GSA Officer Elections for 2018-2019 will take place online April 9th – 12th.
“Jessy for President: Fighting for Living Wages, Transparency, Respect, and a Better UB for All.”
At a time when the President of UB is making over half a million dollars yearly, while graduate TA stipends are as low as $10,500, it is time for a change in the way UB treats their graduate students. All too often we hear about proposed fee increases, without being given a clear explanation as to why they are needed or seeing improvements in services. UB graduate students are tired of having unjust fee increases placed on them every semester and not seeing tangible results. We want the university administration to stop pretending they know what’s best for us, be transparent, and start listening to the actual needs of the students.
For many of us, the decision to attend graduate school was a complicated one. Many of us are forced to work multiple jobs, on and off campus so that we can get through graduate school. Like many other graduate students, I began graduate school with no funding when I started in Fall 2015. I took out multiple loans and worked on campus, all while taking twelve credits each semester and serving as an Alternate Senator for the Sociology Graduate Student Association (SGSA). After two years of taking out the max amount of loans, I was offered a TA opportunity. While I am grateful for the opportunity to be a TA, I realize that I and other TAs are grossly underpaid for the work that we do. Many of us are given semester-by-semester appointment and are left feeling unsure about whether we will be able to get by financially in the future. President Tripathi believes graduate students should view the experience of being a TA as enough payment and see the stipends we receive as a bonus. We graduate students know all too well that experience does not pay the bills, while in graduate school, what we actually need is a living wage.
As your GSA President, I will fight for the rights of all graduate students. I believe my background in community organizing for marginalized groups in Buffalo qualifies me to be the kind of leader that the graduate population at UB needs. I will be the biggest advocate for the most marginalized groups within the graduate population. The international students that have limits placed on how much they can work, students that are funding their education themselves, parenting students who are forced to juggle school, work, and family life, and racial minority graduate students who do not see themselves represented in teachers, students, or in the UB administration. It is time for the lack of respect and lack of transparency shown to us by UB administration to end. Without us, the university could not function, but when we ask to meet with university administration, we are met with locked office doors and gun totting campus police officers. As your President, I will advocate on the behalf of all students and I will not stop until we get what we deserve.
For Vice President
“For the continued support of all students and staff in the Graduate Student Association.”
The Vice President role is of great importance to the GSA, as it is the role in charge of both working with GSA clubs and managing the GSA staff. During my first year in this role, I have successfully navigated the interviewing and hiring process for GSA staff members, even during the tumult of a new semester beginning. I have kept an open door for staff questions and concerns, with regular check-in, asking if staff feel supported. I have offered numerous make-up mandatory officer trainings to ensure that all clubs are able to operate successfully, spending with minimal time with a frozen budget. I have attended numerous meetings with graduate school administration, alongside the current President and Treasurer, to ensure that graduate student concerns are represented by as many faces as possible. I have been an active part of the Sub-Board I, Inc. Board of Directors meetings, working with members of the other student governments at UB to ensure student concerns are voiced to the university; at these same meetings I have successfully advocated for programming grants on behalf of GSA-represented clubs. I have led the Services Committee in reviewing ways to advocate for a needed GSA fee increase, working to better communicate and clarify the mandatory student activity fee. With the Services Committee, I have also led efforts to learn about self-reported GSA service utilization, to better learn which services are known to students as GSA-funded. Most notably in this regard, I developed and administered a brief survey used in conjunction with an alcohol raffle at our Mardi Gras party this year to determine if the people who utilized our programming knew about or utilized our other services. I have also sat on Finance Committee meetings with the goal of ensuring they feel supported by the E-board, and of being available to hear feedback.
Going forward, my goal is to better clarify the utility of all of GSA for all students, as well as to ensure accessibility. Where programming is currently seen as entirely made up of parties (and thought to be utilized largely by Master’s Degree students), and GSA funding as largely for Ph.D. students, my goal is making sure people are aware of both introvert-friendly, non-party programming, as well as making sure that Master’s Degree students are aware of the funding opportunities that apply to them. I want to continue to hear student voices and concerns, keeping my door (and email inbox) open. I want to encourage the growth of new and unique special interest clubs that can cross departmental barriers and bring out fascinating relationships and scholarship. I want to ensure that microphones continue to be used at meetings, and that accessibility needs that I am not currently aware of can be met. I want to ensure the staff of the GSA feel safe and supported in their jobs. Most importantly, I want to see graduate students at UB thrive, and be the best possible versions of themselves, with any support I can offer.
“Bank on me I’ll treasure your vote! Turning cents into dollars, it all adds up!”
I am running for Treasurer because I have great organization and communication skills to bring to the position. I have experience required for the position in regards to cash flow analysis and the availability of funds to meet ongoing operation costs. I am by nature very detail oriented and anticipate being very attentive to GSA forms and files. I have a unique ability to read and interpret standards, legislation and practice from industry, which was required from a previous employer. I am able to lead activities, take responsibility for correcting problems and receptive to change. I am confident that I will be able to learn the tools and software necessary to accomplish the tasks with this role quickly and efficiently. I take great pride in collaboration with my colleagues in academia and in industry. I am enthusiastic about developing organizational strategies to streamline funding matters for areas where grad students need money the most. I think the GSA does great work advocating for grad student needs, and I would greatly enjoy being a part of this organization while representing UB.
Be sure to vote!
GSA Election Committee
Ariel Noffke (Chair)- Anthropology
Aya Ali– Biomaterials
Genevieve Franck– Linguistics
Cory Holzerland– Urban Planning
Misol Kwan– Nursing
Details concerning election procedure can be found in the 2018 Election Code.