By Todd Hardy
Arizona Daily Wildcat October 3, 1996
The long-awaited split between the UA's two student governing bodies became official Tuesday with the signing of a preliminary separation agreement.
"I have signed the document but this is an ongoing process and there is still a lot of work that needs to be done," said Alex Sugiyama, president of the Graduate and Professional Student Council.
The GPSC first began its quest for independence in March 1995 after two years as a governing body within the Associated Students of the University of Arizona.
Last summer, ASUA and GPSC agreed to split because they thought they could better serve their constituents as single entities. Representatives from both organizations met with Michael Cusanovich, vice president for research and graduate studies, and Saund ra Taylor, vice president for student affairs, to negotiate the terms of separation.
The split became official Tuesday afternoon when Sugiyama and ASUA President Rhonda Wilson signed a document describing the budgetary separation of the two organizations.
"I view the current document as a financial agreement," Sugiyama said.
The agreement transferred $62,500 from ASUA's 1996-97 budget to formally establish a separate GPSC budget.
According to the agreement, any debts incurred during the 1995-96 year by GPSC would be covered by the vice president for research and graduate studies.
Taylor said Tuesday's agreement gives GPSC and ASUA budget authority over their respective funds, however, some important details of the separation were left unresolved.
"There was so much pressure to hammer out an agreement that we separated the financial agreement from the other issues," she said.
By signing the agreement, both governments can now go on with business while they work out other aspects of the separation, Taylor said.
She said ASUA and GPSC have until Jan. 15 to negotiate an agreement on the following unresolved proposals:
- The ASUA President will speak for all UA students and coordinate with GPSC elected representatives on matters of mutual interest.
- Programs and services sponsored by ASUA will be available to all students.
- Club funding will be divided between ASUA and GPSC according to club membership. Clubs with a majority of graduate students will seek funding from GPSC.
- GPSC offices will be separate from those of ASUA and will be provided by the Graduate College.
GPSC Communications Officer Gordon Zaft said GPSC plans to move out of ASUA office space by Oct 15. He said GPSC will temporarily use offices at 1010 N. Martin Ave. until the Graduate College can provide permanent space in January.
Wilson said she is glad to reach a financial agreement because a lot of ASUA's progress has been halted by the impending split.
"Now we can do what we are supposed to do, which is represent students," she said.
Wilson said she believes ASUA and GPSC can resolve the terms of separation by the Jan. 15 deadline.