GAPSA fills exec board for next year

One of the positions will remain vacant until September.

by Cali Owings

Members of the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly filled five of its executive board positions for the next academic year at Wednesday nightâÄôs meeting.
Though one GAPSA newcomer from this spring will stay on for another term, none of the current vice presidents will be returning to their positions. Two are graduating, one did not get re-elected and the other two have chosen not to stay involved with GAPSA.
Between members of the executive board directing negative comments toward one another and divisions among union supporters and other members of the assembly, tension within the organization was high during the semesterâÄôs penultimate meeting.
Adair Rounthwaite, a third-year art history doctoral student who currently serves as GAPSAâÄôs at-large director, was elected as the new vice president for student affairs.
âÄúAdair is a listener first,âÄù Matt McGeachy, GAPSAâÄôs Board of Regents representative, said. He said it would be good to have fresh blood and fresh faces involved with the organization.
Matt Little, another new face on the executive board, will serve as vice president for public affairs. He will be a first-year law student in the fall. He also sits on the Lakeville City Council. He said he wanted a two-pronged approach to GAPSAâÄôs advocacy efforts that included working on the state and federal level.
Flora He, who is in the MasterâÄôs of Business Taxation Program, will be the new vice president for finance. Jesus Estrada-Perez,  a second-year American studies doctoral student, will serve on the executive board as vice president for programming.
Dana Meade, a first-year English doctoral student, was elected as vice president for grants.
The organization will operate without an executive vice president until September because the only nominated candidate, current GAPSA Executive Vice President Joanna DeLaune, did not receive more than 50 percent of the votes to take the spot.
Though she did not win the election this semester, she said she might consider applying for the position in September.
An unresolved internal affairs complaint against DeLaune was brought up during debate over her ability to fulfill the position. The complaint filed March 28 claims that she has not verified employee hours for more than a month, has failed to schedule Internal Affairs Committee  meetings and âÄúharassedâÄù a GAPSA employee over changing meeting minutes.
Ordinarily, the executive vice president is the chair of the IAC. Since the complaint is against DeLaune, the president takes over as chair of the committee. The complaint was not addressed prior to the election because of scheduling complications.
DeLaune said the charges arenâÄôt true and that it was inappropriate to bring them up in debate when she had no ability to respond.
She said she believed the complaint was brought against her because of her support of graduate assistant unionization.
Despite claims that GAPSA and union organizing efforts should be kept separate, it was a topic of discussion for a few candidates.
Bree Dalager, current vice president for student affairs, did not win re-election. Members of the assembly brought up claims that Dalager had lied in a comment on an article about her involvement with AFSCME. They also asserted Dalager lied about international students approaching her, concerned that if they did not join the union they might lose their visas.
Dalager said she purposely did not file an application for the vice president position, but she was nonetheless nominated for the spot, so she pursued it anyway.
The newly elected vice presidents take office June 1.