President Powers addresses graduate students

Nicole Cobler

In front of a crowd of graduate students Wednesday, President William Powers Jr. acknowledged a $96 million per year budget cut has slowed the University down.

Powers assured the group — convened for the first Graduate Student Assembly meeting of the semester — that all increases in graduate tuition have gone back to graduate students.

“It’s a big concern, and one of the challenges we cannot fall through [on],” Powers said. “We do give tuition waivers, but most departments are trying to be more strategic on how they use them.” Tuition wavers at many universities are also included for teaching assistants and researchers.

David Villarreal, communications director for GSA, said the meeting was his first time seeing Powers in person in his five years at the University. He said he hopes people realize how much the GSA can do on campus.

“We’re often just seen as workers in the background and in many ways taken for granted,” Villarreal said.

The Graduate School at the University is home to 13,000 students. Columbia Mishra, Graduate Student Assembly president, said the assembly’s goal is to make it easier for graduate students to interact with each other.

Powers addressed GSA on his thoughts about graduate education at the University.

“We really do take seriously the input you all give us,” Powers said. “You all bring our attention to some very important things and shape the trajectory of the University.”

Villarreal said GSA’s biggest goal that was met during the fall semester was the Graduate Student Exit Survey.

The survey was an initiative created by GSA to assess the University’s strengths and areas for improvement to help graduate students be successful.