The Graduate and Professional Student Federation is the arm of student government that represents all UNC-Chapel Hill graduate and professional students. We are here to:
Advocate for improved campus and community resources to campus administrators and state and federal legislatures.
Collaborate with the university administration, faculty, staff, and undergraduate students to create policies that respond to the particular needs and interests of all graduate and professional students.
Connect graduate and professional students both socially and intellectually across disciplines.
Governance – Governing instruments and make-up of the GPSF
Senate – The Legislative branch of GPSF
Cabinet – Part of the Executive branch of GPSF.
Executive Board – Leaders of the Executive branch of GPSF.
University Committee Appointments – Who represents graduate and professional students on University Committees.
Graduate Honor Court – Judicial branch of GPSF
GPSF Archives – Past Executive Boards and Mid-term and Final Reports.
The History of GPSF
The history of the Graduate and Professional Student Federation (GPSF) begins in the late 1960s. At that time, Student Government at the University generally focused on the needs of the undergraduates, despite an increasing population of graduate and professional students. This discrepancy was especially apparent in the allocation of student fees, which primarily funded undergraduate institutions and organizations such as the Student Union. In 1968 a handful of graduate students chartered the Graduate Student Association (GSA) with hopes of addressing this inequity.
When the GSA disbanded in 1971, another organization, the Graduate Student Coordinating Committee (GSCC), quickly emerged to fill the void. In the beginning, the GSCC envisioned the creation of a new student government for graduate and professional students. After great discussion and debate with University leaders and Student Government, the GPSF emerged as a quasi-independent organization within Student Government and was allocated eight seats on the Campus Governing Council. With its position secured within Student Government, the organization called for the election of departmental officers. As intermediaries between the GPSF and the graduate students, the officers acted both as representatives and as distributors of student fees within each department.
Since its creation the GPSF has continuously fought over the allocation of student fees. In 1979, after numerous attempts by Student Government to defund the organization, an amendment was passed guaranteeing that the GPSF would receive at least 15% of the student fees paid by graduate students. Around 1995, after numerous efforts, this number was increased to 25%.
Beginning in the early 1980s, the GPSF began to address a wider range of graduate students’ needs. In 1982 the organization conducted a study to determine the feasibility of providing affordable health insurance. Then in September of 1984, it launched one of its most ambitious projects, a general survey of graduate and professional students. As Glen Macdonald, Chairman of the Commission on Graduate and Professional Student Education, explained in a 1984 memo, “Its purpose was to locate and identify major problems with the curriculum, policy and campus life from a graduate student’s perspective.” Of the 7053 surveys distributed, 1750 (25%) were returned. The responses were then tabulated and in February of 1986, the GPSF published its findings. Overall, the survey found that most students were satisfied with the education they received at UNC. Nevertheless, it also revealed numerous problems. These included a disorganized financial aid system, a lack of communication between faculty and students, inadequate access to Davis Library, a lack of child care services, and, not surprisingly, parking.