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GAPSA leader resigns

With a little more than a month left in her term, Karen Buhr resigned as president from the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly early last week.

Buhr said her position in GAPSA did not allow her enough time to complete the academic requirements necessary for her to graduate this year.

Some controversy followed Buhr’s departure as GAPSA’s Internal Affairs Committee was conducting an investigation regarding possible misconduct on Buhr’s part for discussing an internal matter with the Minnesota Student Association.

The Internal Affairs Committee concluded, according to an e-mail sent to GAPSA’s executive board, that going outside GAPSA – in this instance to MSA – to discuss internal problems is unacceptable.

The committee recommended issuing a formal reprimand to Buhr for discussing the internal GAPSA problems with MSA.

The internal issue in question, according to the e-mail, stemmed from a disagreement between Buhr and a GAPSA executive board member about attending an event on behalf of the organization.

The internal affairs committee concluded that Buhr’s communication with MSA was not “simply a personal communication between friends.”

“Nothing was gained from this action, and it reflects negatively on GAPSA,” the e-mail stated. “It undermines collaboration, and weakens the organization.”

However, Buhr resigned before she received the findings of the internal investigation and before the executive board could act on the recommendation.

“My resignation had absolutely nothing to do with the internal affairs stuff that was going on,” Buhr said.

She had to focus on graduating, Buhr said.

According to unofficial minutes from Wednesday’s executive board meeting, the board approved a motion stating it would have adopted the formal recommendation of the Internal Affairs Committee to censure Buhr for discussing internal issues outside of GAPSA had she not resigned.

Josh Colburn, GAPSA vice president for administrative affairs, said the recommendation itself is essentially moot.

“You can’t issue a censure for someone who is not in office,” he said.

“As far as the internal affairs investigation, it’s a closed issue at this point,” said Taqee Khaled, acting president for GAPSA. “The (recommendation) would be contingent on if someone was still there.”

Because Buhr was not in office, the recommendation from the Internal Affairs Committee couldn’t and didn’t pass, he said.

Khaled said he viewed Buhr’s resignation and the investigation as separate.

Khaled said he “wholeheartedly” believes the reasons Buhr gave for leaving.

“She did not have the letter of the internal affairs committee at the time she sent the resignation, and so I believe it’s unconnected,” he said.

The investigation in no way affects Buhr’s record, technically or otherwise, Khaled said.

“Karen Buhr’s work speaks for itself,” he said. “She was on strategic positioning committees and various committees and has a good working relationship for a lot of people. That’s because she did good work.”

Buhr said student government had a “phenomenal year” and that GAPSA accomplished more than she had expected.

“It’s been a hell of a year and I’m really proud of that,” she said. “I wish I could have stuck it out for the last month, but I couldn’t.”

GAPSA will select next year’s executive board, including the president and executive vice president, at Wednesday’s assembly.

The elected officers will begin their terms June 1.

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