The Graduate and Professional Student Assembly held their last regular meeting of this school year and elected new officers last night at the Big Red Barn.
After the nominations, nominees made brief statements and were asked questions. Though the meeting is open to the entire Cornell community, restrictions exist on who may speak and vote.
“Only graduate or professional students may make nominations or ask questions of the candidates. Only members of the 2005-06 Assembly may vote,” said Brian Holmes grad, Sun columnist and the 2004-2005 GPSA president.
GPSA members could nominate themselves or other delegates for the positions of GPSA president, vice-president and secretary. Any graduate or professional student can be selected for the remaining positions. Tim McConnochie grad was the only nominee for GPSA president. He said improving communication between the GPSA and the administration is an important goal for next year. McConnochie also hopes to create better job placement services for graduate students, making sure they are separate from the placement services for undergraduates. He sees the role of president as the moderator for the GPSA.
“I encourage people to come to assembly meetings with ideas that are as new and wacky as possible,” McConnochie said.
Anne Beggs grad and Twisham Saha grad were the vice-presidential nominees. This position was the only contested one. The vice-president chairs the communications committee and acts as the head of the larger body of graduate and professional student representatives. Beggs spoke of her hope for improving relations between graduate students and the City of Ithaca.
“I feel like a citizen of Ithaca as well as a Cornell student,” Beggs said.
Saha, a masters student himself, feels that terminal nasters students should receive more attention from the GPSA. Beggs, a returning GPSA member, won the election.
Zuo Ming Wang grad won the position of secretary uncontested. The GPSA secretary also serves as a representative to the University Assembly, which consists of undergraduates, graduates, employees and faculty. Yu Yu grad was selected as the Chair of the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly Finance Committee. A Ph.D. candidate in the Johnson School of Management and a current member of the GPSAFC, Yu talked of plans to make funding more adequately allocated between organizations in different fields and schools. She was very excited to take on the role of GPSAFC Chair.
“I am very interested in finance committee work,” Yu said.
Al Fatale III law ’07 became the funding and policy committee chair. He spoke briefly on his desire to fill the role.
New this year, the events committee chair was won by Janet Vertesi grad. Vertesi planned the graduate and professional student ball earlier this year. She hopes to have a very active events committee and make graduate student activities a continuing trend.
“[The committee will] think about what kinds of traditions we’re starting,” Vertesi said.
Jeff Sullivan grad became the chair of the pay and benefits committee. He said that he had his “fair share of pay and benefits,” using many examples including living with a girlfriend who did not have health insurance.
The remaining positions available were for two other graduate or professional student representatives to the U.A. Gwen Curtis grad and Vertesi volunteered for the positions.
Members of the GPSA are selected from a larger body of graduate and professional student representatives, which has representative spots from every graduate field and each professional school. This larger body holds caucuses that select one member from each professional school, three graduate students in humanities fields, three in biological sciences, four in social sciences and four in physical sciences.