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GPSA president, VP, senate candidates debate

Unopposed tickets outline and discuss goals, experiences

Amir+Gilmore%2C+right%2C+and+David+Silva+make+their+case+to+become+the+next+President+and+Vice+President+Monday+evening+during+the+GPSA+regular+meeting.
Amir Gilmore, right, and David Silva make their case to become the next President and Vice President Monday evening during the GPSA regular meeting.

Amir Gilmore, right, and David Silva make their case to become the next President and Vice President Monday evening during the GPSA regular meeting.

ABBY TUTOR | THE DAILY EVERGREEN

ABBY TUTOR | THE DAILY EVERGREEN

Amir Gilmore, right, and David Silva make their case to become the next President and Vice President Monday evening during the GPSA regular meeting.

IAN SMAY, Evergreen reporter

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The candidates on the sole presidential ticket for the Graduate and Professional Students Association laid out their platform at a debate Monday in Butch’s Den, saying they want to advocate on behalf of their constituents and work together between departments.

The candidates are Amir Gilmore for president and David Silva for vice president. Gilmore, a third-year doctoral student in cultural studies, currently serves as vice president. He said he wants to take in all GPSA members’ concerns while making decisions for the association.

Silva, a third-year doctoral student in the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication, joined GPSA last year as director of university affairs. The pair said they want to help graduate and professional students face issues head-on while sticking to their principles.

“We have to focus on the values that GPSA says we support,” Silva said. “We have to recognize the trouble we are facing. They aren’t big troubles, but they’re pressures.”

The debate, which the association held as part of its regular meeting, did not feature head-to-head conversations. Instead, all candidates gave a short opening statement followed by an open floor for questions.

Following the presidential ticket, two members of the College of Agricultural, Human and Natural Resource Sciences spoke to the attendees. The first candidate, Jenisha Gerard, did not attend the meeting. Jennifer Johnson, the current representative of CAHNRS and the GPSA director of professional development, spoke about the importance of the program she heads.

“The main reason for running again is I’ve really grown to really enjoy PDI,” Johnson said, referring to the Professional Development Initiative, “and the president sees the importance of it.”

PDI is a partnership between the Graduate School and GPSA to help cultivate students’ academic and professional careers.

Johnson started in GPSA as a senator two years ago.

Candidates for the College of Arts and Sciences spoke next, with incumbent Sen. Andrew Gillreath-Brown speaking first. A second-year doctoral student in the Department of Anthropology, he spoke about his time on the Travel and Registration Grant Committee.

“I think the current officers and board have really done a lot this year,” he said, “and I want to help continue this positive movement they’ve got going.”

He spoke about his lobbying during Coug Day at the Capitol, where he said his group focused on student loans, health care, graduate research and undocumented students.

His opponent, and the current director of community affairs, Tiffany Alvarez, said community engagement would be her biggest focus and that the help she has received from GPSA made her want to run.

“I have been a recipient of a lot of great help and a lot of goodwill,” she said, “and I think it’s important to bring it forward.”

Alvarez, an evolutionary anthropology doctoral student, said she would focus her community engagement efforts around a future TEDx event that would be hosted for WSU graduate and professional students.

The senator position for the College of Communication spoke afterward, with doctoral student Miles Sari running unopposed. Sari has no prior GPSA Senate experience, but has served as president of the Communication Graduate Student Association.

Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture Senate candidate Hongda Ren, also unopposed, spoke last. Ren, an electrical engineering doctoral candidate, proposed asking the university to waive an increase in parking fees for those affected by the lot color change this summer. He also said he wants to join the University Affairs Committee so he can work on transportation and parking.

All other departments represented in GPSA didn’t receive candidate applications. Due to this, Gilmore said special elections for open Senate and committee positions will be held after the normal election.

GPSA voting began at 7 p.m. Monday, with polls closing at 5 p.m. Thursday. Members can vote online at studentvote.wsu.edu.

About the Writer
IAN SMAY, Evergreen reporter

Ian Smay is a senior journalism & media production major, with an emphasis in broadcast news, from Dayton, Washington. He is also minoring in criminal...

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GPSA president, VP, senate candidates debate