Daily Egyptian

GPSC votes in new officers at final semester meeting

Daily+Egyptian+file+photo
Daily Egyptian file photo

Daily Egyptian file photo

Daily Egyptian file photo

By Marnie Leonard

At its last regularly scheduled meeting of the year on Tuesday evening, the Graduate and Professional Student Council voted in new officers for the 2017-2018 school year.

Positions at stake were president, vice president of administrative affairs, vice president for student affairs and four representatives to the Graduate Council.

Johnathan Flowers will take over as president, stepping into a role fulfilled by Brandon Woudenberg for the past two years. Flowers, an Oak Park native, is a doctoral student in philosophy and served the council as vice president for student affairs this year.

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In a recent Q&A with the Daily Egyptian, Flowers said he thinks the council could better address the concerns of non-traditional students and involve international students more. He said as president, he hopes to engage with the SIU School of Law and collaborate more with other constituency bodies such as the Graduate Council and the Undergraduate Student Government.

The GPSC president is a paid graduate assistantship position, and Flowers said he would give half of his salary back to the council to either fund another assistantship or provide more travel money for graduate students.

“If we’re asking the administration to take a 40 percent pay cut, I will follow suit,” Flowers said, referring to a resolution drafted by the council to ask university administration to reduce their salaries.

Taking over for Willie Lyles III as vice president of administrative affairs will be Dianah McGreehan, a doctoral student in communication studies from San Antonio, Texas.

McGreehan has been a member of the council for two years and has served in various capacities, including as a member of its executive committee and fee allocation board.

She said in her new position she will seek out ways to increase funding for career development travel, event funding and research awards. McGreehan also said she would like to see more student involvement in GPSC.

“The increased involvement by graduate and profession students will allow GPSC to better serve and represent the interests of these students,” McGreehan said in a Q&A with the Daily Egyptian. “It is important for students to be aware of the challenges faced by the university, which will have direct impact on their experiences as Salukis.”

In the role of vice president for student affairs will be Clay Awsumb, a doctoral student from Belleville studying sociology. This year, Awsumb was a member of the council’s executive committee and chaired its investigatory committee on USG grievances.

Awsumb said he wants to see GPSC engage in “direct advocacy that realigns administrative decision-making with the mission scope of graduate and professional education.”

Administrative transparency and communication with the council will be an area of focus for him in the upcoming year, he said.

GPSC also selected the following four members as Graduate Council representatives:

  • Sheena Hart, a second-year law student
  • Derrick McDowell, a first-year law student
  • Jordan Maddox, a first-year law student
  • Lauran Schaefer, a doctoral student in communication studies

In closing, outgoing President Woudenberg said it would be important next year for all the council members to stay involved in GPSC and continue advocating for graduate students.

“It’s going to be hard for the next few years, and it’s probably going to get worse before it gets better,” Woudenberg said. “It’s going to depend on students — on how loud you are, how impactful you are and how present you are.”

Staff writer Marnie Leonard can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @marsuzleo.

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