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Graduate students elect new leaders for senate

As the end of the academic year looms ahead, the University’s Graduate Student Senate elected its new leadership Friday afternoon. Positions filled during the election included those of vice-president, secretary, treasurer, and two spots for GSS representative-at-large.

Current GSS president Zach Hilpert offered compliments to the newly elected president, Deanna Vatan Woodhouse.

“Deanna needs no words of advice from me; she is more than capable of leading [GSS], and we are all extremely lucky to have a leader like her,” said Hilpert.

Woodhouse, a University doctoral student in higher education administration, offered her goals for the coming term amid hugs of support and congratulations from fellow graduate students.

Those goals include changes in communication through better PR, stronger collaboration between councils, and better advocacy of issues.

“You can’t complain if you’re not involved,” Woodhouse said. “I view BGSU as my laboratory, and I want to change how grad students are treated and increase involvement.”

Laying out additional goals for GSS, Woodhouse hopes to further the credibility and presence of GSS on campus in the coming year. She believes this can be done by listening to general “campus talk” and keeping lines of communication open.

Other issues on the GSS agenda included the discussion, vote and eventual passage of a recommendation for the University to create a veterans and armed forces committee. This request, submitted in part by representative-at-large Stephen Swanson, is to help identify the unique needs of University students who have served or are currently serving, in all branches of the armed forces.

Swanson explained his reasoning behind the legislation: “I didn’t know that both veterans and those serving on active duty face so many problems as students. One example of veterans slipping through the cracks of the system is when a 25 year-old has to spend his first year on campus living in a dorm.”

And while there is a Veteran Affairs office located on campus, Swanson believes that the office is too narrowly focused and yields little power for suggestions – suggestions which GSS hopes will be made and implemented with the creation of a veterans ‘ armed forces committee.

A final discussion within the meeting included inquires on the progression of the University’s policies to exclude certain types of abortion in its minimal insurance coverage and what action GSS would take.

“Any further action is dependent upon how the Board of Trustees responds to our letters,” said Hilpert. “Currently, we are waiting for a response.”

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