GPSC bans affiliation with OSAF organizations

At the Graduate and Professional Student Council’s meeting Tuesday night, members discussed and passed an amendment to prevent student groups from affiliating with both GPSC and OSAF.
At the Graduate and Professional Student Council’s meeting Tuesday night, members discussed and passed an amendment to prevent student groups from affiliating with both GPSC and OSAF.

The Graduate and Professional Student Council will no longer affiliate with groups associated with the Office of Student Activities and Facilities. 

During its weekly meeting Tuesday, GPSC voted on an amendment to follow OSAF’s request to no longer affiliate with groups connected to OSAF. This means groups can no longer affiliate with both GPSC and the Duke Student Government, as they could before the amendment was passed. With the amendment in place, GPSC will be able to fund events that groups affiliated with either DSG or GSPC predict will draw a crowd composed of at least 30 percent graduate and professional students.

Preference for funding will be given to groups affiliated with GPSC. 

“There are groups that would have received funding in the past but can no longer receive funding because of OSAF’s request,” GPSC Vice President Adam Pechtel, a third-year law student, said. 

OSAF made the request because it wanted to clarify how the chain of responsibility runs from each group to OSAF, Pechtel said.

The bylaw previously required that a group be affiliated with GPSC to receive funding from the council. 

“I think it sort of opens the doors to fund any event that would add to graduate student life,” said Caroline Yeager, a medical student.

Justin Ward, a fourth-year history Ph.D. candidate, proposed that another sentence be added to clarify the notion that groups will be prohibited from affiliating with both DSG and GPSC. The general assembly moved to include the sentence, “Affiliation with the Council or DSG will be required for consideration for group funding.” Groups that are affiliated with neither may not apply for funding from GPSC.

“The point is to benefit graduate and professional students whether they’re participating in DSG-sponsored events or GPSC-sponsored events,” said President Yvonne Ford, a fourth-year nursing Ph.D. student.

In other business:

Student Health Insurance Manager Anna Salinas told the general assembly about changes that have been made to the health insurance policy. Two ultrasounds for pregnant spouses or students will now be covered under the policy. A third ultrasound is not covered, but sometimes clients can appeal to get it covered, Salinas said, adding that it may be covered in the future.

Salinas said students’ health insurance continues until July 31, after graduation, and they should contact her to cancel their coverage if they are covered by their employers after graduation. Students can also choose to continue coverage for an additional $74 per month for up to six months. After that, students may continue with a United Healthcare plan or find another health care provider.

Rolando Estrada, a computer science student, told the general assembly about the options for a new GPSC Web site.

The Web site committee proposed two options for Web site renovations. In the first, Duke Web Services—a private company that works within the Duke community—could develop a new site or revamp the current one, which would cost between $2,000 and $7,000. In the second, GPSC could work with the Duke Innovative Design Agency, a student-run design agency that works with student groups, to enhance the Web site. The latter would be free but would restrict the committee in terms of the site’s design, Estrada said.

The general assembly will vote on these options at its March 23 meeting. Students testified that the Web site is currently not user-friendly.

“Anything might be better,” said Laura Johnson, a graduate student in evolutionary anthropology.


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