The Unqualified Candidates scandal pertains to the Fall 2005 ASUCD Election, and the circumstances related to ASUCD Supreme Court Case #28. In summary, the election ran smoothly until far after the voting was over, when it was discovered that two of the candidates elected were ineligible to serve due to disciplinary probation from Student Judicial Affairs. The inadvertant error on the part of the ASUCD Elections Committee led to an ASUCD Court case filed by Joe Harney, which stopped the Senators-elect from being seated. However, the court did not have a sufficient number of justices to hear the case, so the ASUCD Senate rejected the Court's decision without looking at it and swore in the new Senators by eliminating the requirement that Senators be cleared with SJA. Many were upset by this action, as evidenced by the large number of Livejournal posts, attack flyers, and various Aggie opinion articles. In recent times, the resolution of the conflict has devolved into several petty disputes on the procedures used by all parties.
Xtreme detail on the situation follows below:
On November 18, 2005, six candidates were elected to ASUCD Senate as normal. Sure there were complaints about voter turnout and unqualified candidates, but these complaints would soon be overshadowed. The next Monday morning, a Student Judicial Affairs official was reading The California Aggie, and instantly realized that candidates had been in her/his office.
Two of the six senators-elect were on Disciplinary Probation, and were therefore not eligible to run for ASUCD Senate. A third had been under investigation, so at this time, it was believed that there were three candidates ineligible.
Career employees within ASUCD were notified, and they reacted slowly. SJA will not release personal information about disciplinary actions, so there would be little that could be done. The Elections Committee was not notified immediately. Student Government Advisor Michael Tucker knew for one week before notifying the Elections Committee.
The Elections Committee thought about the possible ways of remedying the situation, and notified ASUCD Senators, ASUCD President and VP, and the ASUCD Court. Elections Committee Events Coordinator Chad Van Schoelandt filed a case against his comrade, Elections Committee Chair Jonathon Leathers, on the afternoon of Thursday, December 1. In this case, he alleges that Leathers did not follow the Government Codes and improperly certified the candidates. Jon believed that the candidates were verified, however, due to the lack of a Student Government Advisor at the time, verification with SJA never actually took place. As such, he wanted to leave it up to the Court to decide what should be done at this point.
If the involved candidates were never identified, presumably the ASUCD Court wouldn't have had the option of disqualifying the candidates, as neither they nor the Elections Committee knew which candidates were not eligible to run for ASUCD Senate. Student Judicial Affairs matters are not a matter of public record; their documents are sealed. (However, the candidates have since come forward.) In fact, the Elections Committee Chair does not usually check records before the election, the Student Government Advisor does. Since Michael Tucker had not yet been hired at the beginning of the election cycle, Jon Leathers had someone from the Student Services office check candidates' records. He believed that the records had been properly checked for probation status, but they had not.
The Elections Committee had asked the candidates to waive their right to privacy, and release the SJA records. They were, of course, under no obligation to do so. Leathers sent an e-mail to all of the Senators-elect asking the three individuals in question to step forward which they did the next day. In case this did not happen, Chad, the Elections Committee Events Coordinator, filed a case with SJA against all six Senators-elect on Tuesday, December 6. As each candidate signed a form stating that they were not on Disciplinary Probation at the start of their candidacy, any candidate who ran despite probation would have violated the Code of Student Conduct Section 102.02 which states that students shall not furnish false information to the University.
An additional issue is timing, and the problem was exacerbated by the Student Government Advisor. The lame duck Senators Constitutionally had to leave office on Thursday, December 8. However, the Senators-elect were prohibited from taking office because of the ASUCD Court case filed by Joe Harney against the Elections Committee. It was believed that the VP counts towards quorum and that if no Senators were absent the Senate could conduct business; this is not the case however, as the VP does not count towards quorum. However, it was already known that two Senators would not be back from Winter Break for the first Senate meeting of the Winter quarter. It was believed that the first Senate meeting of the quarter would have to be cancelled, however, Senators whose terms had ended, according to the Constitution, returned so that the Senate could meet quorum in January. There was precedent for this in the past, according to the Vice-President, Darnell Holloway.
Returning to the Senate meeting on December 8...ASUCD President Caliph Assagai had selected new ASUCD Court members, and the Senate confirmed them on Thursday, December 8. Joe Harney, a nominee for Court as well as a candidate, will not be allowed to sit on this case due to ASUCD Government Codes enacted in reforms over the last year.
At the Senate meeting on December 8, a closed session was called on Jon Leathers and Chad VanSchoelandt (as members of the Elections Committee) by Senator Ari Kalfayan. Chad and Jon both agreed to have it be an open-closed session so that the public could remain in the room during the process. This simply consisted of the Senate asking questions to Jon and Chad. No action was taken by the Senate following this closed session.
There was discussion at the Senate meeting to suspend the bylaws so that the Senators-elect can take their seats, regardless of any Court case that may be active. It was clear that such a vote would have failed. Article II Section 4 of the ASUCD Constitution may in fact allow a seated senator to be removed, but this is also up to debate.
