GPSA holds general election debate

Proposal for 5% increase on Student Transit Fee; six candidates discuss housing issues, representation across campuses



Six candidates are running for GPSA executive positions.

CALLIE GERBER, Evergreen reporter

GPSA senators discussed a Student Transit Fee proposal, and candidates for GPSA executive positions spoke about issues they are passionate about during the general election debate Monday. 

The goal of this proposal is to increase the current student transit fee by 5%, said Transportation Services Director Chris Boyan.

At this time, students pay $36.08 per semester or $72.16 every year. With this proposal, there would be a $1.80 increase for the semester or $3.60 for the year. If approved, students would be paying $37.88 per semester or $75.76 each year, Boyan said.

Pullman Transit provides transportation seven days a week, provides an alternative to having a car and reduces traffic congestion in busy areas, Boyan said. Riding the bus is also more environmentally friendly and reduces a person’s carbon footprint.

Some graduate students feel they cannot give more money to the Student Transit Fee program, said Senator Jocelyn McKinnon-Crowley. They are not able to get home in a reasonable manner and therefore have to use other forms of transportation. At this time, there is only one evening bus.

Voting on this proposal will occur at the March 21 meeting, GPSA President Reanne Cunningham Chilton said.

There are six candidates running in the GPSA general election.

Community Affairs Chair Samantha Edgerton is the lone presidential candidate. She is interested in working on graduate issues such as student debt, housing, school-year and summer employment for graduate students, healthcare, and international student advocacy. She is also looking to add a GPSA chair focusing on diversity, equity and inclusion.

Marwa Aly, executive vice president and budget chair, is running again for the vice president position. She would like to focus on how GPSA reaches out to graduate students and would like to promote transparency. In addition, she is interested in looking at the needs of each campus GPSA is involved with.

Programming Chair Ajay Barman is the candidate for the vice president of legislative affairs position. Barman said he wants to focus on being a voice for those who need it. 

Senator Summer Lockhart is running for the College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences representative position. She is passionate about graduate student stipends and housing issues. There are graduate students who are spending more than half their income on housing, and Lockhart said she would like to work on making housing less of a struggle.

Senator Samodya Jayasinghe is also running for the CAHNRS representative position. She would like to advocate for everyone despite their campus location, advocate for better health insurance, along with working toward providing more help and resources for international graduate students.

International Affairs Chair Rabayet Sadnan is running to be the representative for the Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture. Sadnan would like to focus on making the GPSA bylaws clearer.