Cornell graduate student organizations such as Graduate and Professional Student Assembly (GPSA) have democratically negotiated benefits and improvements for graduate students without a union.
What is GPSA?
Graduate and Professional Student Assembly (GPSA) is a student body that has a voice in “…activities, program areas, and non-academic policies that affect graduate and professional students.” They serve as a mechanism for the graduate and professional students and the administration to voice opinions and exchange views. GPSA is an elected body that represents all fields proportional to graduate or professional student enrollment. Many positions within GPSA are uncontested, and therefore never go to a vote. The GPSA has held stances that disagree with the Graduate School.
What is the GPCI?
Since 2013, the Graduate and Professional Community Initiative (GPCI) has been a guiding document for goals and improvements in graduate and professional student life. It was created through collaboration between GPSA, graduate and professional student and their partners, and the administration. The main topics it addresses are: Graduate & Professional Student Center, Career Resources, Mental Health & Well-Being, Diversity & International Students, Family Services, Housing, Transportation, Sense of Community. An update on how these goals have been met since 2013 can be found here.
Here is a list of recent improvements to our graduate student lives:
- Advancements in Graduate Student Life: GPCI Update
- Stipend Increase of 2% for 2016-2017
- Child Care Grant
- Graduate Student General Committee Voting Rights
- Graduate Student Housing
The GPCI provided a set of 5 year goals for the improvement of graduate student life. Since 2013, many of these goals have been met and compromises and changes have been made according to the changing graduate student and national political climate. Here is the October 2016 GPCI progress update. The highlights of this document were discussed at the October 24, 2016 GPSA meeting.
Stipend Increase of 2% for 2016-2017
The General Committee for the Graduate School which includes two graduate student members approved a 2% stipend raise for 2016-2017. Read more.
Child Care Grant Doubles
With the input of graduate students, the child care grant funding more than doubles, so that now it can provide more money to each family and include more families. Read more.
Graduate Student General Committee Voting Rights
In May 2015, the General Committee of the Graduate School at Cornell voted unanimously to change the status of the Committee’s two student members to full voting status on the General Committee. The General Committee is the governing body of the Graduate School, providing policy guidance and stipend levels recommendations among other functions. Read more. Another article.
Graduate Student Housing
The GPCI addresses both on-campus and off-campus housing for graduate and professional students. The redevelopment of the Maplewood property has provided an opportunity for graduate students to have a voice in housing. To help students living off campus, the Graduate School now works with the Off Campus Housing Office to develop information specially designed for newly admitted graduate and professional students. Graduate student representatives are participating in a University-wide committee to provide input on the redevelopment of the Maplewood property for improved access to graduate/professional student housing. Read more.