Arkansas State University’s Graduate Student Council was established to be the voice of the graduate student body in a shared governmental program in 2004-2005. Since the creation, the GSC has successfully petitioned the administration to grant tuition waivers to Doctoral Students and Candidates. In 2006, the GSC was identified as a constituency group in the Shared Governance of ASU-Jonesboro along with the Student Government Association, Staff Senate, Faculty Senate, Dean’s Council, and Chairs Council. Furthermore, the GSC has petitioned for tuition waivers associated with Graduate Assistant Positions at the Master’s level, pending appropriate funding levels, orchestrated the first Graduate Student Scholars Day, and successfully disputed a disproportionate tuition increase (7.5% for graduate students, 6.0% for undergraduates) to match the proposed undergraduate increase.
Historically, the Graduate Student Council (GSC) at ASU-J has functioned sporadically and with little impact on campus life. A common, but unsubstantiated, explanation lies in the transient nature and varied scheduling demands placed upon this contingent of the student body. Since January 2011, the GSC has regained momentum and made significant strides toward improving the graduate student experience and has earned the privilege to present our concerns, discuss alternatives, and work toward a more functional structure and funding scheme.
As GSC is a solution-oriented governmental body representing the graduate student, in the Spring of 2011, the Graduate Student Council decided to come up with a strategic plan in an attempt to provide the GSC with continuity of purpose, stabilize the GSC’s activities and campaigns. There were many meetings with Interim Chancellor Dan Howard, Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Rick Stripling and all of the SGOC constituencies to rectify the misconceptions of the GSC’s purpose at ASU – Jonesboro. By the end of the academic spring term of 2011, the GSC has obtained office space across from the Graduate School, and as well as obtaining a minuscule amount of funding to support the graduate students travel and research needs.
The Graduate Student Council currently functions as both an effective voice for the often underrepresented graduate students as well as an active partner in the continuous improvement of the ASU-Jonesboro Campus. However, the current (2011) membership of the Graduate Student Council ardently believes the continued effectiveness of this organization is undermined by an overall lack of support from the administration. This can be read in the signed resolution that is located in the April 6th 2011 minutes in the archives.