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GSC pushes internal election as two seats remain vacant

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The Graduate Student Council (GSC) heard the platforms of three candidates running for two vacant seats on the council. But a failure to reach the two-thirds quorum in the Wednesday meeting resulted in the vote being postponed until the council’s next meeting scheduled for later this month.

Amid a lack of participation from graduate students running for councilor and a historically low voter turnout, the GSC filled only 13 of 15 open seats on the council through the April student government elections. 

At the council’s previous meeting, however, four candidates — former ASSU vice president Cricket Bidleman ’21 M.A. ’22, second-year aeronautics and astronautics Ph.D. student Jason Anderson, Chloe Glikbarg ’21 M.S. ’22 and Will Yin ’22 — announced their intentions to fill a vacant at-large seat. The other open seat, which was designated for a representative from the School of Earth, has been converted to an at-large seat but may be converted back if an interested candidate approaches the council.

The GSC was slated to fill the seats through an internal election on Wednesday, but due to multiple personal conflicts, councilors did not meet the attendance threshold necessary to conduct the election. Still, representatives listened to the candidates’ plans and asked questions in preparation for the upcoming vote.

Bidleman, unique among the candidates, comes to the GSC with extensive experience in Stanford student government. As an undergraduate, Bidleman served as communications director for the Associated Students of Stanford University (ASSU) and was elected as ASSU vice president in May before she stepped down from the position later that month, citing self-care.

Bidleman said that as councilor, she would focus her efforts on advocating for accessibility and representation for the graduate student population by increasing the frequency of the food pantry and working with disability groups on campus.

“I would like to represent the graduate perspective with the building of the permanent disability community center, because I feel like aside from the graduate fellow we are planning to hire, this will be more of a space for undergrads,” Bidleman said. “So, I want to make sure that graduate students are represented.”

Anderson, a second-year aeronautics and astronautics Ph.D. student, emphasized the importance of making small but realistic changes that will materially impact the lives of graduate students. His goals include fixing mail problems at the Escondido Village Graduate Residences (EVGR), pushing for retirement benefits for graduate students and improving the billing system for graduate students.

“I did my undergrad at Berkeley, so I come from a culture where students stick up for themselves,” Anderson said. “I believe that there are very small, tangible things that Stanford can do to make our lives easier.”

As an EVGR resident, Anderson has advocated repeatedly for graduate student interests in the complex and said he believes that he will be able to make a more substantial impact on such issues as a GSC councilor.

Glikbarg echoed Anderson’s concerns about the EVGR mail system, adding that she also wants to tackle objectives related to social engagement at the graduate level. Glikbarg said that she hopes to leverage her connections with Residential and Dining Enterprises and Stanford Environmental Health and Safety in order to improve the social opportunities for graduate students on campus.

Given that none of the candidates ran for GSC during the normal election period, councilor Tim Vrakas ’21 M.S. ’22 asked why they were choosing to run now. Glikbarg said that she had not solidified her academic plans for the upcoming year, and Anderson said that he was confused by ASSU communication about the election proceedings. Bidleman, who had run under the executive slate during the normal election period, referred councilors to statements she has provided about why she resigned from her position.

Yin, who had announced that he was running for a council seat at last week’s meeting, officially ended his campaign and endorsed Glikbarg and Anderson for the two seats.

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Tammer Bagdasarian '24 is a Staff Writer for The Daily planning to major in Communication. In his free time he likes to go for long walks and imagine what freshman year on campus would have been like. Contact the news sections at news 'at' stanforddaily.com.