Physics PhD student Yony Bresler will be the interim secretary-general of the Post-Graduate Students’ Society (PGSS) for the remainder of the academic year, as announced by the student society on February 24. According to preliminary results, Bresler was elected with 541 votes, or 55.5 per cent, while his adversary Saturnin Ndandala received 282 votes, or 29.0 per cent. 147 voters selected “no opinion.”
The results may be contested until March 1, and will be made official on March 2. According to PGSS Chief Returning Officer Colby Briggs, a complaint against one or both of the candidates is currently under consideration.
The position became vacant following the announcement of previous Secretary-General Juan Camilo Pinto’s resignation on January 20. The resignation followed a November 13 motion of censure against Pinto passed by the Board of Directors, and a vote of no confidence by the executive on December 10.
“I’ve been a PGSS councillor for [two and a half] years, and I’ve previously considered getting more involved,” said Bresler in an email to The Daily. “When this situation arose, I felt that I could be well-suited to fill this interim position given my existing knowledge of and a rapport with the PGSS.”
“The recent disturbances at PGSS [have] impeded the society from running smoothly,” Bresler wrote in his campaign statement, emphasizing the need for “greater support and coordination from the secretary-general.”
Bresler indicated that he had no plans to run for the position again next year, and would focus on “realistic” short-term goals. He told The Daily that he planned “to work with and help the current team in their various portfolios to try and get as much as we can done; work to increase transparency, between the various bodies of PGSS and to our members; and to represent graduate student interests broadly, and in particular in relation to the planned austerity measures.”
“I’m certain I’ll have no shortage of things to learn, but I believe that my experience will allow me to integrate quickly,” added Bresler. “I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know and working with the current team through PGSS Council, and I look forward to collaborating with them more in this capacity.”