GAPSA plans to revise its constitution

Chad Hamblin

The Graduate and Professional Student Assembly plans to change its constitution to better serve students, President Abu Jalal said Wednesday.

Jalal said he is part of a GAPSA committee formed over the summer to revise its current constitution. The committee will present a draft to the GAPSA Assembly at its first meeting on Sept. 22, Jalal said.

Dan Miller, vice president for public affairs and member of the revision committee, no relation to Minnesota Daily reporter Dan Miller, said the changes to the constitution were needed.

He said the failed impeachment of former GAPSA President Todd Powell brought on the need for a revised constitution.

Under the previous constitution, executive board members, including the president, could team up in order to do whatever they wanted without the Assembly having the power to remove them from office, Miller said.

“All the exec board is elected by the Assembly, but when it comes to removing them, it was only the exec board that had the authority,” Miller said.

Last year, without many Assembly members’ knowing, the executive board moved to impeach the president.

“If there’s something as serious as removing its highest officer, then the Assembly should know about it,” said Director-at-Large Chris Pappas, who is also a member of the revision committee.

Pappas wrote a revision to the constitution last year, allowing the Assembly to impeach executive board members, including the president. The Assembly ratified the revision last year.

But this year, other changes need to be made, Executive Vice President Karen Buhr, who is also on the revision committee, said.

The changes are necessary, she said, because GAPSA has grown a lot in the last three or four years.

“It’s really related to growing pains,” she said. “We’re dealing with more people on staff, bigger budget and a bigger presence on campus and with the administration.”

“A lot of it is stuff that should have been updated a while ago, but never got put in,” Pappas said.

One of the proposed changes creates a new human resources committee to help clearly define GAPSA members’ official responsibilities.

Buhr, who heads the committee, said unclear responsibilities have been a source of tension in the past. The new committee is also designed to help smooth over conflicts between GAPSA members.

The draft also revises the GAPSA grant policy to include grants for graduate and professional students who need to travel for presentations or conferences.

All of the changes are meant to help GAPSA represent students better, something it has failed to do in the past, Buhr said.

“(The revisions are) trying to troubleshoot that, so we become a more cohesive voice for the graduate and professional students,” she said.