GPSA Votes to Support Students Affected By the Executive Order on Immigration, Supports Reform of Graduate Faculty Definitions

The Graduate and Professional Student Association approved two resolutions at its most recent meeting. The first was related to the recent Executive Order by President Trump that restricts entrance to the United States for citizens from seven countries. This order impacts more than 200 students and an untold number of students’ families. The GPSA urges the university to takes all steps necessary to protect theses students interests.

Additionally, after extensive feedback from graduate students and academic administrators, the GPSA voted to support a change to the policy distinguishing between research and professional graduate faculty. We believe that Penn State’s policy is unnecessarily rigid.

Here’s the Daily Collegian article from the meeting: http://www.collegian.psu.edu/news/campus/article_952adbca-e8eb-11e6-9326-d31ff02240ff.html

Here is the text from the two resolutions:

Resolution 66-08: Support for Reform of Graduate Faculty Definitions
Resolution 66-09: Call for Support to the Students Affected By the Executive Order on Immigration

President Barron Announces Smoke-Free Campus Task Force, Includes GPSA Representation

President Eric Barron recently announced the formation of a task-force to explore smoke-free campus options at Penn State. Matt Krott is GPSA’s representative, and you can reach him at  mjk5358@psu.edu. Here is the full press release from Penn State News:

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State President Eric Barron has appointed a 17-member task force to explore options for making Penn State a smoke-free/tobacco-free University.

“Making Penn State a smoke-free/tobacco-free university has been discussed with increasing frequency over the years, and I’m pleased to now appoint a task force to examine the issue in detail and make recommendations,” Barron said. “Smoke-free initiatives have been supported more and more nationwide, and the results of student-led efforts here demonstrate the need to evaluate our own policies. The health of our faculty, staff and students is a top priority for the University.”

Over the past 16 years, Penn State student body governments have been exploring smoke-free possibilities. In March 2016, the University Park Undergraduate Association (UPUA) released a Campus Smoking Policy report that reviewed current policies, surveyed undergraduate students and evaluated other peer universities’ policies.

Nine of the 14 Big Ten schools have tobacco- or smoke-free policies, according to the report.

In October 2016, the University Faculty Senate approved a motion recommending the University form a task force to look into options for implementing a policy to make Penn State smoke-free.

“Tobacco is the leading cause of preventable deaths in our country,” said College of Nursing Dean Paula Milone-Nuzzo, who will chair the Smoke-Free/Tobacco-Free University Task Force. “This task force is one of the many initiatives the University is engaged in to improve the health of this community.”

Task force members are:

  • Salah Almokadem, assistant professor and physician in the College of Medicine
  • Renee Borromeo, senior instructor of physical therapy at Penn State Mont Alto and Faculty Senate Committee on Faculty Benefits chair
  • Steven Branstetter, associate professor of biobehavioral health in the College of Health and Human Development
  • Ionut (John) Ilie, facilities coordinator for the Office of the Vice President for Information Technology and University Staff Advisory Council chair
  • JeanMarie Jacob, assistant director for Client Services Management at World Campus and University Staff Advisory Council chair-elect
  • Matt Krott, Graduate and Professional Student Association (GPSA) representative
  • Mukund Kulkarni, Penn State Harrisburg chancellor
  • Linda LaSalle, associate director of educational services for University Health Services
  • Rachel Miller, Council of Commonwealth Student Governments (CCSG) chief of staff
  • Paula Milone-Nuzzo, dean of the College of Nursing
  • Charlie Noffsinger, assistant vice president for University Police and Public Safety
  • Heather Robbins, manager of News and Media Relations in the Office of Strategic Communications
  • Susan Rutan, senior director of labor and employee relations in the Office of Human Resources
  • Robert Segura, assistant director of Environmental Health and Safety in the Office of Physical Plant
  • Alex Shockley, University Park Undergraduate Association (UPUA) speaker of assembly
  • Gregory Stoner, senior director of compensation and benefits in the Office of Human Resources

A second Faculty Senate representative will be added to task force membership soon.

The task force will be meeting consistently starting in January and will provide recommendations to Barron and the wider community upon completion.