Cartwright discusses budget changes with GSS

Jason Henry and Jason Henry

University President Carol Cartwright spoke at the Graduate Student Senate meeting on Friday, recapping what was said at the State of the University speech and discussing what this means for graduate students.

‘My main message was that we are a very strong, vibrant institution with a lot of opportunity in front of us; we do have some current realities we need to deal with,’ Cartwright said. ‘Some of them are very challenging.’

Cartwright said due to state budget reductions, the university will likely see a cut of 8 million dollars for fiscal year 2010 and 2011.

Cartwright also addressed the concern over new buildings being constructed while educational programs are being cut. She said this is because the funding received for buildings and the funding received for operation can not be reallocated.

‘By law, we can’t move those dollars from the capital budget to the operating budget,’ Cartwright said.

Cartwright said the University plans to increase enrollment by focusing on a stronger undergraduate program. This in turn would allow for more resources for the graduate program, she said.

‘It is not ‘either or.’ It is ‘both.’ It is ‘and,” she said. ‘We have to find the right balances.’

Following the speech, GSS President Carl Walling updated the assembly on the transportation fee discussed at the last meeting. ‘We understand it to be true that graduate students may be asked to pay for their parking in the near future or in the next couple of years,’ Walling said. ‘This is in response to the University moving to a model where everyone is paying for parking.’

Parking fees may also be increased due to inflationary concerns and may happen even if the transportation fee is not passed, he said.

Two resolutions were read for the first time; the first opposed the transportation fee.

Representative-at-Large Steve Dinda, one of the individuals who submitted the resolution, said he opposed the transportation fee because he does not believe the majority of graduate students use the shuttle regularly.

‘We would be funding a service where I don’t really think we’ll see much benefit from,’ he said.

The second resolution read was in support of a ‘hard-waiver’ option for all graduate students. According to the resolution, this option would give any graduate student, regardless of national origin, the right to equally apply for a waiver to the University’s health insurance policy if they met the set minimum requirements.

Both resolutions will be discussed at the next meeting. ‘