders. He reviewed the committee's agenda, including academic integrity, cross-school teaching and class-taking, classroom technology, research funding and the Patriot Act.
The Patriot Act, created by Congress after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, includes a section on monitoring students who enter U.S. academic institutions. Several students wanted to find more about how the law restricts the research of graduate students in the sciences.
The other main concern was over suggestions by University officials to merge honor and integrity codes across the graduate and professional schools.
"Unifying the codes would be fruitless because each of us is in a different field," said Will Tyson, a fourth-year sociology student. "The [graduate] school is a separate entity. I wouldn't want what happens to us... to come down to some University board or committee."
Marc Sokol, a third-year student in the Fuqua School of Business, agreed, saying there were already common themes throughout the schools, such as the definition of plagiarism, but added that defining a few more common terms might be beneficial.
The second major issue GPSC addressed was the proposed "student village" on Main West Campus.
"What we have discussed is that [social space in the Bryan Center] is of concern for graduate students," said student affairs committee chair John Cook, a third-year law student. "We just want to make sure administrators are aware that these are issues for us and keep that in mind when making decisions."
Members suggested that the "village" should be aesthetically pleasing and have places for graduate students to eat and drink apart from undergraduates.
Buildings and grounds committee chair and fifth-year biomedical engineering student Carol Chancey discussed the "Safety Walk" that will take place Thursday. Graduate and undergraduate students will walk through designated places across East, West and Central campuses to decide where to improve environmental standards such as lighting and safety phones.
Zach Schafer, parking and transportation committee chair, spoke about the work being done to keep in touch with both University and Medical Center parking officials. Although in the past, graduate and professional students have not had a strong voice in allocation and pricing issues, Schafer said, he was optimistic about the positive comments Director of Parking and Transportation Catherine Reeve made at the last GPSC meeting.
Audrey Beck, GPSC vice president and undergraduate mentoring committee chair, said her committee's mentoring program next semester will incorporate four advising hours with speakers from different fields. Beck, a second-year sociology student, added that the current quad dinners have seen some success.
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