2017 GPSC Research Award Winners


GPSC would like to thank everyone who submitted an application for the 2017 GPSC Research Award! The competition was stiff with 83 proposals reviewed, six applicants were chosen! Congratulations to the following graduate and professional students selected:

  • James O’Donoghue
  • Hannah Giang
  • Gabriel Torrelba
  • Sudip Pandey
  • Lindsey Roberts
  • Justin D’Agostino

To celebrate their achievements and dedication to excellent research the Graduate School Dean, Dr. Yueh-Ting Lee, and GPSC will honor them at the GPSC Research Award Ceremony on April 25th at 7pm in the Hall of Presidents (located on the first floor of Morris Library).

Tyranny Unexplained and Unhinged; the student trustee process



Student Government exists to be the voice for students, advocating for student interest, representing their views to the Administration. While the interest of the Administration and students often align, there are times when they diverge. Case in point – the Administration may have a preferred candidate for specific elected student positions, who is more wiling to toe the Administration line,in contradiction of student opinion and thought. In order to ensure students are adequately represented, in a student-centered manner, student government serves that purpose. In essence, we as student government speak truth to power.

That is why it is imperative for the Administration of any institution of higher education to be as hands off from the processes of student government as possible. In order for students to trust their elected representatives, the administration cannot and should not be seen as meddling in student government affairs. Otherwise, we look like puppets or mouthpieces of an, at times, competing constituency.

To this end, the Graduate and Professional Student Council (GPSC) updated Student Trustee Election Guidelines that put the power of appeals for said elections in the hands of students, not Administrators. When the Undergraduate Student Government leadership and senior officials in the Office of Student Affairs rejected this concept, GPSC agreed to a compromise that would transfer appeal authority to representatives from Faculty Senate and Graduate Council, bodies that would be seen as neutral between the undergraduate and graduate/professional student constituencies.

On Tuesday, the chairs of Graduate Council and Faculty Senate agreed that representatives from their respective bodies would serve in an appeal capacity for Student Trustee Elections and was communicated to all parties earlier today. In spite of this development, the Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs chose to unilaterally upend the reasonable compromise between the Administration, GPSC, and USG. In a message sent to the GPSC President, VC Stettler claimed supreme authority to override the workings of student government and decided to approve drafted, not yet agreed to guidelines that would normally need approval from the heads of both student government bodies at SIU Carbondale.

Such a power grab is exactly the behavior we hope students would not model in the real world. This, in light of the fact that GPSC met with VC Stettler prior to Spring Break to get the revised guidelines approved in a timely manner. The Vice Chancellor’s rationale, “Time is of the essence,” falls flat given the effort of GPSC to produce guidelines that represent the best interest of students broadly, regardless of their classification at the beginning of March.

GPSC will not participate in a process that does not represent our constituency and will not recognize a Student Trustee that is selected from the aforementioned process.  We firmly believe these actions violate state law and the Board of Trustees’ Charter requiring the election of a student trustee through a campus-wide, STUDENT-led and driven election. The actions taken by VC Stettler are in contradiction with what the Carbondale campus has long established qualifies as a campus-wide student election. We ask the Administration to stand down, allow student government to do its work, and run a student trustee election that we all can be proud of with procedures made by and for students. The Administration’s unwillingness to do so represents tyranny and such action will not go quietly into the night.

From the Executive Officers of the Graduate and Professional Student Council

SURVEY: Graduate and Professional Students Do Not Attend Student Programming Council Events


Last semester, the Fee Allocation Board (FAB) of the Graduate and Professional Student Council (GPSC) conducted a survey to measure graduate and professional student’s participation in campus activities. In addition, the survey asked graduate and professional students whether more resources should be allocated to GPSC to support events and programming targeted to graduate and professional students.

“We want to thank the 294 graduate and professional students who took part in our first survey,” said Willie Lyles, III, Vice President for Administrative Affairs and Chair of the FAB for GPSC. “GPSC made this issue a top priority at the beginning of the year and this survey is proof of progress,” said Brandon Woudenburg, President of GPSC. “This survey informs what we already knew. Graduate and professional students are not participating in activities sponsored by the Student Programming Council (SPC) and don’t feel included in such programming,” said Lyles.

Students were asked, “Would you say non-educational school events are more for undergraduate students?” 82% of respondents answered yes. Only 17.24% answered no. When asked which events student center events and activities do graduate and professional students regularly attend a plurality stated “I do not attend student center events or activities” (43.82%). The “Sunset Concert Series” was the second top vote getter at 33.92%. Movie night came in third, 24.03%.

Graduate and professional students generally attend departmental events or lectures, 42.76% and 18.28% respectively. These students attend aforementioned programming because it helps to advance their academic and/or professional pursuits. (see Question 10)

“A majority of students who took the survey were either somewhat or very dissatisfied with how student activity fees are spent. We found strong support for a greater portion of student activity fees being allocated to GPSC to support conferences, guest lectures, and the like,” said Lyles. Almost 90% of students who took the survey wanted a reallocation of the student activity fee for programming they attend.

“Graduate and professional students are very engaged on campus through their participation in student clubs or organizations. GPSC supports the events of graduate and professional students but our ability to do so has been constrained by the decrease in enrollment. We currently have $1,800 to fund such events for the rest of the year. A reallocation of the student activity fee to GPSC would allow us to do more for our constituency. This is the message we intend to take to Administration,” said Lyles.

Click here to view the entire survey.

By the Numbers

  • The student activity fee is currently $46.48.
  • SPC receives 17.21% of the fee.
  • Campus safety, child care operations, and fine arts receive a combined 42.77% of the fee.
  • $18.60 goes to support GPSC, USG, and support staff. Out of this, GPSC receives 20.5% based on the number of graduate and professional students paying fees.

