At the first Graduate and Professional Assembly general assembly meeting of the year, the assembly approved the budget for the year, elected a new executive vice-president and dropped the impeachment charges against President Abou Amara.
After the ad-hoc committee presented their recommendation that Amara not be impeached, the charges were formally dropped.
âÄúIâÄôm confident in the process and know that I had done nothing wrong,âÄù Amara said after the verdict. âÄúThey were petty charges that were a bit pathetic.âÄù
Amara allegedly posted false information on Twitter, shared unapproved minutes and tried to sway a committee, according to a formal impeachment request submitted in May by Bree Dalager, former GAPSA vice president for student affairs.
âÄúThe assembly obviously saw through [DalagerâÄôs] antics, so IâÄôm excited to move on and do what weâÄôre supposed to do and not bicker amongst ourselves.âÄù
Brittany Edwards, a second-year public policy student, was also elected as executive vice president. Edwards was nominated by Amara and won the position in a 24-2 vote.
âÄúI think we need a proactive and positive voice in government,âÄù Edwards said after the election. âÄúThis is our chance to represent ourselves as graduate students, to represent ourselves to outside groups such as the legislature.âÄù
Another priority for Edwards is the responsible use of Student Services Fees.
âÄúWe have really difficult budget times and we need to make sure weâÄôre being responsible with our resources,âÄù Edwards said.
Since the assembly failed to approve its $384,450 budget in May, it was a priority for the organization to approve it to be able to operate, Financial Vice-President Flora He said.
The budget was passed with only one vote against. Amara also clarified that while a budget is approved each year, GAPSA goes over finances each month and the counsels will have additional oversight of what is spent each month.
Their budget is broken down into administration, operations, grant funds, programming and public affairs expenses. The largest part of their budget goes to grant funds, with nearly $228,500.
An amendment to the constitution was also passed in order to recognize councils from the College of Liberal Arts and the College of Science and Engineering.
CLA and CSE graduate students have representation on the Council of Graduate Students, but had never formed a council for GAPSA.
Brandon Hathaway, a mechanical engineering graduate student, said the council exists basically just to ensure representation of their college, but that he hopes to expand its role.
âÄúIn the future we hope to get some young go-getters that hopefully want to take over and expand so we can have some outreach programs,âÄù he said.
GAPSAâÄôs budget could be impacted by the addition of the two new councils. It could also require changes to the number of voting members in the assembly, which is based on enrollment.