Executive and JMSB positions acclaimed in GSA election

Incoming Graduate Student Association President Daria Saryan.

The Graduate Students’ Association general elections set to take place from April 3 to 5 have attracted a record number of candidates this year.
While the three executive positions and the John Molson School of Business directors’ positions have already been acclaimed, eight candidates are running for a total of six seats in arts and science, and nine are running for the six in engineering and computer science. Also, for the first time in recent history, there will be a competition for the single fine arts seat on the council of directors with two candidates running.
According to GSA chief returning officer Roddy Doucet, there will be no ballots for the executive positions in the upcoming election with a “Yes” or “No” option because the association’s constitution stipulates that as long as one candidate is running for the position, they will automatically be acclaimed.
Many of the candidates running for council are affiliated with the elections’ sole slate, Your Voice, which took the majority of seats in last year’s election. Doucet noted that the ongoing tuition hikes debate has been a recurring theme during the campaign period.
“The primary concern is about tuition and where it’s going,” Doucet said. “A great number of our members that have come forth have put this as a centrepiece of their election campaigns.”
As for the team of executives, Daria Saryan, who helped put together the Your Voice slate, ran unopposed for president of the GSA and was automatically given the position, as was the case with the new VP internal Roya Azarm and VP external, Nadia Hausfather.
“I think we’re going to work really well together especially given that we’re all three women executives,” said Saryan. “I don’t know that this has ever happened before.”
One of Saryan’s main goals is to improve and expand on the services that the GSA offers, such as French language courses.
“The current GSA has laid the groundwork for some really great things and my goal is to keep up with what they’ve started,” she said.
Dominic Leppla, a first-year PhD student in film and moving images studies, got involved with Your Voice because of the strike and is running for fine arts director. He recently became impressed with the GSA’s ability to represent the graduate student body’s interests.
“Fine arts students are particularly affected by [tuition increases] because what fine arts students are giving society is not something you can quantify,” said Leppla. “We feel that the fight against the tuition hike is also part of larger movement, for a larger goal to protect knowledge as a public good and fight against this kind of instrumentalization and corporate mentality.”
Giulietta Di Mambro is in her first year of graduate-level translation studies and is running to be an arts and science representative on council. Having completed her first degree at Université du Québec à Montréal, Di Mambro observed a contrast in the levels of student participation in campus politics which motivated her to run for council.
“My goals are to strengthen ties between associations, facilitate better participation and better communication between associations and all graduate students,” she said.
In addition to voting on student representation, graduate students will be asked to vote on two fee levy questions. Both Le Frigo Vert and the 2110 Centre for Gender Advocacy are appealing to the graduate student body for support by asking for fee levies of $1.50 and $0.50, respectively, per semester.
The new GSA team will assume office June 1.

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