GSA Elections Start Today: Vote from Tuesday, April 17 until noon Monday, April 23
April 17, 2012 - 3:30pm
The 2012 GSA elections have begun. You can vote by logging onto MyUCLA at http://www.my.ucla.edu and clicking on the Election icon. Voting ends at noon on Monday, April 23. Basic information about the 2012 officer candidates as well as the text of the referendum are included immediately below. For more information about each reproduced from the ballot, please scroll down the page. Click here to view slides presented at the Week 9 Forum meeting of Winter Quarter.
The Ballot in Brief
President: David Zeke
Vice President Internal: Vanessa Thulsiraj
Vice President External: Dani Molina
Vice President Academic Affairs: Nicole Robinson
Text of the Referendum
Shall Article I, Section C of the constitution of the Graduate Students Association (GSA) be amended to include the following: The mandatory fees collected from each graduate and professional student member of the GSA shall be increased by $5.00 per quarter (equivalent for semester graduate degree programs) to be distributed as follows: $1.75 for the Graduate Students Association central operations; $1.50 for the Graduate Writing Center; $0.50 to the Academic Councils; and the mandated $1.25 return to aid for graduate and professional students. The increase in fees will be as of Fall Quarter 2012 and will not include the summer sessions. All fees collected for GSA, the Graduate Writing Center, and the Academic Councils will be tied to inflation subject to the United States Consumer Price Index (CPI) adjustment every three years.
GSA Officer Candidates (self statements reproduced from ballot)
Candidate: David Zeke
- I'm David Zeke, a second year doctoral student in economics, running for the position of GSA President under the Quality & Progress slate. I currently serve as the director of discretionary funding for the GSA and thus sit on the GSA board. I also serve on the Career Services Subcommittee of the Graduate and Professional Student Welfare Committee. My experience serving the GSA and interacting with ASUCLA and UC administrators gives me the background to effectively represent the interests of graduate and professional students. As President, my priorities will be as follows:
- Promote graduate student interests with regards to quality of life: community, finances, recreation, healthcare
- Work with Career Services to publicize and expand their resources offered to graduate and professional students
- Improve the transparency of GSA financials, including clear summaries of where our budget comes from and goes
Vice President Internal
Candidate: Vanessa Thulsiraj
- My name is Vanessa Thulsiraj and I am running for GSA Vice President of Internal Affairs as part of the Quality and Progress slate . I am in the department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. I have served as the President of the Engineering Graduate Students Association (GSA Engineering Council) for the last two years. In addition I am currently the GSA Director of Communications and serve on the Student Activities Center Board of Governors and the Graduate Writing Center Oversight Committee. My current involvement with GSA and experience with running a council makes me a strong candidate for this position. As VP of Internal Affairs I will ensure relevant topics regarding the graduate student population are addressed at forum, and strengthen the relationship and communication between GSA and the 13 academic councils.
Vice President External
Candidate: Dani Molina
- Hi, my name is Dani Molina. I am currently a second year PhD student in Higher Education and I am running for External Vice President under the GSA Quality and Progress slate. As an Iraq War veteran and ambitious graduate student, I believe I have the right experiences to be an effective External Vice President. In short, I have significant knowledge working with the UCSC, UCLA, and UCOP Government Relations Offices on advocating for increased local, state, and federal funding for the UC system. As an officer of GSA my main goals will be to:
- Advocate on behalf of all UCLA graduate and professional students within the UC Board of Regents, as well as the local, state, and federal governments,
- Develop programs in support of UCLA graduate and professional students while also learning of best practices at other top-tier universities,
- Represent the needs of our graduate and professional students at the UC Students Association and Academic Senate.
Vice President Academic Affairs
Candidate: Nicole Robinson
- Graduate students deserve a strong voice in the GSA that will support them and fight for their rights during these difficult budgetary times at UCLA. As VP of Academic Affairs with the under the Quality & Progress slate,I will work to make sure that student voices are heard, not ignored, and that our exclusion from the conversation cannot be mistaken for complacency. Too often those in charge are allowed to pass down judgement that adversely affects our academic lives, without ever having to consider our opinions or solutions. Under the stress of the current budget crisis, our administration has been meeting behind closed doors to plan a restructuring of UCLA, and the current trends are heading towards privatization. The student body needs a dedicated VP who will work with those in charge to ensure that the channels of communication are clear and transparent.
GSA Referendum (reproduced from ballot)
Text of the referendum
- Shall Article I, Section C of the constitution of the Graduate Students Association (GSA) be amended to include the following: The mandatory fees collected from each graduate and professional student member of the GSA shall be increased by $5.00 per quarter (equivalent for semester graduate degree programs) to be distributed as follows: $1.75 for the Graduate Students Association central operations; $1.50 for the Graduate Writing Center; $0.50 to the Academic Councils; and the mandated $1.25 return to aid for graduate and professional students. The increase in fees will be as of Fall Quarter 2012 and will not include the summer sessions. All fees collected for GSA, the Graduate Writing Center, and the Academic Councils will be tied to inflation subject to the United States Consumer Price Index (CPI) adjustment every three years.
