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Office of the Senate
228 English Building
608 South Wright Street
Urbana, IL 61801-3613

TO: Robert Rich, Chair, Senate Council
FROM: Geneva Belford, Chair, Committee on General University Policy (GUP)
DATE: March 9, 2001
RE: GP.01.03, Graduate Student Representation Issues

In accordance with your request of December 18, 2000, GUP has been looking into the graduate student representation issues raised by Jason Lee. There appeared to be three main issues:

1. Election of graduate students to the Senate. A situation had arisen in which a group from one discipline was threatening to grab all the graduate seats. For this year, the Graduate College helped to work out an amicable solution. GUP recommends that USSP, being the Senate committee with general oversight of elections, work with the Graduate College to see that a procedure is in place to ensure fair representation across campus in the future.

2. Increased graduate student representation on committees; in particular, one graduate student on every committee. GUP notes that some committee Bylaws do specify that one student member shall be a graduate student. We are concerned that in those cases (such as Ed. Pol.) it has often not been possible to find a graduate student willing to put in the required amount of time. Having designated grad seats on all - or even most - committees does not appear to be realistic at this time. As a side issue, we discussed whether a designated grad student - if there is one - should be added to the committee membership (making for a larger committee) or take the place of an undergrad student (making undergrads underrepresented). In particular, we are opposed to adding a third student to GUP or designating one student position on GUP specifically for a grad student. For the time being, we recommend that the graduate student group identify willing nominees and work within the Committee on Committee's (CC) process to get their candidates on committees where they feel grad input is most important. We ask that CC, as a whole, monitor the situation so that graduate students are not denied reasonable representation by the undergraduate majority. We note that nominations may also be made from the floor.

3. Increased numbers of graduate students in the Senate. This is something of a corollary of #2. If there are 20 committees, and one grad student on each, then that requires 20 grad student Senators (assuming non-Senators would not wish to serve). And currently there are only 8, plus 2 professional students, for a total of 10. Student seats are allocated on the basis of student population, which is fair. Doubling the number of grads would require doubling the number of undergrads, and then the number of faculty as well? Nobody wants a Senate of 500 members! Although we understand the rationale behind this concern of Jason's, addressing it would involve an unreasonable change in Senate make-up.