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GPSF talks next steps after referendum fails by 41 votes

“You know grad students only make up one-third of this University’s population,” Russell said. “So to ask that we have a two-thirds threshold for something that mainly benefits graduate and professional students, I think that’s a lot to ask.”

The “Two for Two” referendum, which had GPSF split from student government, failed by 41 votes or less than one percent. The referendum received a nearly 66 percent yes vote.

The “Better Together” referendum, which kept the two governments together but made some reforms, also failed, receiving just over a quarter of the vote.

Cole Simons, speaker of Student Congress, said as a result of the election, student government leaders would be talking about election results with Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Winston Crisp.

“I think it puts us in a spot where you’re going to see us at the table talking about the future of student government,” Simons said.

Russell said GPSF is in the process of figuring out their next steps.

“What the University has to decide is are they going to make us go through the drama of another election again, are they going to go through the drama of an entire 37 percent of its population feeling marginalized,” Russell said. “Or are they going to finally give graduate and professional students a voice.”

Katie Stember, a member of the Future of GPSF committee, said GPSF has two options — the administration could intervene or there could be a revote.

“If we go to a revote, okay, but I think people are tired of voting for this,” Stember said.

Brian Coussens, vice president for internal affairs of GPSF, said if the administration takes action, they need to do so before the next general election in the spring.

“So ideally the administration will intercede now and do something,” Coussens said.

Coussens said he has filed over 80 alleged violations for spreading misinformation about the election, mainly against the “No for Both” campaign, which fought against any form of change to student government.

“These were not registered as groups until 11 hours before the election,” he said.

Russell said the allegations have not yet gone to the Board of Elections.

Simons said one way of proceeding is to introduce the idea of splitting to Student Congress.

“If it’s introduced in front of Congress, Congress will vote on whether they think it’s a change that should be made and if the majority of Congress thinks it’s a change that should be made, then it goes to student referendum again and they only need the 50 percent plus one mark,” Simons said.

Russell said he hopes the situation will be resolved quickly so GPSF can focus more of its energy on helping students.

“We’re tired of putting all of our energy into elections, because we want to represent students,” Russell said.

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