Graduate Assembly President Iman Sylvain tenders resignation

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Iman Sylvain submitted her resignation from her role as Graduate Assembly president Monday, according to an email from GA Internal Vice President Kena Hazelwood-Carter.

The GA will hold a special election for the position at its Oct. 6 delegate meeting. Until then, Campus Affairs Vice President Dax Vivid will fulfill the official duties of the GA president, with the assistance of the assembly’s executive board, Hazelwood-Carter said.

Sylvain, a fifth-year doctoral student in the campus’s department of plant and microbial biology, was elected president in March. She previously served as a GA delegate and as GA external affairs vice president.

“Unfortunately, it’s just a little too hard trying to balance both GA and my Ph.D. program,” Sylvain said. “They both take a lot of time and energy, and it’s time for me to focus back on the program.”

The GA is accepting candidate statements from individuals interested in filling the position until Thursday. During the meeting, candidates are allowed to speak to the assembly and answer the assembly members’ questions. After, the candidates will be sent out of the room, and the GA will enter into discussion and vote.

Sylvain will continue to represent the campus graduate student community through her role on the basic needs committee as well as the chancellor search committee, which ASUC President Will Morrow is also on. He said she is likely remaining on the search committee because she was voted into that position and approved by the University of California Office of the President — in that sense, it is a “finalized committee.”

“Oftentimes the two of us found ourselves as the only students in a room,” Morrow said. “Iman and I have developed a very strong working relationship knowing how to play off each other’s strengths to present a unified student voice.”

Morrow called Sylvain a leader and advocate for students both in public and behind closed doors, saying the next GA president will have “a large hole to fill.”

“(Sylvain) brought a lot of passion in explaining to the administration what the perspective of students was,” said Fiona Doyle, the dean of the Graduate Division. “I know that there are many other wonderful people who will probably be candidates for the presidency and that they’ll do a wonderful job, but I had been looking forward to a year working with Iman.”

Both Doyle and Hazlewood-Carter said they were not familiar with any situation in which a GA president resigned in the middle of her term, though Doyle noted that she has been the dean of the Graduate Division for fewer than two years.

“Her countless contributions have helped to shape the GA into the strong institution it is today,” Hazelwood-Carter said in the email. “We want to express our gratitude to Iman for her long and continued dedication to fostering a vibrant and inclusive graduate community here at Cal.”

Contact Anderson Lanham and Jessica Lynn at [email protected].