The Graduate and Professional Student Assembly elected its officers for next year Tuesday and voted again on a constitutional amendment regarding impeachment.
Abu Jalal, running unopposed, won the GAPSA presidency. Jalal said he intends to increase member participation in the assembly to make the organization more effective next year.
“You need the input of all assembly members,” he said. “I hope we can work together and work as a team.”
Jalal said his comments reflected assembly members’ request for a more active role. He said it also related to a secret e-mail vote in February to impeach GAPSA President Todd Powell.
The assembly first heard of the vote when Public Affairs Vice President Todd Reubold made a statement independent from the executive board at a GAPSA meeting.
Jalal also said, in a written statement, that he hopes GAPSA will exert increased influence over University policies next year.
“It is often painfully obvious that GAPSA does not have the same kind of access and importance in influencing University policies as our counterparts in (the Minnesota Student Association),” he said.
Karen Buhr won the executive vice presidency unopposed.
The assembly also voted to amend GAPSA’s constitutional impeachment process.
The main change pertains to who can vote to impeach a GAPSA member. The amendment allows the assembly to remove a member by a two-thirds vote. Before, only the GAPSA executive board could do this.
At last month’s assembly meeting, a vote on the same constitutional amendment was thought to have passed, but later discovered to not meet the two-thirds majority requirement.
Assembly member Chris Pappas said he proposed the amendment because the assembly not only has a right to know about an impeachment, but it should make the impeachment decision.
“I think this is proper democratic procedure,” he said. “Most organizations like this already operate this way.”
Jeremy Steil, an executive board member, said he believed GAPSA should address the issue during the summer when the group reviews its constitution.
But assembly member Keith Cunnien said it was essential to make the change now so the incoming administration knows what procedures it must follow.
“I think that it is a good idea to have this in place immediately,” he said.
Reubold and Pappas expressed disappointment about this year’s GAPSA leadership, specifically Powell.
“I feel very confident that this upcoming year will be much better, and that last year was an aberration,” Reubold said.
Pappas said he was also disappointed in GAPSA Executive Vice President Stanley Tanyi Asah’s poor assembly attendance, but he reserved his harshest criticisms for Powell.
Pappas said he would have moved for a symbolic vote of no confidence against Powell if the president were present. Powell had to leave for another meeting because the assembly meeting went late.
“I get along with him well personally,” Pappas said. “But I’ve been very disappointed with his leadership and vision for GAPSA.”