May 2012

UMBC Graduate Student Association

Senate Meeting Minutes

7 May 2012



·         GSA Awards Banquet, Mon., 14 April, 5pm, AOK Library, 7th floor

o   Bring your friends, faculty, and GPD. Please dress to impress.

·         2012-2013 Award Winners:

o   GSA Senator of the Year: Jesse Fox, Biological Sciences

o   GSO of the Year: Chemistry Graduate Student Association

o   Jessica Sota Perez Award: Rachel Sturge, Biological Sciences

o   GSA Faculty Member of the Year: Dr. Jodi Crandall, LLC

o   GSA Staff Member of the Year: Ms. Drema Wentz, Coordinator Event Planning, and Conference Services

·         Spring Graduate Commencement Ceremony, Fri., 18 May, 10am-12pm, RAC

·         Graduate Student Tuition will increase effective 1 July 2012

o   For more information, please check the website:



  • Dr. Janet Rutledge, Dean of the Graduate School to discuss status and purpose of ‘Meet and Confer’
    • Dr. Rutledge discussed the history of the unionization debate within the USM. Back in the Fall 2010, a bill was introduced to the legislature to allow for unionization of GAs and adjuncts. While College Park was in support, UMBC opposed this legislation in favor of our shared governance. After the failure of the legislation, the Board of Regents developed plans to improve the conditions for grad students and adjuncts. Specifically, UMBC updated the GA handbook, required all contract letters to have all the relevant info, and required all GAs be evaluated every 1-2 years.
    • The Subcommittee for GA affairs was developed as part of this plan. It is supposed to be a direct link between GAs and the administration. In the future, it will have to be elected from all the GAs at UMBC.
    • New legislation for unionization was introduced and subsequently withdrawn in this past legislative session. Because of this, USM has decided to move forward with the intermediary step of ‘meet and confer’.
    • Meet and confer is a human resources term that is in between unionization and no unionization. Any group, e.g., GSA, could ask to have an advisory role person present during negotiations with the administration. However, the negotiations would not be binding as with typical union negotiations.
    • UMBC has not wanted to unionize because we think shared governance works. We have 5 Senates, and GSA is one of those 5 that has a say in administrative decisions on campus. In addition, GSA typically meets with the President and the Provost on a regular basis.
    • In Fall 2012, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) will advise UMCP as to the possibility of unionizing. The trial will begin with UMCP for GAs and with adjunct faculty at UMUC. The AFT will likely not make it to UMBC for 1 or 2 years.
    • In the meantime, UMBC needs to formalize the GA subcommittee—it will need to be voted for by all the GAs. Rules are in the process of being formalized that would require 51% of GAs to vote for unionization for it to be valid. Also, since GAs are a relatively transient population, there would be the possibility to revote every couple of years.
    • Q&A with Dr. Rutledge:
      1. What will the GA subcommittee do?
        • It will serve in an ombudsman-type role, assisting the administration. Also, it will help Shepard the process for the full development of meet and confer when AFT comes to campus.
      2. What exactly is meet and confer?
        • It is a hybrid, an intermediary step between shared governance and unionization. A meet and confer representative would assist the GS subcommittee.
    • Dr. Rutledge informed the GSA Senate that the GA Handbook has recently been updated and that we can see the final result on the website. Most changes have been made for the benefit of GAs.


Old Business

  • Approval of Senate Meeting Minutes: April Meeting Minutes were approved by full Senate.


New Business

  • Elections for GSA Executive Board for 2012-2013
    • Each candidate read his/her 200-word statement to the Senate, after which the Senators were given a chance to question the candidate. The candidate was then asked to leave the room and the Senate voted for each position. Only one candidate was running for each position. Their names and the results of the Senate vote is listed below:
      • President, Doaa Rashed, PhD student in LLC (31 Yes, 0 No, 1 Abstention)
      • VP, Jesse Fox, PhD student in Biological Sciences (35 Yes, 0 No, 0 Abstentions)
      • VP for External Affairs, Samuel Haile, PhD Candidate in Biological Sciences (36 Yes, 0 No, 0 Abstentions)
      • Treasurer, Patricia Abete, PhD student in Biological Sciences (34 Yes, 0 No, 2 Abstentions)
      • Historian, Ian Brown, PhD student in LLC (34 Yes, 0 No, 2 Abstentions)


