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Thursday, June 13, 2024

Before the UF Board of Trustees, the university’s highest governing body, decides whether to approve a new student fee supporting the expansion and renovation of the Reitz Union, the graduate students are going to have their say.

Members of Graduate Assistants United, a union that represents UF’s graduate assistants, are planning to speak at the Board of Trustees meeting Friday. They will protest the addition of another fee to a growing list of student fees.

Regina Martin, co-president of GAU, said an e-mail was sent out last week to more than 4,000 graduate assistants, encouraging them to come to the meeting.

“The reason graduate students are taking the lead in this is that we don’t have Bright Futures,” Martin said. “We pay all our fees.”

Martin said the Reitz Union fee would include a flat fee of $20 plus an additional fee for each credit hour the student is registered to take.

GAU co-president Allison Fundis said although graduate students plan to speak against the fee at the meeting, they are not against the renovation of the Reitz Union, which will include updating equipment like the electrical and air conditioning systems in addition to expanding the building.

“It shouldn’t be coming out of our pockets,” Fundis said.

Fundis said GAU is also encouraging undergraduate students to come and show their support.

“We don’t think that any students should be paying for this project,” she said.

Martin said close to 100 graduate students made an appearance at the Student Senate meeting before Thanksgiving, when the resolution supporting the fee was initially passed. Even though many students will have gone home after classes end Wednesday, Martin said she still expects a lot of support at the meeting.

“I hope a lot of people come out because that’s the only way we’ll be able to beat the proposed fee,” Martin said.

GAU will be speaking for about five minutes at the meeting in Emerson Hall at 10 a.m.

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