Judicial council overturns decision that ruled that candidates elected in special elections were considered ineligible

On June 7, the ASUCR Judicial Council petitioner filed a case regarding the eligibility of the candidates of the special elections that took place on May 29, 2019. The Judicial Council initially found that the candidates elected for elections director and marketing and promotions director were ineligible because they did not have at least one year of experience. However, after an appeal from the Executive Branch, the Judicial Council overturned their decision.

The Judicial Council found that the constitution contradicts the definition of the members of the Executive Cabinet and complicates their roles. This prompted the Judicial Council to concur with the appeal given by the Executive Branch and ruled to overturn the previous decision from the former Council of 2018-2019 by establishing the precedence that directors elected in the special elections meeting are eligible and may take their respective positions without needing one year experience.

The Judicial Council initially stated that the ASUCR bylaw, Chapter 31, Section 2 states that the Executive Cabinet shall comprise of the president, executive vice president, vice president of internal affairs, vice president of external affairs and the vice president of finance. The majority opinion stated, “When following the definition put forth in the Constitution it is clear the Bylaw Chapter XIII should include all Executive Cabinet positions. This definition would include two of the positions that took place during the Special Elections, Elections Director and Marketing and Promotions Director.” The bylaw also stated that only candidates with the required one year ASUCR experience shall be eligible to run and take office in the Executive Cabinet.

This prompted the Judicial Council to conclude that the candidates elected to the position of elections director and marketing and promotion director during the Special Election that took place on May 29, 2019 were ineligible. Dyanna Castaneda, who was a second-year political science major at the time, was elected as elections director, but held no previous ASUCR experience. William Wang, who also held no previous ASUCR experience, was elected as the marketing and promotions director. The Judicial Council initially noted that candidates may submit waiver applications that waive the one year requirement of Bylaw Chapter 31, pending approval of the waiver by the Elections Committee.

In an interview with the Highlander, Sarai Fuentes, the chief justice of the judicial branch, stated that the Judicial Council was approached by the Executive Cabinet with an appeal that pointed out that there was some new information that affects the former case regarding special elections. Fuentes claimed that part of the information that the Executive Cabinet submitted stated that the structure of Executive Cabinet was originally five members instead of the ten that are listed now. “There was a change of how many people are in the Executive Cabinet but there was an absence of requirements for all ten members which in turn affected the case and special elections,” stated Fuentes. She stated that as a result there was a lot of contradicting parts in the constitution that gave the Judicial Council “more than enough reason to overturn the former decision and work with ASUCR to ensure that this does not become a recurring issue.”

Fuentes said that she believes that Chapter 31 of the ASUCR bylaws can be fixed but only if they are reviewed by the Legislative Committee and approved by the senate on how they wish to proceed with the year experiences for some members of ASUCR. If they believe that some positions require more ASUCR experience than others, then they are allowed to change those requirements so long as they are doing so with the interest of the student body, stated Fuentes.

Fuentes also stated that the Judicial Council will do what is necessary to ensure that the best interest of the students and UCR. She stated, “We believe that the overturn was made in the best interest of UCR because there was an issue and therefore we must work with ASUCR to find a solution and prevent future issues from coming up. We will always do what we can (within our power) to ensure our decisions are best for the students.”

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