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Sunday June 26th

Meet the candidates for UNC Graduate and Professional Student Government president

Theodore Nollert (left), a third-year PhD student in the English and Comparative Literature Department, is running for president of the Graduate and Professional Student Government alongside Zachary Boyce (right), a second-year JD master of science and information sciences candidate. Photos courtesy of Theodore Nollert and Zachary Boyce.
Buy Photos Theodore Nollert (left), a third-year PhD student in the English and Comparative Literature Department, is running for president of the Graduate and Professional Student Government alongside Zachary Boyce (right), a second-year JD master of science and information sciences candidate. Photos courtesy of Theodore Nollert and Zachary Boyce.

The UNC Graduate and Professional Student Government is holding elections on Tuesday. Two candidates, Zachary Boyce and Theodore Nollert, are running for president of the GPSG.

Zachary Boyce

Zachary Boyce is a graduate student dually enrolled in the School of Law and the School of Information and Library Science.

Boyce has experience in the Graduate Senate as a senator representing the School of Law and chairperson of the rules and judiciary committee. He hopes that experience will be useful if he were to be elected.

“I’m just hoping that from the work and the experience that I’ve gained in the legislature, we’ll be able to continue some of that reform if I’m elected as the president,” Boyce said.

When asked what he would do first if elected, Boyce said he would focus on personal protective equipment for the campus community. 

“The first thing I hope to do is to jump into the conversation with the University administration about the need for PPE, protective equipment related to COVID on campus,” Boyce said.

Specifically, he said the need for KN95 masks is one of his top priorities, especially with the campus operating fully in person.

“There’s been no indication from the administration about a plan to provide that to students or faculty,” Boyce said. “But there have been these expectations and demands that we return to in-person proceedings.”

Theodore Nollert

Theodore Nollert, a third-year doctoral student in the Department of English and Comparative Literature.

Nollert has served as president of the Comparative Literature and English Graduate Student organization and is the director of employment affairs in current GPSG President Neel Swamy's administration.

Using his experience at both the department and a broader level, Nollert said he wants to work with other members of the GPSG and improve the quality of life for graduate and professional students.

“The position of president means having a plan, but it also means supporting a lot of people who have plans of their own,” he said.

One of the main reasons Nollert said he is running is to increase the democratic spread of power through external appointments. He said he wants to fan out responsibility and power to students who aren’t necessarily involved in GPSG already. 

The first thing Nollert said he hopes to get off the ground if elected is a first-year mentorship program that would help graduate and professional students get settled.

He said this program would require buy-in from a lot of people, so he wants to reach out and begin to build the program as soon as possible, hopefully over the summer.

Both candidates said they would be excited to work with Student Body President-elect Teddy Vann and that working with her is essential.

GPSG elections

Aaron Pattillo-Lunt, a second-year doctoral student in the Department of History who is planning to vote in this election, said graduate and professional student issues revolve heavily around pay.

“Any candidate really needs to be focused on the fact that graduate students are severely underpaid for their work,” Pattillo-Lunt said.

He said that with high rent prices and lacking health care, it’s difficult to be a graduate student and live in the area.

“If the University wants to continue to have a diverse and really well-qualified applicant pool, it’s going to need to think really hard and long about funding,” Pattillo-Lunt said.

The link to vote in GPSG elections will go live on the Heel Life website on Tuesday and will be open for 24 hours.

university@dailytarheel.com

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