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Graduate Student Council Holds Presidential Elections

By James Camp

Photography Editor

In contrast to this year’s UA elections, the Graduate Student Council elections concluded smoothly as Soulaymane Kachani G won the presidential race, with the office of Vice President going to Ryan J. Kershner G.

The remaining races were uncontested: Krishnan Sriram G was elected Secretary, and J. Alan Groff G won the position of Treasurer.

Kachani, who would otherwise have run uncontested, resigned his nomination before the elections to give others a fair chance to run. Kachani was then renominated at the meeting and ran against Christopher S. Protz G and J. Alan Groff G.

Elections included debate

The GSC elections featured a speech by each candidate followed by a question-and-answer period with the candidates answering as a panel. Questions occasionally touched on prior leadership experience, but candidates focused mainly on graduate student issues and the various roles of the GSC.

Kachani said his main goal would be to improve communications with the administration, graduate departments, and the students the GSC represents. “The GSC needs to be the brain of the administration,” he said.

To better communicate with students, Kachani intends to improve the GSC’s publication, the Graduate Student News, and to work more closely with MIT’s student press. He also hopes to continue last year’s successful Orientation week in order to help graduate students get acquainted with the GSC and help them get a good start on life at MIT.

Finally, Kachani hopes to build ties with other student organizations and provide social events for graduate students in addition to continuing the GSC’s tradition of focusing on key issues such as housing and graduate advising.

Kershner sprinkled his speech with buzzwords such as empowerment, visibility, and sustainability, noting that the administration’s willingness to ask the GSC for guidance depends on maintaining the Council’s strong membership and reputation.

“I have a strong interest in maintaining a legacy of involvement,” Kershner said, pointing out that the Council offers its members the chance to make a difference.

Sriram noted that the GSC’s basic problem is a lack of communication with the students it represents. As secretary, he said, he intends to reach out toward students through more aggressive publicity and features on the GSC web site.

Groff says his main goal as treasurer will be to provide accessibility to funding for GSC-sponsored student groups. As part of this goal, Groff intends to break the funding cycle into shorter periods so groups will not have to apply months in advance.

Officers begin in May

According to current GSC president Luis A. Ortiz G, the new officers will not begin their terms for another month. Officers-elect will take their offices in a brief ceremony at the May general council meeting.

Several new committee chairs will begin their duties in May as well. Committee chairs have been selected for three of the GSC’s standing committees, with the Activities committee scheduled to choose new co-chairs Monday.

Officers represent diverse fields

Kachani, an Operations Research student, is a long-term member of the GSC and served as chair of its Academics, Research, and Careers committee during the past year.

Kershner, of the department of Materials Science and Engineering, has served the GSC as a representative since October, during which time he organized a variety of joint GSC-Sloan acitivities.

Sriram is a Mechanical Engineering student and has served the GSC for one year as a member at large.

Groff is a student in the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology (HST), has served the GSC as HST Representative, and has participated actively in the Shakespeare Ensemble and Graduate Christian Fellowship.