Graduate students to vote for prez: first time in four years
By Stacey Ledgister and Tara Kimura
As the smoke from the University Students' Council elections clears, the Society of Graduate Students is actively preparing to relight the political flame with their upcoming presidential elections.
After a four-year period of election silence, three graduate students have thrown their hats into the race for president. Kelly Barrowcliffe, a physical therapy student, Lisa Griffin, a neuroscience PhD student and Michael Hohner, a library and information sciences student, have reopened the floodgates of graduate student competitive politics as the past four SOGS presidents have been acclaimed.
Current SOGS president, Helen Roos, cites the renewed interest in the presidential position as a result of internal restructuring and improved prioritizing. "The candidates know the issues and that will contribute to the strength within the organization."
Roos added issues such as the deregulation of tuition fees, employment opportunities and the quality of education are concerns of SOGS and need to be addressed in the elections.
Kivi Shapiro, SOGS chief returning officer, said the student political atmosphere is a key factor in motivating the candidates. "In this active period of society, politically speaking, there is an increased willingness to be a part of it." Specifically, Shapiro said events such as the rally against student debt and the heightened struggle against rising tuition fees have made student politics more relevant.
Voting will be held from March 16 to 20 with an advanced poll on March 9. Shapiro said all 2,100 graduate students except those in the masters in business administration program are eligible to vote.
In an attempt to increase voter turnout, a roving poll station will visit the Social Science Centre, the Engineering Sciences Building, Althouse College, the Natural Science Centre and University College. Voting stations will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day and results of the election will be made public on March 20.