Tuesday, June 27, 2006
The EO-fest has some serious implications for autonomy. Recall that in the 2004 election, DAAP made similar overtures, though perhaps on different grounds. You can read Mike Davis's account. The punchline, though:
But the court's ruling wasn't what worried other ASUC officials. It was how the judge arrived at her decision and how long it took. If the federal judge conclusively declared the ASUC to be a state entity, deriving its authority from the Regents, it would give the University a greater ability to meddle in ASUC internal affairs, virtually eliminating any autonomy the organization has left. The ASUC would pay almost anything to keep a judge from finally putting the organization under the administration's thumb. It was assessed that going on with the court case would cost more money than it would take to just buy off the RWL. The senate finally threw up its collective hands in disgust, and appropriated $15,000 of student funds to settle the case and maintain its independence.
Senator Felarca was well aware that it would. Her group was playing an extortion game from the start: hold the ASUC's independence hostage and it will pay whatever ransom. The effort was an incredibly shrewd move designed to line the pockets of BAMN's allies and keep the group in operation for years to come.
Student Action approved this. Student Action, at the time, felt that the dangers to autonomy were worth more than the pain of having to pay off what amounted to a shakedown suit.
But now it's Student Action bringing the suit. Will it show the same concern for autonomy? Ha! Now it affects them. Now it's important that they get office.
So here's how this could play out:
I. Student Action respects the decisions of the Judicial Council:
Either Student Action wins or loses in the Judicial Council, and the decision stands. Autonomy is saved.
II. Student Action loses but ignores the will of the Judicial Council and tries to serve anyway.
Here, Student Action and SQUELCH! have to duke it out for the recognition of the ASUC Auxilliary/University. The University can recognize one side or the other, killing ASUC autonomy in spirit, though it would still function because the University doesn't really want control, they just want to avoid bad publicity (which they can do by being hands-off) and to avoid legal liability (which is why they would step in). Note, however, that whichever way the University leans, the other side could proceed with legal action. I find it unlikely that SQUELCH! would do so, but I think Student Action might be relying on that (and the University's understanding of that), so I'm not really willing to say they shouldn't, since they would be representing my interests of having my money spent by folks following the rules.
Another possibility is that the University just kills the ASUC. This probably won't happen, because it's bad PR, but it does help take care of a lot of legal liability. In any case, the subsequent restructuring would be devastating to autonomy in both spirit and practice, since the University won't let the new government have free reign.
If either proceeds with the suit, this could trigger the scenario described by Mike, with the courts themselves essentially nullifying the autonomy of the ASUC. This is not all that different from the University killing the ASUC, as the end result, University control to protect against liability, is the same.
What's the punchline? If Student Action takes this all the way, or at least beyond the confines of the ASUC itself, lawsuit or no, the ASUC loses its autonomy, unless SQUELCH! and others decide to throw up their hands and just let Student Action have it, in which case the ASUC is not only autonomous, but autocratic.
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