GPSC president endorses an ASUA candidate, criticizes another
The president of the Graduate and Professional Student Council has endorsed an undergraduate candidate for ASUA president.
In a statement released Thursday, GPSC President Zachary Brooks declared his support for Dylan Duniho, a presidential candidate for the Associated Students of the University of Arizona, because of his “proven track record of reaching out to all students.”
He also described Anthony Carli, another presidential candidate, as a “positive partner for the University of Arizona and GPSC.”
Toward the end of the statement, however, Brooks criticized “a third candidate … who has demonstrated a philosophy of student governance that would benefit only a handful of students.”
The statement took Morgan Abraham, the third of the three candidates, by surprise.
“I really don’t think it’s wise of a GPSC president to endorse any ASUA candidate no matter how close they are with that person,” Abraham said, “because it doesn’t make sense for any hard feelings in the future after someone else gets elected if it’s not the endorsed [candidate].”
Duniho is “excited and humbled” by the endorsement, he said.
“I’ve known Zach [Brooks] for a while and we’ve had a great working relationship,” Duniho said. “For him to have seen something in me that he believes in, whether that’s my campaign or my platforms, enough to endorse me is an incredible honor.”
However, Abraham said he wondered about Brooks’ motives.
On Wednesday, the day before Brooks released his endorsement, members of the ASUA Senate — including Abraham — weighed a resolution that declared the senate’s opposition to the use of student fee money to pay for legal action against the Arizona Board of Regents, brought by the Arizona Students’ Assocation.
ASA, a statewide lobbying group, sued the regents earlier this month for allegedly violating students’ First Amendment rights.
The suit accuses the regents of retaliating against ASA over a political donation the group made last fall. Student governments across the state are divided over the lawsuit.
Prior to the ASUA Senate’s proposal to oppose the use of fee money for litigation, GPSC declared its support for ASA. Brooks reiterated GPSC’s support, but was cut off by Abraham, who asked Brooks to focus on the resolution and use of fee money.
“He clearly didn’t read that resolution and he decided to speak on behalf of it and what he was saying just really didn’t make sense to anyone sitting in the senate or the crowd,” Abraham said. “So I did call him out on it and I reminded him what the resolution was about and I read it to him and I don’t think he appreciated it so much, so I kind of think this is a childish act of retaliation.”
Carli, who said he is one of Brooks’ good friends, was told before the statement’s release that his name would be in it.
“We were in coordination, kind of, about what was going down,” Carli said. “I advised him to wait until the primaries were over to release the endorsement because endorsements before the primaries to me just doesn’t seem like a solid political move.”
Brooks said he believed it was important to release the endorsement early so that graduate and professional students would know Duniho is best suited for the position.
“I just think that there is a momentum that would be changed if there were a different person that was in office, and I don’t think that’s good for graduate and professional students and I don’t think that is good for GPSC,” Brooks said. “I thought it was important to say something now.”
Still, Carli questioned the sentiment behind the endorsement.
“To me the endorsement seems more anti-Morgan than pro-Dylan, especially by including my name as somebody else,” Carli said. “Nothing but the most respect to Zach, he is a great leader and one of my good friends, but I would have waited until the primaries were over, especially if the sentiment was going to be anti-Morgan, to see what goes on.”