The UNC Graduate and Professional Student Government is holding elections on Tuesday. Two candidates, Zachary Boyce and Theodore Nollert, are running for president of the GPSG.
Zachary Boyce is a graduate student dual enrolled in the School of Law and the School of Library and Information Science.
Boyce has experience in the Graduate Studies Senate as a senator representing the law school and chair of the Rules and Judiciary Committee. He hopes that this experience will be useful to him if he were to be elected.
“I just hope that through the work and experience I’ve had in the legislature, we’ll be able to continue some of this reform if I’m elected president,” Boyce said.
When asked what he would do first if elected, Boyce said his focus would be on providing personal protective equipment for the campus community.
“The first thing I hope to do is join in the conversation with the university administration about the need for PPE, COVID-related protective gear on campus,” Boyce said.
Specifically, he said the need for KN95 masks is one of his top priorities, especially with the campus operating entirely in person.
“There has been no indication from administration of a plan to provide this to students or faculty,” Boyce said. “But there have been these expectations and requests for us to return to in-person proceedings.”
Théodore Nollert, third-year doctoral student in the Department of English and Comparative Literature.
Nollert served as President of the Comparative Literature and English Graduate Student Organization and is Director of Employment Affairs in the current administration of GPSG President Neel Swamy.
Using his experience both at the department and on a broader level, Nollert said he wants to work with other GPSG members and improve the quality of life for graduate and professional students.
“Being president means having a plan, but it also means supporting a lot of people who have their own plans,” he said.
One of the main reasons Nollert said he is running is to increase the democratic diffusion of power through external appointments. He said he wanted to give responsibility and power to students who are not necessarily already involved in the GPSG.
The first thing Nollert said he hopes to get started if elected is a freshman mentorship program that would help graduate and professional students get settled.
He said this program would require a large number of people to join, so he wants to reach out and start building the program as soon as possible, hopefully over the summer.
Both candidates said they would be delighted to work with student body president-elect Teddy Vann and that working with her is essential.
Aaron Pattillo-Lunt, a second-year doctoral student in the History Department who plans to vote in this election, said the issues for graduate and professional students revolve heavily around compensation.
“Any candidate really needs to focus on the fact that graduate students are seriously underpaid for their work,” Pattillo-Lunt said.
He said with high rents and lack of health care, it’s hard to be a graduate student and live in the area.
“If the University wants to continue to have a diverse and highly qualified applicant pool, it will have to think long and hard about funding,” Pattillo-Lunt said.
The link to vote in the GPSG elections will go live on the Heel Life website on Tuesday and will be open for 24 hours..
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