President-elect Texanna Martin will succeed Priscila Poliana as the next president of the Graduate and Professional Student Association.
Martin, who is pursuing a master’s degree in public administration, won the position Thursday evening with 198 out of the 389 votes cast for president. There were 417 total ballots that were cast, or about 5.2 percent of the graduate student population, according to a document with the results.
Glenda Lewis, her opponent, received 118 votes. Sixty-three voters abstained, and 10 wrote into the ballot.
Martin said she talked to organizations across campus to garner votes during her campaign, including students from the law school, the Health and Sciences Center and the Athletics Department. She said the first thing she will do as president is to continue her outreach efforts.
“My first action is going to be getting out and working with everybody and being very active with student organizations and learning a lot more now,” she said.
Valentine Fisher, who is working on his master’s degree in community and regional planning and public administration and campaign manager for Martin, said he felt confident in the president-elect’s abilities.
“I think that the skills that she’ll bring to the office of GPSA are going to be incredible,” he said. “That’s why I wanted to support her. She could have done this without me, but I was happy to just be there and support her throughout the process.”
During her campaign, one of Martin’s platforms was promoting equity and inclusion across campus. She said she has already started working on this goal by starting SafeZone training and developing a map to show locations SafeZone on campus.
“We’re trying to get that done so we can make sure that GPSA is on that map, so everybody knows if you need a SafeZone when you can come here,” she said. “That’s one of the things that I’ve been really working on as a project assistant.”
The SafeZone program was created to develop, enhance and maintain environments in schools and other social settings that are supportive to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning individuals, as well as straight identified people who care about diversity, equality and inclusion, according to the Gay Alliance.
Lewis was not present at the time of the announcements, but Martin said she wanted to thank her for the race.
“I really would like to work with her in this process, because I think that she had a lot of great ideas that will benefit this organization,” she said. “I really would welcome her to come in and be a part of it.”
Students also voted on three constitutional amendments, all of which received a majority vote, and so were sent on to the Board of Regents for approval.
The first amendment consolidates the Executive and Legislative Finance Committees in order to streamline the budget and appropriation processes. The second makes the position of chief of staff official per the GPSA constitution.
The final amendment grants nine hours of tuition remission to the chief of staff and the council chair, while increasing tuition remission for the GPSA president from nine hours to up to 12 credit hours. This means the president would get 12 credit hours of tuition paid, and the chief of staff and the council chair would get nine credit hours of their tuition paid.
Martin said she was pleased with the passage of the three amendments.
“The chief of staff and the council chair, they work hard to make sure that student voices get hard,” she said. “The chief of staff is a very important position, just as the council chair is. I’m very happy that that got approved.”