On Thursday, December 8, the California Aggie published an editorial urging the candidates to withdraw. Some have questioned whether or not the examples of offenses the candidates could have made are random or whether they are speculation by the California Aggie's editorial board. Only the candidates, SJA and the few who have been given access to those records know for sure.
Before the ASUCD Senate meeting, the Elections Committee Chair met with Chris Herold and the three Senators-elect in question. Spencer Higgins provided a statement from Student Judicial Affairs that he was not on probation at the time and was simply red flagged as a result of an investigation that did not result in any action taken by SJA. Kareem Salem and Natalia Farhad Motamed provided statements from Student Judicial Affairs stating what they were put on probation for and that SJA would have considered ending their probation early to allow them to run for Senate. The latter point was used as a defense for seating the two candidates later but in fact meant nothing. During a meeting with Student Judicial Affairs, Leathers and Van Schoelandt were informed that SJA set a precedent in the past by shortening the probation of a student to allow the student to run for ASUCD elected office. Following this decision by SJA, they made it practice to consider all requests to shorten probation periods for students seeking ASUCD elected offices. Ultimately the decision to grant such a request is left up to the discretion of SJA and made based upon the remaining length of the probation period and the severity of the probation. While SJA would not officially comment on whether or not they would have shortened the probation periods of Kareem and Natalia, they did unofficially state the likely outcome of a request by each of the candidates.
Chad Van Schoelandt withdrew his ASUCD Court case at the Senate meeting. However, candidate Joe Harney had filed a similar complaint against the Elections Committee, so the Senators-elect could not have been seated without suspending the bylaws. Harney alleges that it's not the initial disciplinary probation that truly matters — it's the fact that the candidates lied about it.
The Senate Meeting (Dec. 8)
The first action in the Senate meeting was the so-called "open closed session" on Chad Van Schoelandt and Jon Leathers. At this time Jon revealed that he had met with the three Senators-elect in question and they had agreed to give him letters from SJA stating what they were on probation for. At this time, it was revealed that only two of the candidates were on disciplinary probation — the third had his case dismissed. The letters from SJA also stated that had SJA been consulted at the proper time, they would have considered ending the probation early so the candidates could run, though this outcome would be uncertain. Some interpret this as a sign that the candidates would in fact be approved, though SJA used neutral language as it cannot state what it would have done. After a difficult decision on the part of Chad, he officially withdrew his case against Jon.
The unedited letters, provided by SJA to the candidates, were only read by the Elections Committee. All other ASUCD officials who claim to know the reasons these candidates were put on disciplinary action are either speculating or taking someone else's word as fact. They did not see the official SJA letter. Additionally, the Elections Committee agreed to keep the specifics of the letters confidential between them and the candidates; an agreement that the Committee has upheld. Assumptions made by other ASUCD officials about the severity of their infractions and the liklihood of the candidates having their probations ended early have never and will never be publicly verified by SJA.
In the other case, filed by Harney, he had forgotten to specifically mention the section which would stop the election (Judicial Code 402). The Senate confirmed the new members of the ASUCD Court, and at 7:30 PM, the Court met quorum for the first time in weeks and discussed their first case. As the Senate meeting was simultaneously occuring across the hall, life was very exciting. The Court ruled that Section 402 was automatically triggered in the complaint, and that the bylaws did not allow for the seating of the candidates. If the candidates were to be seated, the bylaws would have to be suspended.
Meanwhile, the Senators decided to give their farewell comments. But before that, the all of the Commission Chairs gave a rousing performance of "ASUCD Is Your Life" to the tune of "Good Riddance" by Green Day. It was awesome. The Senators gave somewhat stirring speeches about how much they loved everyone, including Thomas who talks too much. After finishing in an hour (wow!), they waited to hear whether the Court would actually hear the case.
Kareem Salem, speaking for himself, Natalia, and Spencer, admitted to the open Senate that the investigation was about them, and that they were sorry about their past but would overcome their past to serve their constituents to the best of their ability.
After this, the Senate listened to yet another musical performance (this time with accordion) by Project Compost in their Unit Director's Report. They confirmed IAC and B&F members. They waited. And eventually the Court came out with their decision. Sort of. The Court decided that they would issue a written decision on Friday morning, and everyone's hearts sank. The ASUCD Senate thourougly debated the best course of action that would represent the students of UCD.
In the end, everyone decided that we should wait for due process of law, and none of the Senators-elect were seated. The Senators-elect who were not involved felt deeply dissatisfied, but were resigned to the fact that they would not take their seats until January. The business of The People still needed attended to, and the old Senate decided to see legislation as usual.
Senate ended at 10:53 PM, after many comments of mutual respect were shared amongst the Senate Table. Kareem Salem was the only Senator-elect to stay until the end of the meeting, to his credit. After this, most of the crew headed over to Soga's.
