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Executive Council votes in new leaders

BY ARIANA WITT | APRIL 26, 2010 7:30 AM

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The University of Iowa’s Executive Council of Graduate and Professional Students elected Lyndsay Harshman as its new president for the 2010-2011 academic year on Sunday night.

Harshman won by a 9-3 vote, beating council Vice President Mosah Fernandez-Goodman.

The group hosted its first formal dinner party, after being created three years ago, with an audience of roughly 30 attendees to commemorate the council’s new officers and committee heads.

Harshman spoke with UI President Sally Mason about family and university concerns while dining on lasagna and gourmet deserts. Mason, along with other UI officials, attended the event and shared their appreciation for the council and UI graduate and professional students.

Mason noted 22 of the UI’s graduate programs were recently ranked by U.S. News & World Report in the top 10 compared with other public universities.

“I don’t know of many institutions that can say that,” she said.

Harshman, a third-year student in the Carver College of Medicine, said she was excited about filling the new position.

“I’m looking forward to the next year when we can start extending our branches throughout the university community,” she said.

Harshman, who joined the council two years ago and is the current president of the medical school’s Student Government, said she hopes to build stronger ties among the UI graduate colleges during her presidency.

“Even though [the Executive Council] exists, we all tend to stay within our own colleges,” she said. “I want to find more ways for the colleges to engage with one another.”

The Executive Council parted ways with the UI Student Government in the spring of 2009, when it decided to act as an allocations committee for distributing student-activity fee money to graduate-student organizations.

Eric Kaiser, the outgoing council president, said this accomplishment was one of the most important decisions made by the organization in the past year.

Graduate students also elected new members to the council’s Cabinet on Sunday.

They voted in heads for three newly created committees, including Student Advocacy and Governmental Relations Committee, which will be headed by council member Justin Randall.

“Hopefully, we’ll do more in Des Moines and with [the Iowa City] City Council,” Randall said. “But our main concerns are with funds available for teaching assistants and research grants for graduate students.”

The Executive Council will have all of its 12 leadership positions filled for next fall, which the group was unable to do in previous years.

“The people elected are excited to be a part of this group, and I’m just excited and looking forward to working with them,” Harshman said.

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