By Zach Thomas
Arizona Daily Wildcat
One of GPSC's main proposals for graduate student programs was declared legally impossible last week due to state laws governing misuse of state funds.
POD, the proposed ASUA Professional Opportunities Development for graduate students, would allow individuals to attend academic conferences by providing travel funding and expenses.
The graduate college already provides similar funding, but with the stipulation that students must present research at the conference.
"It would encourage masters and Ph.D. students to get involved in the conference process before having to present," said Melanie Ayers, Graduate and Professional Student Council president.
However, use of state funds for individual gain is a felony under Arizona state law.
"Legally, you can't transfer state dollars to someone's personal gain with no direct reflection on the university," said Benjamin Driggs, Associated Students President.
The graduate college avoids the problem by stipulating that participants present.
Michael Proctor, a university attorney, discussed the proposal with Driggs, Ayers and Jim Drnek, ASUA adviser, in a meeting last week and proposed some solutions to the problem.
Instead of funding individuals directly, the money could be routed through club funding, as the law in question does not apply to groups.
"I think they'll be able to develop a program with graduate clubs and program funding," Drnek said.
Ayers said POD monies may also be routed directly through GPSC.
"If GPSC/ASUA puts these events on, then we get around the liability issue," Driggs said. "Mike Proctor felt that this would cover us much better."
The second part of POD, which will fund speakers on campus, was not problematic, but is still in limbo while the other problems are being resolved.
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