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GSC elects 2021 executive board leadership

Graduate Student Council held first fully virtual election, candidates’ proposals impacted by pandemic

At its monthly general body meeting Wednesday, the Graduate Student Council elected its new executive board of leadership for 2021. In light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the election took place over Zoom through the use of the webinar polling function. 

GSC President Kathryn Thompson GS ran uncontested and will serve in her current position for another year. She said she hopes to continue to advocate for her fellow graduate students and build on the legacy of presidents that came before her. 

“Graduate students come first, in my mind,” she said. “We have a seat at the table, and we’re going to continue to have a seat at the table as long as I can help it. Brown University is good to us, but there are so many things that can be improved.”

Looking ahead, Thompson plans to focus on pandemic-related relief for graduate students and to secure additional mental health resources.

Current Chair of Nominations Meaghan Carley GS, a third-year Classics PhD student, was elected to the position of Vice President after running uncontested, while current Vice President of Advocacy Malcolm Thompson GS did not run for reelection.

Joe Colleyshaw GS maintained his position as GSC Chair of Finance. In his speech, he  cited his track record of efficiency and transparency in his management of the Council’s funds. He ran against Jenny Muniz Sicairos GS and Alex Jordon GS, the latter of whom went on to secure the Chair of Nominations position later in the night. During his candidacy remarks, Jordon noted that this would mark his tenth consecutive year of serving in an elected position, dating back to a post he filled in the 5th grade. 

The Chair of Communications role was filled by first-year grad student Mai Huynh GS, who also ran uncontested and will succeed current Chair Lise Milter GS. 

Chair of International Advocacy Beenish Pervaiz GS, running for re-election, spoke extensively about the work she has done in support of international graduate students. 

“These past few years, being an international student in the U.S. has been extremely hard. There are a lot of ways that you don’t feel supported, you don’t feel welcomed,” Pervaiz said. “It really demotivates you a lot. Coming from personal experience, I know how much it can have an impact on your mental health.” Pervaiz said she hopes to bring her personal experiences to bear on her future efforts to support international students.

Following Pervaiz’s statement of her position goals, Sayan Chakraborty GS, who had planned to run against her, withdrew his candidacy, saying that he thought his opponent would be better equipped for the role. Chakraborty was later elected as Chair of Student life. His would-be opponent for the Chair of Student Life position, Alex Jordon, had previously withdrawn after having already been elected to the role of Chair of Nominations.

Brielle Scuteri GS was elected as Chair of Masters Advocacy. Abudullah Rashed GS succeeded Tariq Brown GS as Chair of Social Events. Brown endorsed the position that he is vacating, telling his successor about some of its merits: “You have the largest budget of all committees, and your job is to use as much of it as possible on alcohol,” he joked. 

Chair of Technology Anders Ohman GS will retain his position for another year after running unopposed. He said that of all the executive board members, his duties have changed the least amid the global health crisis — he also spoke about the feats he has accomplished in his role, such as fixing broken links, installing security patches, and updating the GSC webpage. 

The remainder of the meeting was dedicated to updates from the executive board members. Kathryn Thompson flagged some upcoming events, including a Research in Medicine Flash Talk being held in collaboration with the Medical School Senate to create dialogue between students in the University’s graduate and medical schools.

She also noted a virtual Town Hall meeting next week with President Christina Paxson P’19, Provost Richard Locke P’18, Executive Vice President for Planning and Policy Russell Carey ’91 MA’06, Dean of the Graduate School Andrew Campbell, Vice President for Institutional Equity and Diversity Shontay Delalue and Vice President for Campus Life Eric Estes. Graduate students will have the chance to ask questions of these administrators during the event, which is taking place on Nov. 12 at 5:30 PM. 

The Graduate School will also offer a financial literacy workshop Nov. 19 to help grad students navigate any financial dilemmas associated with the conditions of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Also on the horizon are events coordinated by the Social Chair, such as weekly fitness classes and themed trivia nights. In addition, students will have the opportunity to hear from activist Angela Davis during her contribution to the GSC Distinguished Speakers’ series on Friday, Nov. 20 at 7 PM.



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