GSA Urges Students to Pass Governor’s Tax Measure

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The good news: The UC Board of Regents has approved a fee freeze, so university-wide tuition and student services fees will not be going up this year.

The bad news: The fee freeze is contingent on voters passing Gov. Jerry Brown’s tax measures this November.

“The first thing students should do as individuals is sure they and every other eligible voter they know go to the polls this November to protect the affordability of higher education in California,” said Jason Tien, president of the Graduate Students’ Association (GSA), which is the student government for the Graduate Division at UCSF.

GSA, representing the approximately 1500 students enrolled Nursing, Basic Sciences, Social & Behavioral Sciences, and Physical Therapy, currently has student representatives working at both the UCSF and statewide level to lobby against future increases in student fees.

GSA also works to improve the quality of graduate student life by advocating for graduate student interests in the UC community and by creating opportunities for social and academic networking.  GSA members serve on a number of different campus-wide committees, including Mission Bay Planning, Sports and Recreation, Sustainability, and Health Care.

This year GSA will be closely monitoring the impact of continuing budget stresses on the quality and availability of student services.

“We need to identify the services most important to students and then find funding for them,” said Tien, who is a graduate student in the UCSF Neuroscience Program.

Among its many priorities, GSA will work with administration to identify ways to provide affordable childcare solutions to students with dependents. Currently, childcare options on campus are “extravagantly expensive and are really an unrealistic option for most student parents,” said Tien.

“Given the stresses of parenthood and graduate school, we hope to find a way to reduce the financial burden on students caring for children,” he said.

Last year, the GSA alerted the administration to the dearth of quiet study spaces at Mission Bay and successfully advocated for the inclusion of a larger dedicated study/learning space in the planned future expansion of Mission Bay.

The GSA has also been working with the Graduate Division to streamline and expand conference travel funds so that students whose programs and/or mentors cannot fund their travel can apply for funding at a single website. The Graduate Division has agreed to loosen its restrictions on travel funding and will combine the application form with the GSA's conference travel application form next year.

Building Community at UCSF

One of the main goals of GSA is to cultivate a sense of community among students at UCSF.

  • GSA sponsors numerous social events throughout the year, including game nights, wine and cheese socials, voter registration drives, and movie screenings.
  • GSA organizes different academic events throughout the year, increasing opportunities to find collaborators, get scientific feedback, and prepare for a variety of careers.
  • GSA provides funds to help support Registered Student Organizations (RCOs) and student-organized events on campus.  

The GSA meets monthly to discuss student issues with faculty and administration, and to plan upcoming GSA sponsored social and academic events.  Outside of the monthly meetings, the GSA executive officers serve on university-wide and UC system-wide committees, ensuring the graduate voice is heard amongst faculty and administration.

More information on the GSA, its monthly meetings, which are open to all students, and its events can be found on the group’s website.

Students become involved with the GSA for a variety of reasons, from wanting to gain leadership skills to just wanting to meet students and administrators from across the University, according to Tien.

“Not only are you providing a valuable service to the University and fellow students, your efforts in advocacy make the campus a better place in which to work and learn,” he said.