In a surprise announcement on Nov. 21, the GCC Board of Trustees introduced Armineh Dereghishian, vice president of campus relations of the Associated Students of GCC (ASGCC), as the new president of the Associated Students of Glendale College. Dereghishian replaced Haik Chilingaryan, who was originally elected ASGCC President for this academic year.
Chilingaryan, who was elected to the position during the spring semester, resigned from the presidency in mid-November following a failed vote for impeachment introduced by five vice presidents of ASGCC.
“Haik felt that he had too much on his plate,” said Dereghishian when asked why the outgoing president had resigned. “He wanted to focus more on his studies. He resigned for academic reasons.”
Chilingaryan, who recently switched majors from political science to biology, said that ASGCC activities “consumed a lot of time” for him and that he was “falling behind” in his classes. “You have to let big things go in order to receive other big things,” he said.
Dereghishian added that even before the vice presidents agreed on the vote for impeachment, they had noticed that Chilingaryan “couldn’t focus as much time on his responsibilities as he wanted to,” and this affected his leadership.
“We [vice presidents] addressed the problem, and brought it to his attention,” said Dereghishian. “He felt that it was best to step down, even when the vote for impeachment failed.”
At the Nov. 15 ASGCC meeting, the motion was raised to remove Chilingaryan on the grounds of “neglect of duty
and improper conduct.” Dereghishian said that
the motion to impeach Chilingaryan was voted on by the whole legislature, which is composed of 20 members.
According to Alen Andriassian, the ASGCC adviser, “improper conduct” referred to “doing something unbecoming of an officer, something outside of what a leader should do,” and “neglect of duties” meant that the charged officer was “not doing his job” as a leader. Andriassian refused to comment when asked what specific mistakes or offenses were lodged against Chilingaryan.
However, the vote for impeachment did not pass. “The [members] wanted to give Haik another chance,” Dereghishian said.
Chilingaryan said that the charges against him were not justified. “I was not ‘neglecting my duty’,” he said. “I called every meeting to order, and I was always on time and ready to go. The charge was ridiculous.” He said that despite being very busy with his classes, he “worked very hard” to maintain his position.
Concerning the allegation of “improper conduct,” Chilingaryan said that it was based mainly on “personal issues.”
“‘Improper conduct’ was based on other people’s interpretation of my actions,” Chilingaryan explained.
“That’s their opinion. Of course, I’ve done things wrong, but we all make mistakes. These mistakes were made in my personal life and not as president. Yet other people chose to bring those up.”
Chilingaryan said he considered this a “breach of trust.”
He said that the other officers “waited too long” to present their concerns to him. “How am I going to correct my mistakes if people don’t tell me about them?” said Chilingaryan. “That’s why [the motion for impeachment] was very offensive and heartbreaking for me.”
However, Chilingaryan does not regret his decision to resign. “I walked away with dignity,” said the former president. “It was the best decision for myself and for the organization.” He said he hopes aware that he did his job with the best of his abilities. “I represented each and every one of them,” he said. “I fought for them on important issues. I stood up for everyone on campus.”
The ASGCC constitution mandates that Dereghishian, vice president of campus relations, was actually fourth in line for the position of presidency, following the vice presidents of administration, finance and campus activities.
However, the ASGCC Executive Committee and the organization’s advisers Joseph Puglia, Andriassian and dean Paul Schlossman decided to appoint Dereghishian as president of the organization because of her experience as an officer.
“This is my fourth semester as an officer,” Dereghishian said. She is the first female ASGCC president in seven years.
Dereghishian decided to share the responsibilities of the presidency with Thomas Dryden, vice president of administration, who will serve as a student trustee on the school’s Board of Trustees with an advisory vote. Dryden was sworn in at a board meeting on Nov. 21.
“Thomas has more experience with the Board of Trustees,” said Dereghishian.
The new president said that one of her current priorities is “keeping up the spirits” of the other ASGCC officers. “Losing your president is tough to take,” she said.
Andriassian believes that the ASGCC is “a strong organization,” and “the fact that we went through this process and began rebuilding again proves that,” he said.
This is not the first time for such an incident. According to Andriassian, Mike J. Smith, the ASGCC president in fall 1993, was to be impeached and instead chose to resign.
Chilingaryan said that he is “happy to see the organization moving along.” “My heart will always be with this organization,” he said. “I’ve grown a lot, and developed character.”
Dereghishian assures the students that this change will not affect the ASGCC’s ability to fulfill their responsibilities, and she commended the officers for being the organization’s “strong foundation.”
“We’re keeping business as usual,” she said. “Work will go on, and everything is normal.”