SGPS elects 2018-19 President following second election period

Elections see increased student engagement and voter turnout 

Incoming SGPS Tyler Morrison

Following a nullified presidential election, an investigation into an election infraction and a second election period, the Society of Graduate and Professional Students has elected current Vice-President (Community) Tyler Morrison as President for the 2018-19 year. 

“There are valuable lessons to be learned by comparing this year’s elections with last,” wrote current SGPS President Adam Grotsky in an email to The Journal. “Last year, voter turnout was in the single digits and every candidate running for an elected position was uncontested. This year, the presidential election was contested and voter turnout soared.”

Morrison, Law ’19, currently serves as the SGPS Vice-President for Campaigns and Community Affairs. He’s set to begin his transition with Grotsky immediately, who noted it will be important to expose Morrison to functions external to the SGPS. 

“Tyler has been intimately involved in the inner workings and decision-making of the SGPS,” he wrote. “The next step will be preparing him for responsibilities external to the SGPS, including serving on Senate, the search committee for the next Principal and working to improve the graduate student experience.”

For Morrison, the upcoming transition period presents an exciting opportunity to craft his team and work alongside Grotsky. 

“As I said during the campaign, I have been able to work very closely with Adam (current SGPS President) throughout the year, and have a pretty good idea of what the job entails,” he wrote in an email to The Journal. “However, I am really just excited to get the new Executive together and begin to build on last year’s success by creating a vision of our own.”

During the first campaign period, current Vice-President (Graduate) of the SGPS was voted in as President-elect on Jan. 30. On Feb. 8, the SGPS Judicial Committee announced that the election results would be nullified. The committee released a follow-up statement the next day which explained the reason for nullification. According to the statement, McKnight had disclosed an election infraction to the committee which involved overspending the allotted campaign budget. 

The infraction, while brought to the Judicial Committee, was appealed by candidate Tyler Morrison who pardoned the infraction. At the Feb. 13 SGPS Council meeting, new dates for a second campaign period were set for Mar. 12 and 13, with results released the same night. 

In the second campaign, Morrison took the win with 52 per cent of votes. In this election, 38.6 per cent of graduate students voted.  In the original campaign, McKnight won with 52.5 per cent of the vote. The voter turnout that time around was at 36.5 per cent. 

Following the second election period, Morrison told The Journal he’s filled with relief. “It has definitely been an emotional couple weeks. Campaigns are a curious time, stress levels are up, but you’re given a unique opportunity to engage with the student body,”

believe the SGPS can affect their experience, and I want to change that.”

For Grotsky, this year’s election was a significant one for the SGPS. The President said he was impressed with increased voter turnout in the second election, which remained consistent despite confusion.

“After our first election, and then the JDUC referendum, I was concerned about voter fatigue as we entered our third vote of the year,” he wrote to The Journal. “But with important decisions on the line, students made sure their voices were heard in numbers unmatched in the Society’s history. 

Grotsky added last year’s voter turnout for SGPS elections was six per cent. This year’s turnout — which increased to almost 40 percent — is something to be proud of. 

“This year’s elections affirmed that students are not the apathetic group we are sometimes labeled as”, Grotsky wrote. “Our student body cares deeply about their community and it gives me great hope for the impact they will make, not just at Queen’s but beyond,” he continued.

 

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