Participate in the Diversity Survey TODAY!!!


Please take a few minutes to complete the following confidential survey asking about your views and experiences related to diversity on campus.



Your input will help ensure that the plan reflects the needs of every student regardless of race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, or ability or disability. Again, your responses are completely anonymous. Please complete the survey by FEB. 3 in order to be sure your voice is heard.

If you have questions about the survey or technical issues as you complete it, please contact the Office of Institutional Diversity.

2017 GPSC Research Award

As a service to the graduate and professional students we serve, the Graduate and Professional Student Council (GPSC) annually gives out research awards to deserving graduate and professional students to aid in their particular field of study. Awards can be used for travel to support research, to purchase equipment and supplies, or any combination thereof. Award applications are initially vetted by an independent panel of graduate and professional students. During the 2016 cycle, awards were given up to $1,000! Will you be a winner this year?

Apply for this year’s research award at the link below.


Applications are due by Monday, April 3. If you have any questions, contact GPSC at gpsc@siu.edu or (618) 536-7721. May the odds ever be in your favor.

Submit Your Abstract for the Graduate and Professional Students Creative Activities Research Forum (GPCARF)

The Graduate and Professional Students Creative Activities Research Forum will be held on April 4, 2017. This event is to acknowledge, enrich, and support the research and creative activities of all graduate and professional students at SIU from all disciplines. Abstract submissions are due on or before February 28, 2017. For more questions, please contact CURCA at Curca@siu.edu or call 453-4433, or stop by at our office in the Student Services Building, Room 126.

Chancellor Colwell Joins GPSC Tuesday!!

GPSC will be meeting Tuesday, November 1, at 7:00 PM in the Student Center, Third Floor, Activity Room D. Chancellor Colwell will be present for our meeting, taking questions from student government leaders. In addition, GPSC will consider a fee presentation from the Student Legal Assistance Program. Join us for this conversation!

Board of Trustees has prepared a draft Strategic Improvement Plan

In last week’s System Connection provided that the  Board of Trustees has prepared a draft Strategic Improvement Plan that is currently available for review and comment.

We have posted the plan on our websites September news link. The Board is open to any thoughts you and/or our constituency group (Graduate and Professional Students) may have—and all comments received will be aggregated and presented to the Trustees in their entirety and without editing.

Additionally, if you feel it would be beneficial to your constituency organization and would like to have President Dunn come and speak to GPSC for further explanation and discussion of the Plan, he is happy to do such.  If so, please send an email to gpsc@siu.edu

Any written comments can be provided to me (pkeith@siu.edu), Board Secretary Misty Whittington (mistyw@siu.edu), President Dunn (rdunn@siu.edu) or by hard copy to our offices at the Stone Center (1400 Douglas Drive, MC6801, Carbondale, IL  62901).  The Board would like to receive all comments in time for their next regular meeting on December 8.

Good luck on your exams!

Campus Community,

As Student Government representatives, we are being asked now what we are doing to combat this climate of racism and intolerance. The answer is, quite honestly, not enough: we at GPSC recognize and share the frustrations of the students and as student government, we have a responsibility to engage with these issues.

Our taskforce on diversity and inclusion policy has been prevented from providing input on diversity policy. We have not seen any diversity policy emerge from the administration with exception of the attempt last semester by several faculty and staff to generate a “diversity plan,” without reaching out to those who would be most affected by it: the students.

Immediately upon receiving this preliminary diversity plan, we reached out to President Dunn to verify its authenticity and voice our displeasure at not being consulted in its drafting. It is our position that any plan to address issues of diversity and inclusion must include the voices of the students, not just the faculty. As a result of our concern, the plan was pulled and conversations to draft another have been limited, and perhaps forgotten, in light of other issues such as the budget crisis.

GPSC has representation on the Affirmative-Action Advisory Committee, a committee formed of faculty and staff which aims to advise the administration on issues of affirmative action as it affects the Carbondale campus. This committee has not met during the 2015-16 academic year, despite repeated requests by student government to convene the committee so that we can begin the hard work of dealing with these issues in a proactive way, as opposed to a reactive way. It is our position that the failure to convene this committee has directly contributed to the current campus climate.

In light of the steadily worsening climate of racism and intolerance on our campus, GPSC will do whatever is in our power to be proactive rather than reactive to these important issues. The time is now to engage the issues facing not just the Black students on our campus, but all of our diverse students and underrepresented groups.

Further, we demand that a diversity action plan committee be called, with the charge of drafting a campus wide diversity action plan, which must include the input of those most affected by the plan: the students. For the campus to go this long without a plan that enables the campus to address these issues as they arise, and take steps to prevent them, is inexcusable. In order to ensure the safety and security of all students, graduate, professional, and undergraduate, we call upon the administration, and ourselves, to take up this difficult task so that everyone will not only be accepted, but welcomed on campus.

Finally, as one constituency group that represents the student body, we invite you to make your voices heard make us accountable for where we have failed to address those issues closest to you. Student Government cannot function effectively without input from the students it represents, all of them, regardless of race, gender expression, sexuality, or ability status. We would therefore like to invite all students to attend our Town Hall meeting April 27th 5:30 p.m. in the John C. Guyon Auditorium to express your frustrations and work collaboratively with us to resolve this situation. We, your student government, can do better, and will do better.

We also call for everyone on May 2, whether you attend or teach classes, to wear a #noracism shirt, provided by GPSC, or a black shirt to let everyone know the Salukis will not stand for racism and intolerance on our campus. For safety purposes, and due to upcoming final exams there will BE no event attached to this call for action.

GPSC Statement