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Graduate students feel the University is invading their privacy. A policy recently implemented by the administration prohibits any sexual relations among members of the University community who have a faculty-student relationship. This includes graduate students, who often serve as teaching assistants. But members of the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly are not taking the decision lying down. At Wednesday night's GAPSA meeting, the body passed a resolution opposing the new policy. GAPSA Vice Chairperson Alex Welte, who wrote the resolution, said it is unfair for the University to prohibit any relationships, regardless of whether they affect interactions in the classroom. "I think that's absolutely outrageous," he said. The resolution rejects the University's interference into consensual relationships, stating that "legislating against sex per se is a serious invasion of privacy." GAPSA Chairperson and Wharton MBA student Victor Prince said the body is hoping to influence the way the new consensual sex policy is implemented. "The policy is out there," he said. "But we just wanted to make sure [the administration] understands that there are issues they have to keep in mind while they do this." Also at the meeting, the body discussed the effects national financial aid cuts will have on graduate students. Late last month, Prince, as a member of the National Association of Graduate and Professional Students, lobbied Congress on the issue of financial aid cuts. The group opposes cuts to student loans. GAPSA voted to pass a resolution giving campus support to the nationwide lobbying effort. And Prince also received executive board support to sign a letter to President Clinton "to help him stay firm in opposing federal cuts to aid." This was also part of the national association's initiatives. GAPSA also unanimously passed a resolution expressing its appreciation to the University comptroller's office, the University payroll office and the Graduate Student Associations Council Tax Committee. According to Price, last year the city of Philadelphia decided to tax student stipends in an effort to raise more money. This 100 percent tax affected many graduate students and teaching assistants, who were "not a group that could afford to be taxed." The Office of the Comptroller and the payroll office lobbied city government, and as a result the tax was reduced to only 50 percent. "So we got half a cake, but it is better than losing the whole cake," Prince said. GAPSA also discussed the graduate school happy hours, which have been well-received by students, attracting more than 500 people on average. "They have really caught on," Prince said. "They are really the only chance for graduate students to get together in one place and know that other graduate students will be there." The next happy hour is tonight at The Gold Standard from 5 to 8 p.m.

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