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Nap Time!!!

Monday, August 28, 2006
Nothing to see here

I remain convinced that The Daily Cal just doesn't want to cover the full extent of Student Action's abuses of power. Katlyn Carter has an article, and half of the Scott Lucas column talks about it. But there are so many things which are simply wrong.

Starting with the column:
First was the drama surrounding the ASUC executive elections. All four executive slots were won by Student Action party candidates. That is, until all four candidates were disqualified by the Judicial Council. A collection of independent and third-party candidates, all runners-up, were put into office.
Uh, no. Nobody was put into office. There was a whole series of legal challenges surrounding this, in fact. What Lucas just not paying attention?
The four Student Action executive candidates were charged with minor campaign violations. Then their party chair faced obstruction charges stemming from testimony at the judicial hearing. The Judicial Council ruling precipitated a constitutional crisis, as Student Action hotly contested the decision.
There isn't really a concept of "obstruction charges" in the Judicial Council's rulings. Suken Vakil, the party chair, was found in contempt for providing false or misleading testimony. No constitutional crisis ensued until Manny Buenrostro got out his Executive Order pen. Other than that, everything actually went in accordance with the Constitution.
Finally and anticlimactically, the Judicial Council voted to overturn its own ruling and reinstate the Student Action candidates.
The only part of the ruling that was overturned was the disqualification, and on a legal technicality. The remainder was upheld, including the finding that Vakil was in contempt for his behavior, and a finding that the Student Action folks falsified evidence was there, too. More info here.
Second is that CalSERVE, the usual opposition party, missed a chance at gaining the executive seats as they decided early on in the year not to run candidates for executive positions.
Uh, well, actually, unless CalSERVE had some mystical power to change the Judicial Council's rulings (which I doubt, since they probably argue on the same level as Student Action), they wouldn't have ended up in the executive seats any more than Squigor did.
Finally, expect more independent and smaller-party candidates in next spring's election. Enough folks were disaffected by Student Action's power play to form the nucleus of an opposition party.
We'll see. I say "not going to happen." No one will remember.

The news article (in the Fall Orienation section) is slightly better, though it seems to willfully avoid the major issues.
"It was literally a coup d'etat of the ASUC," said former Judicial Council chair Robert Gregg, referring to an executive order that installed the then-disqualified Student Action executives until fall. "It was single-handedly the most unconstitutional action I've ever seen in the ASUC."
I think Bobby's comment would make more sense if the full extent of the executive order he was referring to was known. I don't want to speak for him, but I expect that what he really found unconstitutional wasn't "installing candidates 'till fall" but rather "the President declaring his party the winner of the election" and "the President declaring that the Judicial Council couldn't meet to deal with this until it got permission from the Senate or President."
Incoming president Oren Gabriel agrees, but said he thinks the aim of clearing up the bylaws should be to maintain an effective balance between the branches of the government.

"There are certainly things that are unclear and I think that should be checked so that the Judicial Council should have to follow the bylaws, the constitution, and their own rules of procedure," he said.
This from the president from the party that lied to the Judicial Council, falsified evidence, tried to intimidate the Judicial Council with lawsuits, manipulated the ASUC's legal counsel to try to convince the Judicial Council not to do its job, used its presidential powers to declare an election in its favor, and used its presidential powers to declare an entire branch of government null and void until further notice. It's the Judicial Council that needs to better follow the rules, not Student Action. Right.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 8/28/2006 12:52:00 PM #
Comments (1)
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Yeah, that's what I was referring to when I made those statements. Too much to fit into one short news story... I really wish the Senate would form a comittee on ethics to release a report on this, but the purpose of such a committee would inevitably be destroyed by its political agents.
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