GAPSA president resigns position

JP Leider

For the second time in five months, the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly experienced a presidential resignation.

As of Monday, Executive Vice President Suzanne Sobotka replaced Dmitry Zhdanov as president of GAPSA.

Zhdanov cited a large academic workload as the primary reason for his resignation.

A doctoral student studying information systems, Zhdanov said invitations to conferences to present research will keep him from the University for extended periods.

“Part of the president’s role is to be a representative and to be able to react quickly, and I think that particular capability would be challenging for me,” he said.

At the end of the last academic year, then-president Karen Buhr resigned for ostensibly the same reasons as Zhdanov, although her departure was somewhat muddied by an internal investigation into allegations of improper conduct.

Buhr was being investigated for allegations that she discussed internal GAPSA affairs with members of the Minnesota Student Association. Buhr resigned without GAPSA taking any official action.

For serving four months as GAPSA president, Zhdanov will receive $1,400 of a $4,000 annual stipend.

Sobotka, a past president of the School of Public Health’s student senate and an assembly member, said she is “sorry to see” Zhdanov go, but is looking forward to assuming the presidency.

“Obviously I didn’t foresee it, but I’m excited to take it on,” she said.

She will work with GAPSA to promote communication between the assembly and students, Sobotka said, in addition to expanding GAPSA’s roles in community involvement, transportation and the Capitol.

Law student and vice president of administrative affairs Josh Colburn said GAPSA’s executive board is taking on Sobotka’s previous responsibilities so she can concentrate on her new role.

Jerry Rinehart, vice provost for Student Affairs, said transition at the start of a year always is difficult.

“On the other hand, it was probably better for everyone that it was recognized early,” he said. “We have seen situations where people take on more than they can handle and end up not doing well in anything.”

An executive vice president will be chosen at the Oct. 11 assembly.