Wednesday, October 18

Graduate Students Association elects new president, officers

Michael Skiles was elected as president of the graduate student government. (Laura Uzes/Daily Bruin)

Michael Skiles was elected as president of the graduate student government. (Laura Uzes/Daily Bruin)

Candidates from Moving Forward, a student-run political group, won all officer seats in this year’s Graduate Students Association election.

This year four of five positions were contested, up from last year’s election, which had only one contested position. Voter turnout increased by 4 percent, with 1,473 students voting out of 11,713 eligible students. Sabine Jean, GSA election commissioner, said more students voted because more seats were contested.

Michael Skiles, formerly the president of the Weyburn Hilgard Residents’ Association, was elected GSA president. He said he thinks graduate students supported the Moving Forward slate because it focused on tangible goals all graduate students can relate to.

In the coming year, Skiles said he will focus on holding more social events, decreasing the cost of housing and maintaining the Kinross Recreation Center a gym for graduate students. KREC is located in the Kinross building, where the Geffen Academy at UCLA will open in 2017.

Jonathan Koch said he thinks graduate students did not elect him to be GSA president because they are more concerned with short-term event planning than they are with long-term changes such as increasing transparency in GSA and improving campus sexual harassment policies.

By three votes, Ioan Istrate, a graduate student in business, beat out Ian Coley, current president of the math and physical sciences council, for internal vice president.

Coley said he was disappointed students selected Istrate, who has no previous GSA experience, because he thinks experience in how the association works is critical for the position.

Istrate said he thinks personal motivation and the ability to unite others is more important than previous GSA experience.

Andres Schneider was elected external vice president for the third year in a row. Schneider was the only uncontested candidate in this year’s election.

Tess Armstrong, a member of WHRA, was elected vice president of academic affairs over Alexandra Latshaw, who currently serves as secretary for the WHRA.

Email Reyes at [email protected] or tweet her @r_valejandra.

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Reyes is the Daily Bruin's News editor and an Editorial Board member. Previously, she was the Science & Health editor covering research, the UCLA health system and graduate school news. She also writes Arts & Entertainment stories and photographs for the Bruin.

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