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Administrators take floor at senate meeting

A discussion on the GPA requirement and the effects of its change on the Portland State student body lasted nearly 50 minutes at Wednesday’s ASPSU senate meeting.

In attendance were Provost Mary Tetrault, Vice Provost for Student Affairs Douglas Samuels and Vice Provost Terrel Rhodes.

The three guests came before the senate in an effort to explain the reason and rationale behind the push for raising the minimum GPA requirement for incoming freshmen from 2.5 to 3.0.

Samuels circulated a letter outlining the proposed change, and information on the potential benefits. Rhodes gave a 10 minute oral presentation to the senate regarding the history behind the decision, and all three guests answered questions from the senators.

The questions posed by the senate were similar to questions raised by student government officials when the issue first hit nearly three months ago.

Senators raised concerns about the effects that the proposed changes would have on access to Portland State for underrepresented groups.

The administration representatives again responded with different ideas for programs aimed at maintaining diversity at Portland State. They also produced statistics they believe support their claim that the makeup of the student body would not be greatly altered by such a change.

The discussion was informational, and official action was neither asked of nor taken by the senate.

With Wednesday’s senate meeting being the last of this session, business switched to items that had been previously addressed yet not acted upon. There is no senate meeting scheduled for next week due to campus elections, and the following week is reserved as a transitional period, after which the new group of winning candidates will begin working as senators.

This created a push to act on matters quickly. In the span of five minutes, two separate issues involving the allocation of the remaining senate budget were addressed and resolved, both resulting in funding for projects.

The first proposal was made by Senator Mark Hinz. Hinz had asked the week prior for the senate to allocate money to help offset startup expenses for Food For Thought, an organic caf퀌� that is set to open late September.

Hinz asked the senate for $2,000, so that Food For Thought could begin work before the SFC allocations arrive in July.

Hinz produced documents Wednesday showing cost estimates, and a flurry of negotiations followed. After several brief exchanges, it was moved to allocate $1,000 to Food For Thought. This was acceptable to the Hinz camp, and the measure passed.

The last piece of business was a request from Senator Demitris Desyllas for funds to bring a student from Zimbabwe to the PSU campus as a guest speaker. Desyllas estimated the student’s travel costs to be about $1,300, and asked the senate to help in paying his way. The senate approved this motion as well, and it will most likely be the last official action taken by this group of senators.

Campus-wide elections will take place from April 16 to April 18, in which a new group of senators will be chosen to lead the Portland State student body. A voter’s pamphlet and complete election guide can be found by accessing the ASPSU Web site at