The graduate student presidential candidate will run uncontested for the second year in a row in this year’s election.
The Graduate Students Association Election Board announced Wednesday night that the spring election will include five candidates and a referendum, which would increase graduate student fees by $5.75 per quarter to expand the Graduate Writing Center. Current GSA president Michael Skiles, who is among the three uncontested candidates in the election, is running for his third term as president. The vice president of internal affairs is the only contested position.
Skiles, who ran unopposed in last year’s election, said he thinks it is not uncommon for few students to run in the GSA elections. He added that although there are four elected positions, the large majority of GSA positions, such as directors, are appointed.
“The total number of candidates is always somewhere between four and seven,” he said. “But we tend to see dozens of applications for those (appointed) positions.”
Elections Commissioner Justin Gelzhiser said he thinks the referendum and contested candidate position will increase voter turnout in this year’s election.
“Typically when you have a referendum, there are financial implications and we expect voter turnout to increase because it relates directly to student tuition,” he said. “And the more candidates there are, the more passionate people are to come out and vote.”
The association voted to put the referendum on the ballot during the GSA’s March 7 meeting. The additional fee will be used to hire an administrative analyst and more consultant student staff for the Graduate Writing Center.
GSA elections have failed to pass referendums in the past because of low voter turnout.
Gelzhiser added the GSA election board has also been working to increase turnout by sending out a campus-wide email to graduate students to run for the elections. He also said the Elections Grad Bar will be on April 12 for students to meet the candidates and socialize.
Voting will be open on MyUCLA from April 11 to April 17. A complete roster of candidates is listed below.
Michael Skiles (Moving Forward Slate)
Vice president of internal affairs
Eric Hu (Moving Forward Slate)
Katherine Jia (Independent)
Vice president of external affairs:
Michelle Ellis Viorato (Moving Forward Slate)
Vice president of academic affairs:
Ashley Wright (Moving Forward Slate)