The race between three second-year UNM Law School students ended Friday when Rachel Jenks became the new president of the Graduate and Professional Student Association by 29 votes.
GPSA Election chairman Tony Long said Jenks had 159 votes, Dathan Weems had 130 and Keith Valles had 44.
He said five votes were disqualified because social security numbers were not filled in on the ballots. Three people voted for Law School write-in candidates who were in their last year and could not return to fill the presidency — probably a practical joke, Long said.
Jenks said she was at the Law School when she received a phone call from Long, who addressed her as madam president. She said she was still in shock when she spoke to the Daily Lobo later that day.
“It feels amazing,” she said. “I’m really excited and happy about the turnout.”
Jenks said she and a small group of supporters continued campaigning and educating students about GPSA during the four-day voting period. She said she sent e-mails, called students from the University directory, put flyers in departmental mailboxes and encouraged people to vote.
“It was really a group effort to reach as many people as possible,” she said.
Jenks said the first thing she wants to do is sit down with outgoing GPSA President Brian Col¢n so she can pick his brain about how he runs the organization.
Weems was at a barbeque at the Law School with Jenks and hugged her when they heard the results. He said the loss will not stop him from being friends with his opponents.
Weems said campaigning over the four-day period was tough.
“You want to be everywhere at once, and you have to be a student at the same time,” he said.
He said he was a little heartbroken by the results, but Jenks worked hard, which shows she will be good for the job.
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Weems said he will be active at the law school but is unsure if he will be directly involved with GPSA.
Valles said he wishes Jenks well and he wants to continue working with GPSA, its Student Research Allocation Committee and the University. He said the race was fair and clean and he hopes to see more graduate students outside of the Law School in next year’s presidential race.
Valles was at home when he heard the results.
“I’m disappointed,” he said. “I thought I was the best candidate.”
Long also said the race was fair.
“I think by the time they get to graduate school, they’ve learned not to break the rules,” he said.
Long, who has been GPSA election chairman for two years, is graduating in December and said that he made many good friends from attending conferences and networking through GPSA.
The UNM community is invited to Jenks’ inauguration on April 23 at 2:30 p.m. at the University House. GPSA is asking those planning on attending to notify it by calling 277-3808.