GPSC Treasurer Jim Collins arrested at meeting
Jim Collins speaks at a GPSC meeting on Dec. 6, 2016. Collins was arrested during the March 27 meeting for disorderly conduct after an incident with a guest speaker.
Jim Collins, the treasurer of the Graduate and Professional Student Council around whom a heated controversy has developed in recent months, was arrested for disorderly conduct and disturbing the peace during an executive board meeting on March 27.
The incident occurred during a guest speaker’s presentation on an ASUA Supreme Court opinion for the GPSC concerning term limits — a recent GPSC topic with which Collins has taken issue, as hes perceived it as an attempt to remove him from the council.
According to a University of Arizona Police Department report, Collins placed a hand on the guest speaker’s chair, preventing the individual, whose name is redacted in the report, from leaving.
The police report, filed following the incident, indicates the guest speaker wanted to leave the room, but did not feel they could safely do so when Collins approached and stood over the chair in close proximity.
Sarah Netherton, GPSC Development Administrator and another member of the GSPC executive board blocked Collins from the guest speaker, allowing the guest speaker to leave the room, according to the police report.
Netherton described Collins as “irate” and said he “kept arguing with” the guest speaker.
Collins described the incident by saying “I went over to give [the guest speaker] an email to quietly ask [the guest speaker] some questions about it.”
On the audio recording of the meeting, which the Wildcat was not present in, multiple GPSC members attempt to end the conversation with the guest speaker, but Collins continued to ask questions. He then approached the guest speaker’s chair as the discussion was being moved forward by other board members.
As Collins approached the guest speaker, multiple board members thanked the individual for their time and politely ask them to leave so the meeting could continue, according to audio from the public meeting.
Netherton said the guest speaker was being very good in trying to calm the situation without escalating or engaging Colins.
“I made eye contact with [the guest speaker] trying to say you need to leave,” Netherton said. “(They) were looking at me like ‘I am trying’ but they were physically barred them from getting out of their chair.”
Netherton and another executive board member then stepped between Collins and the guest speaker, causing Collins to escalate the situation, according to Netherton.
During the confrontation, Collins can be heard telling Netherton and the other board member, “get away from me.”
“The two individuals approached Collins very closely and threateningly from two different sides,” said GPSC secretary Mariia Khorosheva, when contacted about the incident.
Netherton was able to grab the guest speaker’s belongings and escort them back to their office. At that point, Netherton contacted UAPD because no staff was nearby and she did not know how to best handle the situation.
About 45 minutes later, a UAPD officer interrupted the meeting and requested to speak with Collins, who immediately attempted to press charges against Netherton and the other board member.
The officer took Collins outside while another spoke with the board. After some general confusion, Khorosheva agreed to speak with the remaining officer about the incident that had occurred.
According to the report, an officer asked for Collins’ statement on the incident after taking statements from other individuals involved. Collins asked to speak to a lawyer before giving a statement.
The officer notified Collins he was under arrest for disorderly conduct, after which he was placed in handcuffs and escorted to the officer’s vehicle.
“I can’t go into details right now because I actually don’t have any police reports or any information,” Collins said when asked about the incident. “I do not even know what the accusations are, I do not actually know what exactly I am charged with.”
Once at the police vehicle Collins was allowed to call a lawyer, to which he spoke privately with for five to ten minutes, according to the report.
Afterward, he provided his birthdate to officers but declined to provide any further identifying information based on the recommendation of his lawyer, the report said.
The police report states the officer interviewing the guest speaker described them as “very shaken up by the situation.”
The guest speaker indicated to police that Collins did not make any threats or physical contact, but described his actions as aggressive, intimidating and threatening.
Netherton said, “Collins has a very long history of being confrontational and aggressive, but this is the first time it has escalated to a kind of physical intimidation.”
The report indicates the guest speaker initially declined to press charges. They told offices they would consider the option and reach out to them if their decision changed.
“I said [to the police] that I was filing criminal charges against him,” Netherton said. The police report indicates another individual involved in the situation also decided to press charges.
The police report indicates a Code of Conduct Violation against Collins was completed and filed with the UA Dean of Students.
According to the police report, Assistant Director of ASUA Claudia Davila and Associate Dean of Students Chrissy Lieberman were contacted regarding obtaining a No Contact order against Collins through the university.
The Dean of Students Office was contacted and they indicated it is not their policy to publicly disclose any administrative action taken concerning No Contact orders and Code of Conduct Violations.
Collins declined to state if he has been in contact with the administration over the event.
Jude Udeozor, president of GPSC, said this incident should not be taken out of context.
“What happened on Monday is not reflective of GPSC as an organization, but simply actions of some of its executive board members which was unfortunately demonstrated during our meeting time,” Udeozor said in an email responding to the incident.
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