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Saunders elected to rare 2nd term

Duke students had a non-controversial, almost completely uncontested election Tuesday--and it was not even part of an April Fools' Day joke.

Just two of the 19 elections at Monday night's Graduate and Professional Student Council meeting were contested. Headlining the night's elections, current GPSC president Rob Saunders was unopposed in his reelection to a second term.

"The thing I've heard from every leaving president is that they finally learn how everything works and then have to leave," said Saunders, a third-year graduate student in physics. "I have finally figured out who people are and what the issues are."

Saunders added that he hopes to increase GPSC's visibility through its website as well as to strengthen the General Assembly next year. He will be the first GPSC president in recent memory to serve more than one term.

Second-year neurobiology graduate student Colleen Hanlon was elected vice president. Hanlon will replace Audrey Beck, a second-year student in sociology, who was elected community affairs coordinator.

Heather Dean, a third-year student in neurobiology, was reelected treasurer.

Lara Oliver, a first-year doctoral student in electrical engineering, was elected one of two student life chairs. She will join Ben Cooke, a third-year graduate student in mathematics, who was reelected as the other chair.

The communications coordinator position will be filled by Zach Schafer, a second-year graduate student in cell and molecular biology. Schafer had previously served on GPSC for two years, and this year headed the Parking and Transportation Committee.

Katie Regan, a first-year student in physical therapy, was elected attorney general and law student John Cook, currently the community affairs coordinator will serve as ombudsperson next year.

GPSC members did not elect an executive secretary because no one was nominated. The post will be filled next fall, Saunders said.

The General Assembly also held elections for the nine positions on the Board of Trustees' standing committees. GPSC elects two voting representatives on four of the Board's five committees--Student Affairs, Academic Affairs, Buildings and Grounds, and Budget and Finance--and one representative to Medical Center Affairs. Another student representative is filled ex officio by the president of the Davison Council.

"People who are new to [GPSC] can start [in leadership roles] on the Board of Trustees and then move to GPSC," Beck said of the uncontested nature of the executive elections. "It's for people who might not be sure about the time commitment."

As GPSC president, Saunders was allowed to choose the committee he wanted to serve on and will continue to serve on Student Affairs. Dean won the other Student Affairs position over current representative Will Tyson, a fifth-year sociology graduate student. Tyson had served on GPSC for five years, including three on the executive board and two on the Board's Student Affairs committee.

Beck and Sean Burt, a first-year graduate student in religion, were elected to the Academic Affairs committee.

Milan Selassie, a first-year student in the Fuqua School of Business and president of the Fuqua Finance Club, was elected to Business and Finance. He will join Cooke, who currently serves on the committee.

"There is obviously a lot of construction in the next two years," Cooke said. "I am very interested in what budget they are going to put into graduate student needs."

Third-year biology graduate students Julia Bowsher and Christy Henzler were elected to the Buildings and Grounds Committee. Bowsher and Henzler had worked together on a biking conditions initiative and participated in the student village focus groups.

Regan beat out Hanlon for the position on the Medical Center Affairs committee in the only other contested election.


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