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Graduate students incorporated into ASMC as fees rise next year

Starting next semester, the Associated Students of Mills College (ASMC) will be making changes to its structure.

Changes to ASMC’s structure include increasing existing undergraduate student fees, introducing an ASMC fee to graduate tuition and integrating graduate students into full board positions, a first for the the historically undergraduate student-run government. Graduate students now will be charged a $100 ASMC fee every semester. The undergraduate ASMC charge will increase from $75 to $100 per semester. 

At the end of the last academic year, ASMC voted to amend their constitution, allowing for graduate student representation on the ASMC board. This semester the structure was formalized and all students on campus can now join pre-approved full board and executive board positions, with the goal of ASMC more accurately representing the entire student body at Mills. Cisgender men who are graduate students will now also be able to represent the graduate student population in student government.

The population of undergraduate students in ASMC will be two thirds undergraduate students and one third graduate students.  The president, vice president and public relations positions will all be held exclusively by undergraduate students, while the historian and finance chair positions can be co-run by both undergraduate and graduate students. Graduate students will be able to apply for executive board positions of the internal affairs chair, judicial chair, student services chair and academic chair. Three senate positions will be available for graduate students: health services chair, clubs and organizations chair and sustainability chair. A graduate-exclusive position, named graduate senator at-large, will also be introduced, to help ensure graduate representation.

ASMC fees for undergraduates — and now graduate students — support student run organizations, campus-wide events and student initiatives. Internal Affairs Chair Amanda Benton says that including graduate students in the ASMC board as well as increasing ASMC charges for students will be beneficial for everyone.

“Since graduate students can participate in ASMC funded events, we can now provide bigger and better events for all students,” Benton said.

Graduate students can benefit from being a voice on the board in order to implement what they want to see change on the Mills College campus. Public Relations Chair Katie Funes said that ASMC wants to represent the student body accurately and give all students the chance to represent their community.

“ASMC wants all students to have equal opportunity to have a voice,” Funes said.

ASMC has been publicizing these changes via email, student surveys and campus-wide flyers; however, not all students have been made aware of changes in ASMC or in new charges to their student accounts. Graduate student Gina Bonati is working to complete her MFA in music and did not know about graduate student representation in ASMC.

“There should be more posts about this,” Bonati said.

Junior undergraduate Emily Keller was also unaware of the increased charge and would like to see more marketing efforts to help make students more aware of what is occurring and how they can become more involved.

“Since I receive many emails every day, it would be great to see more posters and flyers. PDF files with minimal text would also help students quickly receive information,” Keller said.

Sophomore Hannah Horten filled out a survey from ASMC sent out to students last semester and voted in favor of increasing charges to student accounts and incorporating graduate students to ASMC. She noted that there could be better ways to distribute ASMC information to students to ensure awareness and delivery. Due to the additional funding ASMC will receive, Horten is looking forward to the future plans and programs that ASMC will be able to bring to Mills.

“ASMC will be able to better support student clubs and organizations as well as stick to its integral value of supporting student voices and building community,” Horten said.

On March 1, there is a mandatory meeting for all students interested in running for an ASMC position. Applications close March 3.  For any questions contact