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GSA elections result in new leaders, approved constitutional amendment

Voter turnout in the Graduate Students Association elections declined from 14% in 2020 to 10.22% this year. (Ashley Kenney/Assistant Photo editor)

By Samantha Fredberg

April 14, 2021 9:55 p.m.

Graduate students voted to approve a change in legislative language in the 2021 Graduate Students Association elections, the association announced Wednesday.

Eight candidates ran in the GSA elections. All four positions were contested.

The election had a 10.22% voter turnout, down from the 14% voter turnout in the previous year, said Akash Deep Singh, the GSA elections commissioner and an electrical and computer engineering doctoral student. In total, 1,257 out of 12,296 graduate students voted in the election.

Singh said the lower voter turnout may be a result of students’ physical and mental distance from campus during the COVID-19 pandemic. He added that the council should aim to be more active on social media platforms to reach master’s students who are typically at UCLA for less than two years.

“A lot of students who joined the campus in the last year haven’t really been on campus yet,” Singh said. “I would guess that they are not as involved in campus activities as one would like them to be.”

Graduate students also voted in favor of a GSA constitutional amendment that would modify the responsibilities of the association’s vice president of external affairs.

The amendment changed wording in the article to clarify that the vice president of external affairs will serve as a representative to the University of California Graduate and Professional Council instead of the University of California Student Association. All GSAs at UC campuses are no longer a part of the UCSA, Singh said.

Results:

GSA president: Musibau Francis Jimoh 

Former vice president of internal affairs Musibau Francis Jimoh will serve as president for the upcoming year. Jimoh is a materials science and engineering doctoral student. 

Vice president of external affairs: Neda Ashtari

Neda Ashtari, the incumbent vice president of external affairs, will serve a second term this year. Ashtari is a graduate student at the David Geffen School of Medicine. 

Vice president of internal affairs: Lewis Luo 

Lewis Luo, the former director of discretionary funding, will succeed Jimoh as the vice president of internal affairs for the upcoming year. Luo is a dental student. The race for vice president of internal affairs had the closest margin, with 30 votes separating Luo from his opponent, Rodrigo Vazquez.

Vice president of academic affairs: Isabel Benvenuti

Isabel Benvenuti, the former director of the Academic Senate and Academic Affairs, will take the place of former vice president of academic affairs Letty Treviño. Benvenuti is a Hispanic linguistics doctoral student.

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