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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


GPSC President Zachary Brooks resigns

Sydney Richardson

GPSC President Zachary Brooks speaks to the Daily Wildcat on Thursday, Aug. 25 at the University Services building. Brooks is stepping down as GPSC president, effective Sept. 27.

Due to frustrations concerning funding and clashing personalities, Graduate and Professional Student Council President Zachary Brooks is resigning in hopes of moving GPSC forward.

“A lot of people within GPSC don’t get along very well,” Brooks said. “It’s extremely frustrating and tiring. And ultimately, we’re not representing the people we serve while we’re fighting so much. I could say I’m not a part of the problem, but of course I am.”

Brooks served as GPSC president from 2012-2014 and was elected a fourth time last spring. He said that, while it wasn’t an easy decision to make, he hopes that removing himself from GPSC will improve the group’s communication.

Although he received almost 60 percent of the vote against opponent Sarah Netherton, who was running for her second term after being the 2015-16 GPSC president, Brooks said he could tell immediately there were many people within the GPSC administration who weren’t happy with the election’s outcome.

“When you feel like a lot of [other people’s] efforts are working toward simply not having your agenda go forward at all, that’s extremely frustrating,” Brooks said. “If by stepping away, the dynamic of GPSC could change, kind of shake things up, that would be good. I also think it’s time for new graduate and professional students to come in.”

He said that, at this point, the personality dynamics of GPSC are counterproductive to the people who matter most—the people they serve and represent.

Brooks said he thinks GPSC has a deficit of dignity because its members aren’t treating each other with respect, but that it will always go away eventually and the group will go back to doing the good work it’s always done.

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

Summer of sunlight

When running for office last spring, Brooks called out the 2015-16 executive board for failing to report to the general council that they had created a private travel fund for some members within the board. After being elected at the beginning of the summer, he emphasized GPSC’s need to refocus on their core goals.

“The frustrations stem a little bit from last year, but last year in a lot of ways is irrelevant,” Brooks said. “It wasn’t the best year in many ways … Just the process of trying to say, ‘We made a mistake, move forward,’ is extremely difficult because there’s so many debates about the facts.”

He said GPSC members have so many arguments about every detail that it obfuscates what they’re doing.

To fill seats left open after the election, GPSC is holding a special election this month. Packets for candidates are available now and due by Sept. 14. Campaigning starts Sept. 15, voting takes place Sept. 21-22 and winners will be announced online Sept. 23.

Brooks said that if no one runs for president, the GPSC’s constitution and bylaws outline that the two vice presidents will co-lead.

He said that he would be happy to help if someone called him asking for advice. But Brooks said he’ll probably just say goodbye and wish everyone a huge amount of luck, so the new leadership can figure it out for themselves.

“When I left GPSC the first time, I didn’t go back into the office for an entire year,” Brooks said. “I didn’t do anything involved with GPSC and I did that very intentionally to let all the new people come in and have their own experience and be leaders themselves.”

Brooks said he hopes things really do change as he steps down, but if they don’t, it won’t last forever and will only be a small rough patch in GPSC’s 25-year history.

READ: GPSC talks budget woes at first meeting of the fall

Looking back

“It’s hard to separate GPSC from my graduate student experience,” Brooks said. “I think my first week on campus, I went to a GPSC meeting. Within three or four weeks, I was elected and while I had my program—second language acquisition—I also had GPSC.”

Brooks said he’s proud that he has raised money for travel and research grants, increased GPSC’s childcare grant and improved its relationship with the Associated Students of the University of Arizona. 

He said GPSC can’t say it raised graduate assistant salaries but hopes to see the council get back on that path.

“I’ve had a lot of success with it,” Brooks said. “I’ve really enjoyed it, and it’s the hugest honor of my life to represent graduate and professional students at the university. I had every intention to finish. But I think at this point, it’s good if I move on.”

Follow Chastity Laskey on Twitter.

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