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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Grad council vote: the numbers game

    As the week-long Graduate Professional Student Council elections begin today, differences between the graduate council and their undergraduate counterparts are not hard to find.

    For one, the graduate elections will see fewer sad faces when the results are announced next Friday night, as only three of the 21 candidates will be left on the outside looking in.

    Unlike the Associated Students of the University of Arizona, GPSC elects its officials via individual colleges based on each college’s student population.

    “”It gives us a much more diverse group of people to gauge what’s happening within the community,”” said GPSC President Stephen Bieda. “”I would still strongly favor proportional representation versus a set number of people to try to represent a whole group.””

    Of the 18 units with GPSC tie-ins, four UA colleges – Agriculture and Life Sciences, Eller College of Management, Medicine and Public Health – have no electoral candidates, while the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences and non-degree seeking students have more open seats than candidates.

    Presidential Candidate David Talenfeld and Vice Presidential Candidate David Lopez-Negrete – both from the College of Law – are running unopposed, as are three at-large candidates and nine college representative candidates.

    In fact, only the Colleges of Engineering, Humanities and Sciences are holding contested elections with more candidates than available seats.

    “”Unfortunately, it’s not as contested as we had hoped it would be,”” Bieda said. “”But it’s definitely a lot higher than last year.””

    The 2008 GPSC elections saw just 16 candidates and a 5 percent voter turnout. The current elections are expected to garner a 10 to 15 percent voter turnout, due to a higher level of student interest because of the current statewide budget crisis, Bieda said.

    Also in opposition to ASUA candidates and their recently concluded elections, GPSC candidates are not promising the addition of several programs. Instead, the graduate candidates are stressing fiscal responsibility and holding the UA administration accountable, he added.

    “”The most common platforms focus on the quality of education, as well as potential benefits teaching and research assistants and associates will be keeping or losing as a result of the campus fee hikes and tuition hikes,”” Bieda said.

    Budget could affect future elections

    Graduate Professional Student Council officials may not want to get too used to their current format, as certain aspects of it could change in the face of the UA Transformation Plan.

    Since graduate student government representation is based on student population within individual colleges, the consolidation and alteration of colleges could change the number of representatives for some colleges, while others go on without official representatives.

    “”Right now, since the process has not finalized, we are keeping a very close eye on that situation, because it will also determine how many constituent students we have within each unit,”” said GPSC President Stephen Bieda.

    GSPC will pay special attention to changes such as the newly formed College of Letters, Arts and Sciences. However, the colleges within the “”super college”” will probably continue with their current format of electing graduate representatives, since the colleges will stay intact under a single executive dean, he added.

    Colleges that actually combine, though, may require a more tricky solution that could extend to the following election and could result in less-focused representation, as representatives are determined by their specific colleges, Bieda said.

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