By Sarah Watson
Both branches of student government at the University of Iowa swore in and elected members at their first meetings for the next academci year on Tuesday.
The Graduate & Professional Student Government elected its president at Tuesday’s meeting. Dexter Golinghorst was a delegate for the College of Law in GPSG last year and was the president of the Iowa Student Bar Association.
“My biggest goal is to make sure that Graduate and Professional Students have a seat at the table that’s heard when major decisions are being made,” Golinghorst said. UISG is often what people think of when people think of university governments, when in fact we are an equal branch of the government, so just ensuring GPSG has that seat at the table.”
He said he plans to advocate for government budget models that keeps cost of higher education in mind, especially in light of the trend of the Iowa Legislature making cuts to regent universities.
The undergraduate parallel to GPSG, the UI Student Government, held its first meeting with newly elected President Hira Mustafa and Vice President Heath Schintler. Student speakers of the Senate were elected, and the UISG executive cabinet was sworn in.
After positions were shifted, 11 senator positions and two vacant executive cabinet positions are yet to be filled for the 2018-19 school year. The open Senate seats are due to reserved independent seats not being filled & senators elected being appointed to the executive cabinet.
Mustafa said she wasn’t worried about filling the positions considering the amount of interest in UISG senatorial positions for the spring elections. There were 89 senators on the ballot, and 32 were elected out of 37 senator spots. After Tuesday’s meeting, there are 26 at-large senators after four elected senators were sworn in to the executive cabinet as well as a speaker & speaker pro-tem were elected. Mustafa said they would be sure to market the positions for next year.
Although it’s her first meeting as a senator, Kristen Young, next year’s Black Constituency senator, said previous UISG members such as newly elected Speaker Connor Gronski reached out to her to ensure she was prepared for structure of meetings. She said it enabled her to she be vocal and productive at the first meeting of the year.
“People [in UISG] are very welcoming and willing to educate students on how processes work,” Young said. “My first priority is inclusivity for UISG throughout the organization.”
Looking ahead, Mustafa said she looked forward to working with a diverse group of students, who know her administration will continue to work hard to make sure representation of ideas and identities in UISG was similar to the wider student population.
“I am super excited to get started, I have been waiting for this moment for a long time, and I’m excited to see all of us take this first step together,” Mustafa said.