University News

UCS condemns federal budget sequester

The sequester would cut federal student financial aid, making Brown unaffordable for some

By
Thursday, February 14, 2013

The Undergraduate Council of Students will send Congress a statement formally declaring its opposition to the federal sequester and its consequences for students.

The statement, drafted by UCS Treasurer Sam Gilman ’15, asserts the council’s disapproval of the federal sequester’s 6 percent cut in federal financial aid for students. The sequester could cut across the board federal spending. It was originally slated to take effect January but has since been pushed back to March.

“A 6 percent cut in student aid equates to a complete loss in educational opportunities for more than 100,000 students and millions more will lose a significant portion of their aid,” the statement reads in part. “It will force students to pay for (Congress’) inability to comprise.”

Gilman presented his idea for the statement to the council at last week’s general body meeting, where it was met with general agreement. The council approved the motion to send the statement to Congress without objections.

“This is an issue that affects so many Brown students. So many Brown students are on financial aid,” said Kyra Mungia ‘13, UCS communications chair, in support of the statement.

Council members’ concerns about the statement centered on style. Many UCS members suggested making grammatical modifications. Only Maahika Srinivasan ’15, UCS Corporation liaison, proposed altering the statement’s content by cutting the phrase “People should always come before politics” because of its politically charged tone.

“So any input other than grammar?” said UCS President Anthony White ’13.

Sazzy Gourley ’16, UCS general body member, asked whether other schools were producing similar statements.

White said he believes schools in the University of California system have also publicized their disapproval of the federal sequester. He added that he plans on sending Brown’s statement to peer institutions to solicit their support.

“Is this statement going on the website? I feel like students don’t really go on the UCS website,” said Malikah Williams ’16, UCS general body member.

The statement will be publicized on both the council’s website and Facebook page, White said.

Besides discussing the statement opposing the federal sequester, UCS also reacted to Dean of the Faculty Kevin McLaughlin’s P’12 presentation of the Committee on Faculty Retention, Recruitment and Development’s interim report.

The committee will advocate providing more time for faculty members to conduct research, promoting a diverse faculty and ensuring faculty members’ salaries remain competitive with those at peer institutions, McLaughlin said.

In addition, the committee recommends professors on sabbatical receive full-time pay instead of 75 percent pay, McLaughlin said.

Council members saw negative consequences of giving faculty members more time to conduct research. Additional time for research could detract from time spent advising students, said Todd Harris ’14, UCS general body member. It could also make faculty members less available to teach courses, said Gregory Chatzinoff ’15, UCS-UFB liaison.

“At Brown especially, advising is part of teaching,” McLaughlin said. “if you can bring in interesting visiting faculty while faculty are away doing research, that actually can be better for students.”

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