Graduate Assembly elects president, executive board at monthly meeting

Related Posts

At its monthly meeting last week, UC Berkeley’s Graduate Assembly elected its executive board, instating Jenna Kingkade as its president.

Kingkade is joined on next year’s executive board by Iman Sylvain and Arturo Fernandez, who have been re-elected to their respective positions of external affairs vice president and treasurer. She is also joined on the board by Aaron Smyth, the assembly’s newly elected internal vice president.

The Graduate Assembly represents the interests of campus graduate students, who — as of fall 2014 — number more than 10,000. It consists of representative delegates from each campus department, who work together in committees and is led by an elected executive board. Ten of the 11 candidates elected last week, including Kingkade, ran unopposed.

Kingkade is currently a first-year juris doctor candidate at the UC Berkeley School of Law. She completed her undergraduate education at UC Berkeley as well, graduating in 2012 with a degree in peace and conflict studies.

Kingkade said her admiration of the assembly began while she was an undergraduate.

“I really appreciated how (the assembly) showed solidarity with the undergraduates during the 2010 protests against fee hikes,” she said. She added that this reflected a culture of collaboration between the assembly and undergraduate students that she wishes to continue.

Kingkade said she hopes to be “a strong voice for student interests” next year. She will replace John Ready, whom she said was “very inspiring” and has made the assembly more accessible. Ready described Kingkade in an email as a “very engaged and active delegate” and said he is “really excited to have her as the next GA President.”

Ready said the highlight of his tenure was a chance to witness the “amazing work” that can be produced by a few graduate students. He added that this was exemplified by the Empowering Women of Color Conference, which was hosted by the Graduate Assembly in Wheeler Hall on Saturday.

The meeting also saw the passage of a bill that facilitated the campus’s participation in a universitywide “Grad Slam.” During the event, graduate students will be given the chance to present three-minute descriptions of their research to a panel of judges, with cash prizes awarded to the top three participants. The top presenter will then be sent to represent the campus at a UC systemwide competition.

Another bill approved the spending of about $15,000 — the largest spending bill passed by the assembly during this academic year’s meetings — to improve the website of the Berkeley Graduate, a journal aiming to chronicle graduate life on campus.

Contact Ishaan Srivastava at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @ishaansriv.