GSC certifies election results and concludes unprecedented year
The Graduate Student Council (GSC) certified the results of Monday’s general election, setting the stage for the student government to transfer power to the next legislature. Wednesday night’s meeting was the last of the current board before the new board is sworn in next week.
Certification follows a historically low participation rate in all fields, and in particular among the graduate student body. The record turnout among the graduate student voter population, which fell to between five and seven percent for ballot amendments, was also responsible for the failure of general constitutional amendments – six of which exceeded the margin two-thirds needed to ratify but failed. to achieve the quorum of 15% of undergraduate and graduate students.
Additionally, the 8.73% turnout in the CGC elections took into account the election of five registered candidates – one-third of the board – each of whom received fewer than five votes.
The GSC has struggled to gain visibility within the graduate student community, an issue exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It’s hard for the graduate population to know what the GSC is doing over the course of an academic year,” said Advisor Brooks Benard, fourth-year doctorate in cancer biology. Student. “When it is a distant year, it is even more difficult to interact with the GSC in this way.”
Without the typical social interactions between the GSC and the student body, which raises awareness of the work of the council, motivation to vote might be diminished, Benard added.
The certification of results has accelerated the transition of power to the new board next week, which will serve in a “new era of Stanford that has a lot of potential to be very transformative,” according to outgoing GSC co-chair Will Paisley ’20 MA’ 21. The certification received seven favorable votes and four abstentions from the councilors who were re-elected to the SGC.
Advisor Sanna Ali, fourth year doctoral student in communication. the student who ran for re-election without opposition voted in favor of certification of the results. The certification verifies that the results are valid and correct.
“By certifying the election results, we are endorsing the will of the people and saying that the elections were conducted in a fair and equitable manner,” said Kari Barclay, outgoing GSC co-chair and fifth-year doctoral student in theater and performance. .RE. Student.
Still, several unanswered questions remain as to who will occupy some of the seats on the next board. Within the School of Education, two candidates equally registered for the seat with two votes each. Barclay said the two candidates have contacted the SGC and expressed their willingness to share the seat. However, there is no precedent for two councilors sharing a seat, and the council has not come to a decision on whether this option will be exercised or even legal.
A newly elected candidate, fourth year PhD in Bioengineering and Biomedical Engineering. student Camilo Ruiz, tried to withdraw his candidacy but missed the deadline and stayed on the ballot. Barclay said if Ruiz drops out, one of the tied candidates in the School of Education may be able to fill the vacant board seat. The current council will decide on the equality before the swearing-in of the councilors.
It is also unclear whether all of the successful nominees will join the board. Benard, who did not formally stand for re-election but was entered and won, will continue to serve.
“It was a real pleasure to meet people here and understand how things work at a greater capacity at Stanford,” said Benard. “It has been an atypical year and I think it would be nice to serve in that capacity in a more in-person role as things open up.”
Neither Barclay nor Paisley, this year’s co-chairs, have stood for election, and the new co-chairs will be elected by the board at next week’s meeting. Paisley said he sees the coming year as an opportunity for the board to have a significant positive impact on the graduate student community.
“I hope the new board can be an integral part of the graduate students’ experience in both advocacy efforts, social life, redefining new Stanford traditions, creating new Stanford traditions, and promoting of a community where all graduate students feel they can belong and thrive. University, ”Paisley said.
The GSC also held a closed-door session for part of the meeting where councilors discussed internal finances, revenue sources, expenses and next year’s budget forecast, according to Paisley.