GAPSA elects new leaders for the 2005-06 school year

by Bryce Haugen

GCorrection: The Daily incorrectly identified the next Graduate and Professional Student Assembly vice president for grants. Boris Volkov will be the next GAPSA vice president for grants.

Graduate and professional student leaders elected Karen Buhr as their next president Wednesday.

In a unanimous vote at its final meeting of the year, the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly promoted Buhr, the group’s current executive vice president.

The College of Natural Resources master’s student will take office June 1, serving as leader for the University’s approximately 17,000 graduate and professional students for the 2005-06 school year.

GAPSA also elected eight other members to next year’s Executive Committee. All but three of the votes, including GAPSA’s selection of Taqee Khaled for executive vice president, were unanimous.

“I’m really excited about the next year,” Buhr said after the meeting. “I’m really looking forward to continuing to make sure that graduate and professional students have a voice on campus.”

Emily Serafy Cox, the Minnesota Student Association president-elect, attended the meeting and congratulated Buhr on her victory.

“I’m just happy there will be two woman presidents,” Serafy Cox said.

The assembly also unanimously elected outgoing President Abu Jalal as vice president for finance. Jalal, a finance doctoral student, said he’s retiring from the president role to focus more on his studies.

“(The presidency’s) a lot of work – really hard work,” he said.

Unlike the undergraduate student elections, GAPSA assembly members – not graduate and professional students – elect group leaders.

“It’s not a direct election, but considering the problems with separating graduate and undergraduate students in the (All-Campus) election Ö our system is suitable for us,” Jalal said.

In a three-way race, GAPSA narrowly elected Josh Colburn as vice president for administrative affairs. They also chose Denys Goychuk, one of three candidates, as the next vice president for grants. And in a 12-11 vote, GAPSA selected Amy Thornton as the new vice president for public affairs.

The other future Executive Board members were elected unanimously. They include:

Abdul Basit, vice president for student affairs; Mufaddal Baxamusa, vice president for programming; and Zeeshan Syedain, vice president for internal affairs – a new position.

Jalal said the list of candidates often narrows before the actual vote, leaving unopposed races.

“It doesn’t mean we have a lack of graduate student leadership,” he said.