Group to hold first election

Graduate and professional students can vote for the next GAPSA president.

James Schlemmer

With a goal to find a more dedicated leader who represents the student body, the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly will hold the inaugural election for its next president in mid-April.

Since GAPSA began in 1990, an assembly chose the group’s president – even if they weren’t fully committed to the position.

But this new system will allow only those who truly want the job to run for it.

All graduate and professional students will have the opportunity to run for and elect the president.

Current GAPSA President Suzanne Sobotka said the decision to elect the president is to find a more devoted leader.

“We will be able to hold the person in the position more accountable,” she said.

Sobotka said the last two presidents selected have quit; Sobotka took over in the fall for the most recently resigned president.

The application period ended last Friday, and two graduate students will run for president: Santiago Merea and Kristen Denzer.

Merea, a public affairs student, said an election is the best way of finding a leader because the students are represented.

“It’s a good opportunity for students to have a role in shaping the student groups,” he said.

where to go

Get Out The Vote Rally
WHAT: Vote for GAPSA president All graduate and professional students will have the opportunity to elect the GAPSA president.
WHEN AND WHERE:
April 16 ­ñ West Bank
April 17 ñ Coffman Union
April 18 ñ St. Paul Student Center For more information, go to: www.sua.umn.edu/events/vote

Merea also said it would help bring a more driven leader.

“If elected, it’s because students like your proposals and that motivates me to do my job better,” he said.

But psychology graduate student Susan King doesn’t think the elections are a good idea because it will bring uninformed people into the voting booth.

“I’m not going to vote. I’m not informed,” she said. “Because I don’t know what I’m talking about and I don’t think most people do.”

Denzer, an advocacy and political leadership student, said she believes students will be interested.

“A good proportion of grad students know about GAPSA because we put on a lot of events and this will only help more,” she said.

Merea, who served on the Student Services Fees Committee since last fall, said the election will bring in the element of stumping.

“Campaigning will be good,” he said. “It will be better to get out there talking and finding the concerns of the students.”

Merea said it doesn’t help to have a qualified individual if they don’t speak for the students.

“Students will find the president that will represent them,” he said. “That is what’s most important.”

Ed Kim, adviser for the All-Campus Election Commission said he hopes to see good turnout for all the elections this spring with the “Get Out to Vote Rally” from April 16-18.

Sobotka said this year will be a test to see if GAPSA will use an election in the future.

“We’ll see whether or not we will continue to have an election,” she said. “We’ll see how many people will vote.”