Graduate Assembly elects 2020-21 executive board via Zoom

Matt Gibson/Staff

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The Graduate Assembly voted on its executive board for next year via Zoom meeting April 2.

Elected by Graduate Assembly delegates, the new executive board is composed of President Luis Tenorio, Vice President of Equity and Inclusion Pelagie Elimbi Moudio, Vice President of Finance Martin Siron, External Affairs Vice President Kerby Lynch, Campus Affairs Vice President Maria Pettis, Internal Vice President Liz Lawler, Rules Officer Lisa Treidel and Funding Officer Connor Jackson.

“I’m looking forward to working with this talented group of graduate and professional students elected to serve on the Grad Assembly,” Siron said in an email. “Each of them brings passion, and skills to their respective position and I’m excited to not only get to know them but also learn from them.”

Despite the meeting being held remotely due to the shelter-in-place order, procedures, discussions and votes were able to occur similarly to regular in-person meetings, according to assembly delegate José Marrero Rosado. Approximately 130 students were in attendance, of which about 100 were voting delegates.

Candidates were asked to go into “breakout rooms” on Zoom during the elections so anonymity could be preserved.

“The shelter-in-place order proved indeed to be a challenge,” Siron said in the email. “Nonetheless, the current (Internal Vice President) and executive board were able to put a process together in order to run our Grad Assembly delegates meeting rather smoothly.”

The election process for the executive board was lengthy, according to Marrero Rosado, resulting in elections for the Graduate Council, a committee in the campus Academic Senate, getting postponed until May.

Tenorio, assembly president-elect, plans to continue to make adjustments in response to the coronavirus. One of his platforms as a candidate emphasized supporting the efforts of his colleagues to address the financial and academic impacts of the pandemic on UC Berkeley and its students.

“My priority would be that a continued pulse is taken on how academic progress and completion is being impacted for students and the challenges that students face around basic needs,” Tenorio said in his candidate statement.

Another priority next year for many of the new executive board members and assembly delegates is to gain legal and financial independence from the ASUC, according to assembly delegate Alden Moss. According to results from a referendum on the ASUC 2020 ballot, 83.61% of the graduate student body supports the Graduate Assembly’s governance workgroup in actively trying to get the ASUC constitution amended to allow the Graduate Student Assembly to form independently.

“The ASUC right now holds control over the GA. A lot of the people in the ASUC don’t understand the different lifestyles and means of graduate students,” Moss said. “For those reasons, we are trying to have the GA become independent.”

Contact Gigi Nibbelink at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @giginibbelink.