Qureshy acclaimed as SGPS president

Proposed SGPS Queen's Centre fee rejected by 82 per cent of voters

Wednesday, Feb. 24 - 4:30 p.m.

Last Thursday, Jawad Qureshy, MA ’11, was acclaimed president of the Society of Graduate and Professional Students (SGPS) in 2010-11.

Qureshy, the only candidate, received 511 votes of confidence out of 567 ballots cast.

Qureshy ran a campaign called “Your Strong Voice for SGPS,” which included a slate of six candidates: Qureshy for president, Anne-Marie Grondin for vice-president (campaigns), Jillian Burford-Grinnell for vice-president (finance), Daniel Moore for vice-president (graduate), Candice Pilgrim for vice-president (professional) and Karl Hardy for SGPS trustee.

Along with Qureshy, Grondin and Burford-Grinnell were acclaimed for their positions.

Moore won in his category with 193 votes to candidates Michael Bravo’s 139 votes and Vanessa Mann’s 134 votes.

Pilgrim lost to Shaughnessy Hawkins 262 to 244 votes.
Hardy lost to Benjamin Grant 278 to 242 votes.

About 16 per cent of the eligible voters turned in ballots.

Qureshy told the via e-mail that the six “Your Strong Voice” candidates ran together because they shared similar ideas.

“We met and discussed the issues and found that there was agreement on some important items,” he said. “We also thought that the SGPS membership would benefit from having a team that had a pre-existing positive dynamic.”

Qureshy said his three main goals are to strengthen the society’s administrative structure, better represent the SGPS’s diverse membership on issues and help graduate and professional students contribute positively to the University’s educational mission.

“This doesn’t preclude our members from adding to our priorities over the year,” he said. “If there’s something people would like us to work on outside of these, we will remain accessible, open and helpful.”

Qureshy said he wants to maintain a collegial relationship with the AMS executive.

“I know a little about [incoming AMS president] Safiah [Chowdhury] and her team already due to the popularity of Team CHR’s campaign,” he said. “I think the relationship between these two student bodies is crucial to an effective representation of the student voice within the larger administrative complex that is Queen’s.”

Qureshy said the SGPS and the AMS have a history of working well together, citing the SGPS’s support for the AMS-administered Walkhome service fee increase as one example.

Qureshy said he wants to work with Adnan Husain, who’s heading a committee looking into implementing equity measures at Queen’s.

“Queen’s has been producing reports and recommendations on issues on equity since at least 1991,” he said. “It’s high time someone began to implement them.”

He said he also wants to lobby for an increase in the University’s Work-Study program to help international graduate students.

“There are opportunities within SGPS that many international students simply do not know about, so a simple generation of awareness will be a good start,” he added.

Qureshy said he will also work with Career Services to develop strategies for making it easier for international students to find work once they graduate.

“There are many companies and organizations across Canada that prize the language skills, global outlook and experience of international students,” he said. “At the moment, these jobs are primarily
filled by graduates of larger schools in more metropolitan areas than Kingston. I don't see why Queen's graduates should be left out of this process.”

The SGPS membership voted down the motion to introduce a $112.50 mandatory fee for graduate students to go towards the Queen’s Centre capital project. Ninety-seven voted yes and 541 voted against the fee.

Qureshy said he doesn’t want to re-introduce the issue next year.

“I would be pleased to alleviate the discord over this issue into a healthy, respectful and mutually beneficial relationship, but am not sure at this moment if I have like-minded counterparts within the University administration,” he said. “I hope this changes.”

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