Taking the reins

SGPS Council elects new president

Vicky Bae, ArtSci ’06 and ’07 and MSc ’10, was elected SGPS president for the remainder of 2009-10.
Vicky Bae, ArtSci ’06 and ’07 and MSc ’10, was elected SGPS president for the remainder of 2009-10.

On Tuesday, Vicky Bae, ArtSci ’06 and ’07 and MSc ’10, won a by-election to replace Jeff Welsh as the Society of Graduate and Professional Students (SGPS) president for the remainder of 2009-10.

Welsh, who was first elected president in February 2008, resigned in August due to personal reasons.

The SGPS Council voted 27-9 for Bae over the other presidential candidate, Margaux Peck, Law ’10.

According to SGPS policy, a by-election is held to replace a position if the person vacating the position has less than six months left in his or her term. In the case of a by-election, the policy allows the vote to be limited to SGPS Council to save time and the financial expenses of running a general election.

Normally, an annual general election would be held in February.

Welsh’s presidential term would have ended March 31, 2010.

Bae said she won’t be running for re-election when her term ends on March 31.

“I sure hope not because I really should be done my degree after this year,” she said.

Although she only has a few months on the job, Bae said she’s confident she will be able to fulfill her campaign ideas because she’s worked in the SGPS for two years.

Before her win on Tuesday, she was the Council’s deputy speaker for 2009-10. She was also the vice-president (operations) in 2008-09.

“I came in with a pretty clear idea of what I want to do,” she said. “I guess the two biggest things are to build strong, positive bridges with different bodies in the University ... and, along with that, I would probably focus on the governance of the society.”

Bae said she thinks her term will be a mixture of holding oversight power and doing grunt work.

One issue that’s important to her—better child care options for graduate students—will involve advocacy, she said.

“We have to speak to administration, faculty, staff as well as students to assess the needs,” she said, adding that she also hopes to expand the graduate housing service to help the society’s members.

“I hope to improve the infrastructure of the society by professionalizing the positions of our society, by encouraging members to complete their full term,” she said.

Bae said her experience working for the AMS when she was an undergraduate student helped her understand the AMS’s governing structure and she anticipates a good working relationship with the executive.

“I haven’t seen blatant hostility between the two societies, as some people worry about,” she said. “I think that’s something that’s sort of like a ghost of the past that’s haunting us when it doesn’t really exist anymore.”

Bae said she’s excited about building on the work Welsh did when he was in office.

“I think a lot of things have come out of the last 20 months with Jeff,” she said. “I’m sure it’s not going to be all happy work but I’m up to the challenge.”

—With files from Gloria Er-Chua

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