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November 30, 2023

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Criticism of administration brought up during meeting

Some Graduate Student Senate members criticized the University administration’s relationship with the senate at the second general meeting Friday afternoon.

Several senators said the administration sometimes wastes the senate’s time by bringing issues to GSS that the administration has already decided on.

Ryan Bronkema, senator for the higher education administration department, said during the meeting that the University administration had already made its mind up about the smoking policy when the issue was brought to GSS this past year.

“They had already decided on no smoking but they came and asked us what we thought about it just because I think they thought it was cute or because democracy needs to be practiced or something,” Bronkema said during the meeting. “I don’t think that’s a great use of my time.”

Bronkema asked the Senate Executive Committee to only bring up future issues that the senate actually has a say in.

President Lingxiao Ge said during the meeting that the SEC always asks the administration if the outcome of an issue is able to be changed before bringing it to the GSS’s attention.

“We did ask if there was any possibility to change [the no-smoking decision] and unfortunately most of the answers were no,” Ge said.

Former president of GSS David Sleasman said the majority of senators agreed with the no-smoking policy when the administration surveyed the senate last year.

Sleasman was on the committee that recommended the policy to President Mary Ellen Mazey. He said he did not think the administration had decided on the policy yet when they brought it to GSS.

The senate voted to conditionally support the smoking policy in 2012 but changed their decision and revoted to write a letter to President Mazey instead, Ge said. The administration announced the policy before GSS was able to write the letter which angered some senators, she said.

Sociology Sen. Emily Schondelmyer said during the meeting that the administration should still bring issues to GSS to be voted on but should say if a decision has already been made.

“We’re here meant to act as a governing body and they’re coming here to ask us our position,” Schondelmyer said. “Even though we might not be able to change it, it’s good to take a stance as a body to say no we don’t agree with this or yes we do agree with this as a graduate student senate.”

Treasurer Michael Salitrynski said during the meeting that the senators’ requests were reasonable but he does not think the administration will be upfront about whether they have already made a decision.

“I have never been to a university where I have been stymied so much by an administration with their rhetoric; they’re relentless,” Salitrynski said. “I think our job is more to sift through that and to help each other understand what it actually means than to expect them to give us the answers.”

Bronkema recommended GSS write a letter to President Mazey voicing its concerns.

“If that’s how we feel and that’s what it’s like then I think the president should see it in text and I’m happy to put my name on it,” he said.

The next GSS meeting will be hosted Oct. 4 in the McFall Gallery from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.

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