Graduate Student Organization

GSO senators pass 2017-18 budget amid conflict, elect representatives

Kiran Ramsey | Senior Design Editor

Jack Wilson, a Ph.D. student studying experimental psychology, was selected as the GSO’s president during an elections meeting Wednesday.

Graduate Student Organization senators clashed over the organization’s proposed 2017-18 academic year budget Wednesday night in addition to electing GSO representatives for next year.  

Jack Wilson, a Ph.D. student studying experimental psychology, was selected as the GSO’s president during an elections meeting Wednesday, and pledged to tackle issues that face international students who are studying at Syracuse University. 

Wilson ran unopposed for the position of GSO president. The rest of the GSO’s executive board was also elected during the body’s last meeting of the semester, which ran close to five hours. 

Two separate GSO meetings proceeded the elections meeting at the Life Sciences Complex Wednesday night: a special meeting to vote on the proposed refunding of the Empire Pass program and a meeting to discuss the GSO’s 2017-18 budget. 

During the budget meeting, GSO members spent a long amount of time arguing back and forth over the allocation of funds for several programs, operations and student organizations. The budget was split into three sections: service providers, GSO programs and student organizations.

David Lemon, GSO’s comptroller, said that the proposed 2017-18 academic year budget of $410,781 was smaller compared to the 2016-17 academic year budget.  

GSO senators debated the 2017-18 budget’s proposed cut to all funding for recreation services, an adjustment to the cap for special programming and student organization budgets and a cut to funding for the fall and spring GSO picnics.  

Much of the debate was centered around what the GSO’s philosophy and core principles are. The budget was ultimately passed with several modifications. 

Following the budget debate, the elections meeting took place. The elections for the GSO’s president, internal vice president and comptroller positions were all uncontested, while two candidates were bidding to become the organization’s external vice president. 

Wilson, who was elected president, said he was due to graduate this spring, but will end up remaining on campus for at least another year because of his dissertation work. He will, however, have a lighter course load commitment, which will allow him to focus on his role as GSO president, he said. Wilson was elected GSO president after 89 percent of the organization’s voting body voted in his favor. 

Shivali Naik, a first year master’s student studying information management, ran unopposed as well for the position for internal vice president and won. Joshua Fenton, a graduate student studying in the College of Arts and Sciences, ran unopposed for comptroller and won. Sweta Roy, a first year Ph.D. student, was elected external vice president, beating out Kirti Sharma, an information management student, in the vote

The first special meeting, which preceded the budget and elections meetings, was held because during the GSO’s last regular business meeting, the organization’s voting body failed to meet quorum, preventing senators from voting on a resolution that urges the GSO to refund the Empire Pass program.

The resolution on Wednesday requested that the body borrow funds from the organization’s rollover fund, in turn putting the rollover fund below its stated limit, to refund and reinstitute the program. 

The resolution was a point of contention among several members of the GSO, as some organization members claimed that the program would only help a small percent of the graduate student body.

After much deliberation, the GSO voted against the resolution.

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