Request to Re-Install GSAO & Richard Battrick

**THE FOLLOWING PETITION IS IN DRAFT FORM BUT IS FAIRLY CLOSE TO BEING THE FINAL VERSION. IF YOU ARE COMFORTABLE WITH THE WORDING, PLEASE SIGN SINCE WE NEED TO ROUND UP AS MANY SIGNATURES AS POSSIBLE BEFORE NEXT WEEK! FEEL FREE TO CHECK BACK FOR THE FINAL EDIT AND REMIND FELLOW ESPM STUDENTS TO SIGN NOW.** NOTE: PLEASE DO NOT CHECK OFF THE THE OPTION TO HAVE YOUR SIGNATURE APPEAR AS "ANONYMOUS" BECAUSE YOUR ENTRY WILL HAVE TO BE MANUALLY DELETED. THANK YOU. Dear Dean Keith Gilless, The Graduate Student body in ESPM would like to present you with a petition to overturn the budgetary decision that has eliminated the Graduate Student Affairs Officer (GSAO). The GSAO works as a counselor and advisor who facilitates all aspects of graduate studies in ESPM--beginning with admissions and carrying on to guiding committees, oral examinations, and culminating with graduation. The GSAO also works as a necessary liaison between the Graduate Division, the College of Natural Resources, ESPM administration, and the individual graduate students, faculty, and staff. While we recognize that the College of Natural Resources faces extreme challenges in light of the current budget, and while we also recognize this means cuts and reductions are a reality, we find this particular decision to be unacceptable and requires further deliberation because of the many severe impacts that will result. We trust that within the difficult decisions that had to be made, retaining the integrity of ESPM, and that of the College of Natural Resources, was paramount. We believe, therefore, that the termination of the GSAO position has resulted from an undervaluing of this role and would like to present the following signed petition and the appended student letters as we ask for a re-evaluation. More specifically, the termination of Mr. Richard Battrick along with the termination of the GSAO position will be extremely disadvantageous to students, faculty, and other staff. Mr. Battrick’s long tenure with ESPM and nearly 30 years of service at Berkeley, institutional memory, and outstanding service record as recognized by the Chancellor’s Distinguished Service Award will be a significant loss. The brief list presented below highlights some of the proximate and ultimate ways in which the entire ESPM community will be impacted by the termination of the GSAO. A compilation of more detailed testimonials follows that highlights the quantitative and qualitative ways in which the GSAO supports all of us: *The progress of graduate students through their degree will be impacted significantly, and the burden of processing and navigating the necessary bureaucracy will fall on students and faculty alike. According to data retrieved from ESPM’s website, our department already has the highest Graduate Student (GS) to Faculty Member ratio of 3.65:1 across all CNR departments while the staggering GS to GSAO ratio is 230:1. Students will be lost in this process and we expect attrition to increase. *The ability of ESPM to effectively attract top students will be impacted, as you will see from the attached commentary that Richard Battrick as GSAO was instrumental in many student decisions. ESPM will no longer be a leader in innovative thought and research. *The loss of institutional memory will be severe and this will have countless impacts on current students, faculty, staff, and the incoming 2009 cohort. All recent efforts to increase community for the purpose of strengthening ESPM will be undermined. *Furthermore, ESPM has the most interdisciplinary group of students compared to all of the other graduate programs in the College of Natural Resources which underscores the need for a GSAO who is familiar with the complex infrastructure of ESPM and can accommodate diverse student needs. In addition, we would like to state that we see the roles of Graduate Student Manager and Graduate Student Affairs Officer as unique and distinct. The role of GSAO cannot be effectively performed by an already overloaded full time Graduate Student Manager. This point can be validated by the observed need to hire temporary staff at times of absence and leave. We sincerely ask for reconsideration and also request to meet with you and the rest of the decision-making committee to further discuss this and other changes that either directly or indirectly affect us. With reciprocal respect and anticipation, The Graduate Students of ESPM

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The Graduate Students of ESPM

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