Background of Graduate Students Association Fees
All UCLA graduate and professional students pay fees each quarter (or semester) that fund the Graduate Students Association (GSA), the Graduate Writing Center, and the Academic Councils. While funding for certain programs within GSA (Discretionary Funding, Melnitz Movies, Publications, and the Sustainable Resource Center) comes from other sources (Associated Students UCLA and Student Fee Advisory Committee), all other financial support for GSA, the Graduate Writing Center, and the Academic Councils comes solely from student fees. The last time that GSA members voted to increase their GSA and Academic Council fees was in 2002. In 2006, a referendum was passed to establish a fee to fund the Graduate Writing Center. Other student-approved fees, such as those for the ASUCLA Student Union, the Wooden Center, and the Student Activities Center, already have an inflationary adjustment factor; this referendum would tie the fees for GSA central operations, the Graduate Writing Center, and the Academic Councils to inflation as well.
The GSA Cabinet and GSA Forum have voted to place this referendum on the ballot. The referendum has four funding components: GSA central operations, the Graduate Writing Center, the Academic Councils, and Return to Aid. The referendum provides for an inflationary adjustment every three years for all fees collected for GSA, the Graduate Writing Center, and the Academic Councils.
- 1. GSA Central Operations
The referendum would increase per quarter (or the equivalent per semester) the GSA central operations fee by $1.75 from the current $7.25 to a total of $9.00. This additional revenue would be used in two primary ways.
- A. Create a consistent, dedicated source of funding for GSA Events. GSA Events provides much of the programming that GSA does each year. Some of the programming planned and executed by GSA Events includes the Grad Bars, Grad Ball, club nights, snow trips, Grad Games, and outings to professional sports events and cultural events. Currently, GSA Events is almost entirely funded out of GSA central operations surplus funds, or funds that were not spent from the previous years. If the referendum is passed, GSA Events will have a sustainable source of income.
If the referendum is not passed, GSA Events will continue to rely upon money that was not spent in the prior year.
B. Support increased advocacy on behalf of graduate and professional students. Currently, much of this advocacy takes place by sending GSA members to visit state legislative offices in Sacramento, Congressional offices in Washington, D.C., the University of California Office of the President in Oakland, and the University of California Regents meetings at various University of California campuses. The GSA travel budget is approximately $4,000 per year, which allows one or two individuals to travel to such meetings. If the referendum is passed, the travel budget could be increased to allow more GSA members to advocate in person at the appropriate offices.
If the referendum is not passed, the GSA travel budget will remain the same limiting participation to current numbers.
GSA central operations incurs various expenses such as maintenance and utilities, administrative staff support, supplies. If the referendum is passed, the increase in funding will provide for inflation-driven expenses.
If the referendum is not passed, GSA may have to meet future operational cost increases by cutting other elements of the existing budget.
2. Graduate Writing Center
The referendum would increase per quarter (or the equivalent per semester) the Graduate Writing Center fee by $1.50 from the current $3.00 to a total of $4.50. The Graduate Writing Center addresses the academic writing, professional writing, and presentation skills needs of graduate and professional students. The Graduate Writing Center is managed by a career staff coordinator, and employs 12-16 highly-qualified graduate students as writing consultants. The Graduate Writing Center is governed by a graduate student majority oversight committee made up of representatives from each of the thirteen GSA Academic Councils.
If the referendum is passed, the additional revenue would be used in the following ways: Offer additional appointments to meet ongoing increase in demand; offer workshops and drop-in appointments at satellite locations (e.g., graduate housing, professional schools, etc.); expand current workshops and develop additional requested workshops; enable operation of a grant and fellowship archive for which materials have already been collected and catalogued and provide the staffing necessary for students to use the archive to learn from successful grant applications; hire more specialized writing consultants with experience in scientific, policy, business, legal, and grant writing to address the more specialized writing needs of graduate and professional students.
If the referendum is not passed, the Graduate Writing Center will continue to provide services to graduate and professional students at approximately the same level as at present although in future years rising expenses will necessitate future cutbacks.
3. Academic Councils
The referendum would increase per quarter (or the equivalent per semester) the Academic Councils fee by $0.50 from the current $5.50 to a total of $6.00. The thirteen Academic Councils are grouped by schools and departments throughout the university and provide funding and other resources for their constituents.
If the referendum is passed, the additional revenue would be used to allow Council-sponsored academic and social activities to continue and would provide resources for greater graduate student involvement both at the Council level and for the constituent groups within the Councils.
If the referendum is not passed, the Academic Councils will continue to have the current amount of funding to be used to sponsor academic and social events.
4. Return to Aid
According to University of California policy, all student-initiated referendums must include a return to aid component. This amount is calculated as one third of the amount of the proposed fees. Thus, for this referendum the total proposed fees are $3.75 and one third of this amount is $1.25. In general, the distribution of these funds to graduate and professional students is overseen by the UCLA Graduate Division.
If the referendum is passed, this money would be used to provide financial aid for graduate and professional students.
If the referendum is not passed, no additional financial aid for graduate and professional students would be available.