GPSC treasurer Jim Collins accuses AVP Jasmine Sears of ‘backdoor impeachment’
Remington Stickney at the GSPC meeting on Monday, Feb. 6, 2017 in the Student Union.
Graduate and Professional Student Council treasurer Jim Collins accused administrative vice president Jasmine Sears of attempting to prevent him from serving in the GPSC by introducing retroactive terms limits after a general council meeting Feb. 6. This follows an attempt last semester by Sears to impeach Collins.
A special subcommittee, chaired by Sears, produced two recommendations on term limit amendments for the council to discuss and vote on.
The first limits individuals to “a maximum of five elected terms in any combination of Representative and Executive Board positions.” The second proposal limits individuals to serving three terms on the executive board.
The council debated and voted to approve both with a simple majority. It was unclear whether or not the motions gained enough votes to amend the elections code.
Daniel Kasper, GPSC assembly chair, told the council he will look at the governing document and determine if the motions received the necessary support to take effect.
A motion by Collins to not retroactively enforce these measures was tabled by a council vote and will be discussed at the next council meeting.
During a Dec. 6, 2016 council meeting, the council began a heated discussion on the possibility of implementing term limits.
Ellen Stark, a GPSC representative for the College of Law, proposed a motion asking whether or not representatives supported term limits in any form. The motion passed with 15 in favor and 13 opposed.
Two years ago, the GPSC voted down a proposal for term limits, according to Collins.
He believes Sears, with the support of other GPSC members, is attempting to remove him from office following a failed impeachment because of his age. Collins is the longest serving member of GPSC in its history.
Sears said she supported term limits two years ago in order to allow more students opportunities to obtain the experience which the GPSC provides.
She plans to reach out to diversity organizations on campus in order to fill GPSC’s current vacant seats.
At the council meeting, Jude Udeozor, GPSC president, accused three members of the executive board of allowing personal conflicts to affect their ability to represent students.
Udeozor strongly supported the second term limit recommendation in order to prevent future executive board members from experiencing frustration like he has faced or resigning from position like his predecessor.
Collins has pointed to the fact almost no other graduate student governments impose term limits and to the string of unopposed and vacant seats within the GPSC when voicing his opposition to term limits.
Danielle Blalock, now GPSC executive vice president, proposed a committee be formed to discuss the question further in order to align with Stark’s motion and not further occupy the council’s time.
Sears scheduled a meeting of a Term Limits Committee on Jan. 30.
The meeting was attended by Udeozor, Collins and Mariia Khorosheva, GPSC treasurer, as well as representatives invited by both Sears and Khorosheva.
Neither of these proposals limits individuals from serving as an appointed GPSC representative, rather, they limit representatives from being elected.
Outside of the committee, Khorosheva sent to GPSC members a third proposal which limits an individual from serving in the same executive board position for more than three terms.
“It appeared to me the only purpose of the meeting was to create a sham ‘recommendation’ for creating term limits, specifically to exclude me from the organization,” Collins said in an email to Chrissy Lieberman, UA Associate Dean of Students.
Khorosheva, the Chair of the Governing Documents Committee, initially scheduled a meeting for the Term Limits Committee on Feb 2.
“Sears unilaterally canceled the Thursday meeting,” Collins said to Lieberman. Collins believes she did so without any authority and conducted the meeting contrary to the spirit of Stark’s motion.
Two members raised concerns over not being able to attend the rescheduled meeting because they did not receive adequate notice.
During the meeting, Collins said Sears offered the committee only proposals which would exclude himself and Khorosheva from serving in GPSC.
Following an attempt by Khorosheva to utilize proxy votes during the committee meeting, Udeozor said, “I wanted to officially warn you to refrain from sending misguided information to representatives and to stop soliciting proxy [votes] from representatives,” in an email to Khorosheva.
**“This email is an example of Udeozor’s irresponsible abuse of authority which is part of a continuing pattern of harassment and bullying spanning almost two years,” Collins said.
During the council meeting, Raul Iturralde Gonzalez, a GPSC representative, said he believed the GPSC should facilitate graduate students obtaining a degree and not remaining at the university indefinitely, especially for the sake of GPSC.
Collins said he remains at the university not only to help serve fellow graduate students on GPSC but primarily to continue his non-degree seeking educational experience at the UA, a land grant college created to serve the community.
Currently, Collins is exploring a claim of age discrimination, which he believes to be one basis for his attempted impeachment and these term limits, as a result of comments made by Sears to such effect.
GPSC will continue the discussion of term limits in the coming days.
**Editor's note: The following letter to the editor is in response to a story titled “GPSC treasurer Jim Collins accuses AVP Jasmine Sears of ‘backdoor impeachment’” published Feb. 12, 2017 via DailyWildcat.com. During the initial reporting process for this story, The Daily Wildcat erred in not seeking comment from Graduate and Professional Student Council president Jude Udeozor in response to allegations made against him by a fellow GPSC executive board member. The Wildcat apologizes, and has offered Udeozor the opportunity have the following published in print and online as a response.
On Feb. 12, the Daily Wildcat published an online article titled “GPSC treasurer Jim Collins accuses AVP Jasmine Sears of ‘backdoor impeachment,’” and published a print version the following day. In the article, Jim Collins, a member of the Graduate and Professional Student Council, hereafter called GPSC, falsely accused me of harassment and bullying spanning almost TWO years while citing parts of an email I sent to Mariia Khorosheva on Feb. 3 and copied GPSC advisors.
The cited email was in reference to several complaints I received from GPSC representatives regarding the misguided information Khorosheva had sent to them and falsely claiming that she had received permission to cast proxy votes for them when they expressly told her otherwise. My email was intended to persuade Khorosheva against such actions moving forward. In an act of what I perceive as retaliation, Collins falsely accused me of harassments and bullying ... Read the remainder of Udeozor's letter HERE
Follow Randall Eck on Twitter.