In 1999, the University's accrediting body, The Higher Learning Commission, noted to GVSU, "As a group, graduate students and their interests are not apparently represented within the existing student government systems [at Grand Valley State University]." Twelve years later graduate students are still not represented at Grand Valley. Presently, graduate students do not make a report to the Board of Trustees, have no representation on University Academic Senate, have no voice in Student Senate, and bear a large inequity in student life funding between graduate and undergraduate students. For example, during the 2009-2010 academic year:
-Graduate students contributed approximately $127,500 to the total GVSU Student Life Fund (SLF) of $1,069,104.
-Graduate student organizations received $3,735 from the SLF, just 2.9 percent of the amount contributed.
Therefore, both graduate student representation in University governance and present funding need to change.
Attempts to remedy governing and financial inequities through the current Student Senate have fallen short, as the current Graduate and Professional Student Association (GPSA) lacks authority and must report to a body completely populated by undergraduate students. Although undergraduate student senators can be commended for reaching out to graduate students, these senators simply cannot represent the dramatically different interests and needs of graduate students.
We, the undersigned, are concerned graduate students who urge GVSU leaders to act now to establish a separate governance body for graduate students with equitable funding that is independent of Student Senate and an appropriate role in University governance.
Grand Valley Graduate Students