2015 Election


The GSA Election Committee is pleased to announce the results of the 2015-2016 GSA Officer Elections and Referendum:


Christopher Atkinson: 299 votes
Kristin Slonsky: 241 votes
(89 abstentions)

Vice President:

Amy Miu: 498 votes (131 abstentions)


Karl Reza Sarvestani: 515 votes (114 abstentions)

These elected candidates will officially take office as of June 1, 2015.

Referendum Results:

Mandatory: 415

Voluntary: 214

Thank you to all of the students who voted!


GSA Election Committee

Kevin Stout (EC Chair)
Joshua Flaccavento (EC)
Alison Vitale (EC)
Juhi Roy (EC)
Luis Ulloa (EC)


The Candidates

For President

Christopher Atkinson
“ATKINSON for GSA President: A PhD candidate and attorney wanting to advocate for your interests.”rsz_chris_atkinson
VOTE ATKINSON for GSA President.My name is Chris Atkinson and I am a fifth year PhD student in American Studies. I am running for GSA President because I would like to work to improve the sense of community among graduate students. If elected, I intend to:

  1. Increase the frequency of Java Junction (free coffee and doughnut) days
  2. Develop new events for graduate students that are either free or subsidized
  3. Work with local businesses to provide discounts for graduate students
  4. Expand on-campus graduate student programming
  5. Improve opportunities for cross-department networking and communication
  6. Seek to raise the money available to each grad student for conference funding

I have experience working with the GSA and student governments. For three years I was a GSA Senator and for the last two years I have been the President of Sub Board 1, a student owned not-for-profit here at UB that provides many popular student services. I am a licensed attorney in New York who understands how to evaluate facts, construct an argument, and get results. I was a TA with the Department of Transnational Studies for four years and recognize the challenges faced by graduate students with low income, high debt, and anxiety about employment prospects. I will do my best to make sure that your mandatory fee dollars are spent wisely.

My experience and qualifications will help me to calmly access and work through challenges. The GSA President sets an agenda, but must also be flexible as new ideas emerge. I have developed negotiation and management skills as the President of Sub Board 1. Importantly, I have established relationships with UB administrators that I can use to help advocate for graduate student needs. I am prepared and eager to serve as your GSA President. You should vote for me because of these experiences:

  1. Three year GSA Senator – served on several committees between 2010-2013
  2. President of Sub Board 1 – the student owned not-for-profit at UB, 2013-2015
  3. Licensed New York attorney
  4. TA in Transnational Studies Department, 2010-2014

I am asking you for the opportunity to be your advocate as the 2015-2016 President of the GSA.

VOTE ATKINSON for GSA President.


Kristin Slonsky
“Vote for the candidate with the proven record of sincerity, eagerness, and involvement!”rsz_1candidatepic
The position of President of the GSA requires a very unique set of skills and attributes: the ability to communicate effectively with diverse groups, the capacity to make interpersonal connections with graduate students across departmental lines, and the readiness to become involved in causes that matter. Although I possess these skills and attributes naturally, nevertheless I have made every effort to improve them through service on behalf of my fellow graduate students in the department of Classics and my own personal development.
As a child of parents serving the United States military, I spent the majority of my childhood living overseas in different Asian countries, such as the Philippines and Japan, where language barriers inspired me to attempt innovative ways to understand and empathize with a person of another cultural background. This extensive exposure to different cultures during my developmental years has gifted me with a great willingness to converse with strangers, which has in turn transferred over to my effectiveness as a public speaker.
As a Ph.D. student at UB, I have always been interested in interacting with graduate students from within and outside my department, which is why I became the Classics GSA Senator as soon as I was eligible. I volunteered for the position because I enjoy hearing about what’s going on in our graduate community directly from the mouths of each department’s representative and want to take advantage of every opportunity for interaction and self-improvement. In the past four years, I have presented at graduate symposia in the departments of Romance Languages and Linguistics, Anthropology, Sociology, and History and I am proud of the fact that graduate students in all these departments know my capabilities and my character.
I did not make the decision to run for President of the GSA in the 2015-2016 school year lightly or suddenly. On the contrary, I decided that I would campaign for a position at last year’s electoral debate. Therefore, in order to become better acquainted with the ins and outs pertaining to graduate student funding issues, I volunteered to be a member of the finance committee. This experience has reaffirmed my desire to become president and helped me determine some of the concerns which will be at the forefront of my campaign.
• Determining how to modify funding regulations so that everyone has the opportunity to afford a conference
• Encouraging a reevaluation of the MDRF parameters for research funding so that they will be less exclusive
• Hosting info sessions on how to acquire funding to further graduate student collaboration
If I am fortunate enough to be elected, I promise that I will make every effort to address these concerns. More importantly, I hope that all graduate students will see me as a president who is actively interested in the issues that affect their lives and eager to help.

For Vice President

Amy Miu
“YES and AMY are both three letters. Don’t think that’s a coincidence. Vote for Amy!”rsz_amy_miu
My name is Amy Miu from the Classics department and I’m running for GSA Vice-President. I’ve served on a few student councils in different positions throughout my lifetime (i.e. secretary, treasurer, vice-president) and learned, though the titles are distinct with their own job descriptions and responsibilities, the work has just got to be done; in our case, to maintain the campus services we currently rely on, to ensure the fee is benefitting the graduate population at large as well as the ability to benefit future graduate peeps. So I hope you consider me a worthwhile candidate to represent you and your best interests. That and Socrates said you should. I’m just saying.

For Treasurer

Karl Reza Sarvestani
“Experience: Five years GSA Senate. Two years in Finance Committee. One year as GSA Treasurer.”rsz_karl_reza_sarvestani
Hi. I’m Karl Reza Sarvestani, a fifth year Ph.D. student in linguistics and your incumbent GSA Treasurer. The GSA’s budget is funded by student fees, and my primary goal this year has been to make it as convenient and as fair as possible for graduate students to access the funds they need.
In addition to my experience as Treasurer, I’ve been an active participant in my departmental club for the past six years, and represented it for five years in the GSA senate. I also served on the GSA Finance Committee during the 2013-204 year past year. This year I have also been a representative of the GSA on the SBI Board of Directors. All of these experiences have given me the broad view of GSA financial processes necessary to help ensure that they work as effectively and efficiently as possible
This year as Treasurer, I have introduced several reforms to GSA Financial policy such as ensuring fairness in the Student Activity Fee Waiver policy, updating student travel reimbursement to be more equitable, bringing the Mark Diamond Research Fund review process in line with other funding agencies, streamlining the approval process for Community Outreach applications, and installing safeguards to prevent abuse of GSA funds.
I have enjoyed the opportunities that I have had to serve the graduate student body in these several capacities, and I look forward to continuing to do so again in the coming year. I’d like to help make sure that y’all get your money’s worth out of the GSA.

Be sure to vote!


GSA Election Committee
Kevin Stout– Political Science
Luis Ulloa– Linguistics
Josh Flaccavento– English
Juhi Roy– Transnational Studies
Alison Vitale– Evolution, Ecology & Behavior

Details concerning election procedure can be found in the 2015 Election Code.