Stevens takes SGPS

SGPS candidates debate at Grad Club
SGPS candidates debate at Grad Club

Last night, Andrew Stevens, a first year PhD student in sociology, was announced as the Society of Graduate and Professional Students (SGPS) president-elect. Stevens is the first SGPS president in three years to be elected, as the past three presidents ran uncontested.

Outgoing SGPS President Dave Thomas said the increase in candidates running this year reflects recent changes within SGPS.

“This year’s election was much more successful than last in terms of [voter] turnout, the number of candidates and the amount of campaigning,” he said. “People are a lot more politicized this year.”

Stevens won with 64 per cent of the votes over rival candidate Barry Weese, a PhD student in biology.

SGPS Chief Returning Officer Hayden King said overall voter turnout was up from last year, with approximately 15 per cent or 420 voters participating.

“We seem to have gotten the word out about SGPS,” King said. “It’s become a polarized body and that’s attracted people.”

Andrew Sadler and Alastair Clarke were acclaimed to VP (External) and VP Internal (Professional), respectively. Rosa Barker was elected as VP Internal (Graduate)and Lindsay Love-Forester as the Board of Trustees representative.

The closest race was between Claire Russell, who defeated her fellow candidates Gary Armstrong and Patrick Egbunonu by 14 and 2 votes respectively for the position of VP Operations).

The election included four referendum questions, including a $0.75 Class B mandatory fee (indexed each year for inflation) to support Queen’s Oxfam, a $2.50 Class B mandatory fee to support the Kingston Coalition Against Poverty, a $0.50 Class B optional fee to support the Yellow Bike Action Group, and a $1.50 Class A optional fee (not indexed each year for inflation) to support the Union Gallery.

King said all four referendum questions regarding student fees were passed by a simple majority.

Thomas said key issues for the SGPS executive-elect in the coming year would include accommodating increasing graduate student enrolment, responding to rising tuition levels and addressing off-campus non-academic discipline.

“They should prepare for a lot of hard work,” he said.

Stevens could not be reached for comment.

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