After a month filled with a laptopping scandal, the controversial removal of two justices, censure of two ECAB officials and allegations of bias by the elections committee, ASUCR — under the alleged pressure of administration — has allowed the elected senate to take their seats for the 2015-16 school year.
The majority of the ASUCR senate is dominated by the [OUR]Voice party, who were elected into almost every position, with the exception of three senate seats. According to Acting Executive Vice President Reem Blaik and Vice President of External Affairs Abraham Galvan, the decision was made after Chancellor Kim Wilcox threatened to intervene during a meeting with ASUCR officials.
Two weeks ago, the ASUCR senate attempted to give themselves the power to adjudicate the judicial appeals, allowing the senate to have the power to disqualify [OUR]Voice candidates retroactively. Due to the administration’s involvement however, the senate and executive cabinet can no longer take actions regarding elections or the judicial removal.
“Unfortunately, the [OUR]Voice candidates from the beginning and some members of the judicial contacted administration and got them involved from a very early point … So the chancellor just basically told us don’t do anything at all … He basically threatened to come into AS,” Galvan stated.
Supplementing the elections controversy, the removal of two ASUCR justices: Melina Reyes and Daniel Ojo, who were both accused of mishandling the election appeals cases, was deemed unconstitutional by former ASUCR parliamentarian Kyle Levy, who served as a third-party to review the senate’s actions.
Despite the decision, both Galvan and Blaik have stated that the justices have not been reinstated. Neither Reyes nor Ojo have commented on their current status within ASUCR.
Galvan alleges that this was not the first time administration tried to intervene in ASUCR’s affairs. “I think there is something sketchy going on … throughout the year, admin tried to put us under VCSA (the Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Office) and Nafi didn’t do anything about it… to us it was very interesting that administration was trying so hard to get these candidates into office… I think the reason for that is that they see them as more willing to allow administration into AS,” Galvan explained.
Former ASUCR parliamentarian Mohammed Hussein, however, believed that the senate’s actions were responsible for the administration’s intervention due to the multiple procedures they have broken throughout the year. “It’s funny that the people who want to protect student autonomy are the ones who risk it the most by corrupting it with their personal interests,” Hussein said.
Due to his removal for a supposed dereliction of duties two weeks ago, Hussein has filed a lawsuit against an ASUCR official citing bad faith as a reason for his removal. The case is expected to be held in July at the Moreno Valley Courthouse.