Top two GAPSA officers resign

GAPSA’s president and vice president unexpectedly vacated their positions earlier this week.

by Cali Owings

The Graduate and Professional Student Assembly is in a bind after both President Ryan Kennedy and Vice President Monica Howell resigned earlier this week. It is the first time in GAPSA history that both officers have resigned at the same time. Kennedy will step down as president to look for full-time employment and will no longer attend the University of Minnesota, he announced in an e-mail to the entire assembly. Ordinarily, the executive vice president would step in if the president resigns, but Howell also vacated her position Saturday. With no further chain of command and no precedent for how to move forward without their two highest leaders, GAPSA is exploring its bylaws and constitution to see if appointing a president from within is an option. With no time to elect a president before their fees request is due Jan. 21, the executive board will meet to discuss appointing Abou Amara, current vice president for public affairs, as president for the remainder of the year, said Bree Dalager, vice president for student affairs. âÄúItâÄôs very difficult for someone outside of GAPSA to come in as president, even if they start in June,âÄù Dalager said. Amara was a natural choice because he had already expressed interest in running for GAPSA president next year, Dalager said. With three members of the executive board out of the country, the decision cannot be made final until the entire board is able to vote. They will likely make the decision before or during their executive board meeting Jan. 19. AmaraâÄôs vacant public affairs position and the executive vice-president position would then be open to applicants and voted on by the general assembly. Tyler Price, vice president for finance, said they were able to divide most of the vice presidentâÄôs duties among other members of the executive board and the office manager but that the organization will need a president. âÄúWe need a president going forward. ItâÄôs fundamental,âÄù Price said. âÄúWe need someone to act as the voice of GAPSA to the administration but right now we donâÄôt have that.âÄù Operating procedures currently in place have allowed the organization to continue functioning as normal. Price can authorize a third check-signer for GAPSA so the organization can still pay bills and get grant money to students. But Dalager said the executive board and the assembly will discuss putting procedures into place should the president and vice president resign at the same time again. Despite the entirely new territory the resignations have put GAPSA in, both Price and Dalager said their reasons were understandable. âÄúWeâÄôre all students first,âÄù Dalager said that she thought GAPSA should look into establishing a way to check in with officers so the assembly knows earlier in the game that they are struggling with their duties.