NEWS

Future of GPSC up in the air after president resigns

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Tom Price and Tom Price | The Daily Wildcat Jasmine Sears takes discusses an issue at a GPSC meeting in the Pima Room of the SUMC on Thursday, August 25th.

The recent resignation of Graduate and Professional Student Council President Zachary Brooks has left the future of GPSC up in the air.

Although a GPSC special election will be held on Sept. 21-22 to fill vacancies on the general council, the position of the presidency is currently not up for grabs.

“As of now, the president position is not on the special election,” said Chris Hargraves, senior assistant dean of students, in an email interview. “There is still potential for this to change or [for] another special election this fall.”

Related: GPSC President Zachary Brooks resigns.

According to article III section 7 of the GPSC Constitution: “If at any time there is no President, the Executive and Administrative Vice Presidents will jointly assume the role of President.”

The constitution, however, is open to interpretation since special elections are held to fill every vacant position, and the president position is technically vacant.

“The student leadership will need to make the decision on how to interpret the document,” Hargraves said. “If you did go off of article III, section 7, it would depend on if any of the executive board wanted the presidency. If no one did, there would most likely be a special election.”

Hargraves said there can be another special election for the open position.

“As of now, this special election will continue with the same timeline as there are 19 representative positions to be filled,” Hargraves said. “Whether it be for the presidency or one of the other executive board positions, there will most likely be another special election to fill the position.”

Hargraves said if someone who is currently holding a position in GPSC wants to take over the presidency they will need to resign from their current position to take over.

Related: GPSC reacts to Brooks' resignation from GPSC post.

Jasmine Sears, the GPSC administrative vice president who is coming into her fourth year with the council, will be sharing the presidential responsibilities with GPSC newcomer and executive vice president, Jude Udeozor. While Sears says she is a little nervous about the power shift, she also sees this as an opportunity to accomplish goals she has seen blocked in the past.

Her two main goals for the year are to find new sources of funding for the GPSC’s travel and research grant programs and to create more representation on the council for the College of Medicine—Phoenix, College of Law and non-juris doctorate students.

The GPSC’s research and travel grant programs took a hit last year when the student services fee they relied on was lowered. Sears wants to eventually see these programs funded by various colleges within UA, as well as corporate sponsorships.

While they are not currently sponsored by any corporations, Sears is hoping to reach out soon. She said her eye is on Raytheon, but also on smaller Tucson businesses.

“Part of it’s just going to be finding out what companies around Tucson aren’t well known but might have a reason to want to fund a research project,” Sears said.

Udeozor shares Sears’ desire to search for alternate funding.

“In light of our recent budget challenges, our goal will be to work towards long-term solutions and ways to strategically avoid budget cuts in the future,” Udeozor said in an email interview. “We hope to explore other possible funding sources as well.”

Letter to the editor: Brooks details his decision to resign as GPSC president.

Udeozor said he remains hopeful that GPSC can head in the right direction despite the financial challenges that have plagued it for the past year.

“However, this is not the end, but the beginning of a new chapter, an opportunity to write a better story,” he said in an email.

Udeozor wants to work on increasing transparency, communication and accountability within GPSC this coming year.


Follow Michelle Jaquette on Twitter.



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