  • GSO Presentations on Noteworthy GSO-sponsored Activities
    • Math and Stat GSA, Paula Borrego
      • MSGSA aims to productively channel grad student concerns and generate a welcoming environment for students to interact with their peers.
      • To this end, MSGSA works to help students by providing copies of old comprehensive exams and old syllabi, so they can better prepare for their coursework and exams. In addition, they attempted, albeit unsuccessfully, to move the grad student seminar from the morning to the afternoon by petitioning the faculty.
      • To foster a supportive environment, the group holds monthly pizza meetings where grad students have a chance to address their grievances. Also, at these meetings older students who are more familiar with the department often discuss particular topics (e.g. how to pick an advisor, how to budget and plan a conference) that will aid the newer students.
      • At the end of each semester, the group also hosts a Holiday Party in the Game Room (Fall) and an off campus picnic (Summer).
      • The group has found the creation of a closed Facebook group to be a good means to keep in touch with students and alumni, which is helpful for networking and hearing about conferences.


    • Women in Science and Engineering (WISE), Sarah Bass
      • Typically, WISE tries to organize one big event each semester and then has smaller meetings just for members on a more regular basis.
      • Last semester, WISE cosponsored a screening of the documentary Miss Representation, and this semester, they are holding a Center for Women in Technology, Spring into Leadership event.
      • For their smaller meetings, they usually do some science-themed game and dinner night. These meetings are a good chance for women in STEM field to interact with each other.
      • Additionally, to get the word out about the organization, they had WISE pins made that they can hand out at their events.


  • Meyerhoff GSA, Shauna Pollard and Peter Mercredi, proposal before Senate to form new GSA
    • The Meyerhoff fellowship is an academic fellowship open to minority students and students interested in fostering diversity in STEM fields.
    • They currently hold scientific meetings once a month; however, they would like to have more activities for members.
      • Already, they have begun a peer-mentoring program, which was started last year. They also hold social events in the summer and fall, such as Oriole’s game night.
    • The Senate voted to approve the new Meyerhoff GSA by a vote of 28 Yes, 0 No, and 0 Abstentions.
  • GSA Summer Events Committee Report, Lathiena Manning, Biological Sciences and Joel Coley, Astrophysics
    • GSA holds events every summer, and we have a certain amount budgeted for these summer events. This report by the subcommittee is simply to inform the Senate of the status of the planning for Summer 2012.
    • The committee has researched and decided upon 4 potential summer activities to be sponsored by GSA. The actual events we end up holding will depend upon the actual cost, once all the details have been finalized.
      • Duckpin Bowling at Patterson Bowling Center, Baltimore, MD
        • This is an historic bowling alley.
        • We would rent the entire floor of 6 lanes, with 6 people per lane for 36 total participants.
      • Terrapin Adventures at Savage Mill, Savage, MD
        • At Terrapin, we would be able to do a combination of high ropes challenge courses, the Terrapin tower, zipline, and other adventuresome events.
        • The exact number of participants would be dependent upon pricing, and slots would be made available on a first-come, first-served basis.
      • Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Presents the Music of Michael Jackson, Pier Six, Inner Harbor, Thurs, 26 July 12
        • The exact number of participants would be dependent upon pricing, and slots would be made available on a first-come, first-served basis.
      • Orioles Game, Camden Yards, Baltimore, MD
        • We could accommodate approximately 40 students; likely, we would try to coordinate with SEB, so that there would be a large UMBC contingent at the game.
      • Artscape, 20-22 July (
        • This is America’s largest free art’s festival. Since it is free, GSA would not need to sponsor the event. However, GSA would be willing to provide support to help organize carpools to downtown or to the BWI Light rail station.


·         No issues were brought up during the open floor, and the meeting was adjourned.

Umbc GSA,
May 22, 2012, 11:48 AM