Graduate Council Elects New Officers

Cross-school body will seek greater voice in University decisions

The newly-elected officials of the Harvard Graduate Council, which represents the student body of the University’s graduate schools, are set to take office next week, saying they are ready to tackle a range of issues, including calendar reform and development in Allston.

Though Christopher Laconi, who was elected president of the council last month, said that the council’s primary goal in the upcoming months will be to unify students from across Harvard’s eleven different graduate and professional schools, he also said that they would try to push the central administration to give the graduate students greater voice in University decisions.

The council has not yet formally met with President-elect Drew G. Faust, but is planning to do so before the fall semester begins, according to Robert J. Carrasquillo, the council’s vice president of external relations.

“Finding out how the expansion to Allston affects the various graduate schools is a top priority,” Laconi said.

He added that calendar reform, which was part of a campaign led by the undergraduate student government this spring, is also a “huge issue” for many graduate students. He said that the council wants to determine how calendar change, which would move first semester exams before winter break, could enable graduate students to take classes at other schools within Harvard.

“We certainly would love the possibility of taking classes or enrolling at other graduate schools without missing out on spring break,” said Laconi, a student at the Kennedy School of Government.

Carrasquillo said that another priority for the council is to become more recognizable among graduate school students.

“We want to let them know that we are actually there and are a viable resource,” he said, adding that the council will make a large showing at each schools’ orientation activities in the fall.

Though the Undergraduate Council endorsed the Stand for Security’s campaign to raise the wages of Harvard’s unionized security guards this spring, Laconi said that he does not expect the Graduate Council to play an active role in campus activism.

“We don’t take part in taking stances on partisan political issues,” he said.

Yet last year, the council supported a campaign to divest from the Sudan-linked oil company Sinopec. Laconi said that the position the incoming council will take on the Sudan divestment issue has “yet to be determined” by the representatives.

The other graduate students elected to serve in the meeting May 16 include Ashley R. Pollock as vice president for communications, James Wang as vice president for internal operations, Adam Cohen-Aslatei as vice president for events, and Jason Rafferty as vice president for student advocacy.

—Staff writer Kevin Zhou can be reached at