Sen. Eric Lipka (COL ’23), the Vice-speaker of the GUSA Senate, resigned both his position in the Senate and his position in leadership on July 9th.
According to Lipka, he resigned to focus on his own mental health and outside work. “It was a deeply personal decision, but I’m confident that my resignation is in the best interest of myself and the Association,” Lipka wrote in an email to the Voice.
Lipka, who was elected to be a senator at the start of the past academic year, first assumed the position of Vice-speaker in April, when new Senate leadership was elected for the summer session of the Senate. He has served as vice-speaker to Speaker Daniella Sanchez (COL ’22). Duties of the vice-speaker include acting as part of Senate leadership and running Ways and Means Committee meetings.
During his time in the Senate, Lipka has sponsored legislation calling for GUSA to collect demographic data for members and applicants, supporting the decriminalization of sex work, calling for the university to recognize the second Monday in October as Indigenous People’s Day, and most recently supporting LGBTQ students. According to GUSA attendance records, Lipka has not attended a meeting since June 14. Moving forward, Lipka said he hopes the Senate educates senators on parliamentary procedures and emphasizes its importance.
Sanchez said she was not made aware of Lipka’s reasons for resigning, though she was sorry to see him do so given their leadership term only lasts about one more month.
“This has not and will not hinder the active work of the Senate toward advocating for the Fall 2020 plan, supporting student activism, or holding the university accountable,” Sanchez wrote in an email to the Voice. “The President, Vice President, and I have a solid foundation so the work GUSA Leadership will also not be hindered.”
Both in his letter of resignation and his statement to the Voice, Lipka endorsed Sens. Leo Teixeira (COL ’21) and Zahra Wakilzada (COL ’23) as options for a replacement vice-speaker.
“The last thing GUSA needs is moderate leadership,” Lipka wrote. “No two senators are better equipped to serve in GUSA leadership than Senators Wallizada and Teixeira. Both are staunch progressives who meet the times of our present socio-political environment and truly understand the importance of public service and the inner workings of GUSA.”
Elections will be held to fill the position of vice-speaker at the Senate’s next meeting on July 19. The position in the Senate will remain unfilled until elections for the new Senate are held at the start of the academic year.