After referendums failed to pass in two elections, administrators are stepping in to resolve tension between the Graduate and Professional Student Federation and student government that has been growing over the past year.
“I firmly believe that representation is best when it occurs locally, and so the more individuals you have that can represent their specific needs and constituencies, the better government I think we will see here at Carolina,” GPSF President Dylan Russell said in January.
Students were able to vote on two referendums in February 2016 and October 2016 — “Two For Two,” which was proposed by GPSF to split the two groups, and “Better Together,” which was proposed by Student Congress to keep the groups together.
Members of student government have expressed concerns over the split, saying it is unclear how it would impact representation on the Board of Trustees and it could harm GPSF’s voice in student government decisions.
“All of the plans that have been proposed muddy the waters on where we stand financially and that scares me,” David Joyner, former Speaker of Student Congress, said in January.
Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Winston Crisp said he will be meeting with Student Body President Bradley Opere, current Speaker of Student Congress Cole Simons and Russell to find a solution.
“The truth of the matter is, we let this go all the way to the end, being the referendum that occurred last year out of respect for the students' self-governance process,” Crisp said in December.
In the spring 2016 election on Feb. 9, neither referendum passed in an instant runoff vote. Students were able to rank the two referendums and a no-change option in order of preference, from 1 to 3. The referendum with the lowest number of votes was disqualified and the votes were redistributed to the voter’s second choice.