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Alex Jordon GS elected Graduate Student Council president

Jordon ran uncontested, GSC also elects new executive board members

Abdullah Rashed, currently chair of social events, ran uncontested for chair of student life.
Abdullah Rashed, currently chair of social events, ran uncontested for chair of student life.

Alex Jordon GS was elected president of the Graduate Student Council Wednesday evening after current GSC President Kathryn Thompson GS decided to step down after holding the role for the past two years.

Jordon, who currently serves as GSC chair of nominations, ran uncontested for the position. He will assume the presidency Jan. 1, 2022.

In his candidate speech during the Council’s general body meeting Wednesday, Jordan stated that what drew him to GSC was the Council’s ability to “turn their words into action.” He said that he has found passion in advocating for graduate students, who he feels are important to the University and “perhaps a little undervalued” at times.

Following the vote, Thompson expressed to the Council her excitement and confidence in Jordon’s fitness for the role. 

GSC also held elections for the other executive board positions for next year.

Candidates for all of the roles ran uncontested except for chair of student life, won by Abdullah Rashed GS. Rashed, currently chair of social events, said in his speech that this position would allow him to better advocate for issues he was more interested in, such as students’ mental health. Rashed expressed that he himself has “grown the most in emotional intelligence and mental health” during his time as a graduate student, and wants to make sure others also get the help and support they need.

Beenish Pervaiz GS, who is currently chair of international advocacy, was elected vice president of advocacy. Pervaiz expressed during her statement that this role would allow her to extend her passion for advocacy to students of even more diverse backgrounds. She will be succeeded in her current role by Sayan Chakraborty GS, currently chair of student life. 

The Council also elected two new members to the executive board: Teressa Chambers GS as chair of nominations and Jorden Conner Berry GS as chair of social events. Both candidates said that they had not planned on running for positions before the meeting, but were excited about taking them on after seeing the roles open. 

The current executive board members occupying the chairs of finance, communications, master’s advocacy and technology all ran for reelection uncontested. Joe Colleyshaw GS, Mai Huynh GS, Sidharth Gupta GS and Anders Ohman GS, respectively, will continue in their roles next year. 

In addition to elections, general body members voted to increase the graduate student activities fee to $40 per semester from the current amount of $32.50. The fee has stayed stagnant for the past three years in part due to considerations of financial burdens caused by COVID-19, which also prompted the Council to reduce its spending.

GSC members chose from options of increasing the fee to $40, $45 or $50, or not increasing the fee at all. The action to raise the fee to $40 garnered 15 votes. 

GSC also heard from invited speakers representing the LGBTQ Center, including Graduate Student Coordinator Sharon Cho GS and Assistant Director Caitlin O’Neill. The speakers informed the general body on ongoing programming and resources available to graduate students, including a designated graduate student lounge in the Center’s new building. 

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