Winter Break and The Manila Solution
As of noon on Friday, December 9, the ASUCD Court released its finding as the whether to accept the case. The Court had decided, on the prima facie merits of the case, to see the case. This opinion was made available to the candidates and on EMOSNAIL. Importantly, all of the candidates were considered "real parties to the case", and were entitled to defense counsel and the ability to file briefs.
On December 11, Kareem Salem officially named Greg Russell as his counsel in Harney v. Leathers; Harney would keep his own council. Winter Break passed uneventfully, with a good mix of fun and brief writing for those involved. Senate held a meeting, pretty much as usual. Avni Patel wrote a letter from her trip in India, as someone explained, "Attacking me from across the ocean." Again, Salem stayed the entire meeting, but some of the old crew was missing — Janine Fiel had a job. And due to Army enlistment, it would be Keith Shively's last meeting.
The Court acted as soon as they felt was legally and practially possible and scheduled a case for the following Tuesday, though this late of a date irked some Senators. As everyone showed up to the meeting, on January 10, at 8:00 PM in the Mee Room, it became clear that something was wrong. The ASUCD Supreme Court could not make quorum — one member had resigned since the Winter Break, and another had neglected to inform anyone on the Court that he was no longer a student. Chad Van Schoelandt felt that this was unfair, but Michael Tucker attempted to assume authority by telling Rev. Van Schoelandt, "You wanted a court case, and this is the court you get." Jonathon Leathers then informed Michael Tucker that they (Jon and Chad) had not brought this particular case and in fact were the defendants. Chad added, "So to solve a case where a rule is broken, we're going to break another one to do so?"
Rev. Chad Van Schoelandt and Student Government Advisor Michael Tucker have a dramatic stand-off over Tucker's use of Advisorial Fiat to hold the case. Chief Justice Kris Fricke solved this dramatic stand-off by saying that the court would hear the case, but that the ruling may not be binding. So, in the interest of truth, the tribunal marched ahead with ASUCD Supreme Court Case #28. To everyone present, the form of the trial was clearly ill-suited to the type of case being presented. Leathers pleaded guilty, as he and Van Schoelandt sat awkwardly at the defense table. As Van Schoelandt had filed a brief supporting the plaintiff, this was a somewhat odd arrangement.
Because Leathers had to represent the interests of all candidates, he filed a brief that stated only the facts of the situation and gave no suggested resolution to the Court. However, Salem had named Gregory Russell as his counsel and the arguments by Salem and Russell had to be put forward. Given that no other candidate had named counsel and that the defense could only have one counsel, Leathers let Russell speak for the defense instead of trying to put forward Russell's arguments and remain impartial. This information is meant to highlight the peculiar nature of the situation of the case and the hearing format.
Star Witness Paul Amnuaypayoat checks out the snacks provided at the court case. After brief and generally unmemorable opening statements from both Harney and Russell, Harney called his star witness, "Libertarian" Paul Amnuaypayoat. As a coauthor of the major Elections Reform Act of 2005 (along with a lot of other people), he explained the intent of an amendment made to Government Code 102: "The Elections Committee does not have any power which is not explicitly granted to them from the Government Codes." Under his interpretation, the committee does not have the power to decide whether the candidates "would have been eligible" had SJA been consulted at the correct time, only if they were currently eligible.
The defense called no witnesses, and the session moved into closing remarks. Harney argued that the law made no room for the candidates to be considered eligible. In fact, the wording of a particular section could be interpreted as implying that any disciplinary action would exclude a person from ASUCD "in perpetuity". Russell argued that this was ludicrous and contrary to the intent of the law. He also argued that Salem had been denied the correct process, and that had he been able to contact SJA at the correct time, it is reasonable to assume that Salem would have been cleared to run. Salem had gotten the required number of votes, and should not be disqualified after he had already won. At the end, both sides officially objected to the fact that the case did not have quorum (but neither did at the beginning).
In any case, the snacks in the back were eaten and the Court began the consideration of the case. That night, Kris Fricke was struck with The Manila Solution: the Court would issue its verdict in a sealed manila folder, to be opened if the Senate confirmed that the verdict of the four justices was in fact valid. The Manila Solution also ordered that the outgoing senators would be allowed to vote to accept or reject the ruling, as explained in E.M.O.S.N.A.I.L.
At a new Senate meeting two days later, all parties waited with great expectation. Sen. Kristen Birdsall started the meeting with a motion to certify the court's ruling; the motion failed 3-5-4. Most senators voted against the measure on the basis that the court did not meet quorum. However, they felt that the best way to decide this case was in closed session — thus excluding the process from the public eye. After they emerged from a 45-minute closed session, they had a bill.
This new bill was called up urgent, and essentially railroaded through the senate with very little public comment. It did two things — it removed the basis for Harney's case from the Government Codes retroactively; and, in an awesome display of stripping power from the ASUCD Court, passed a provision nullifying all cases which were altered with retroactive legislation. This legislation also made ex post facto law a precident in ASUCD. The President, Caliph Assagai signed the bill minutes after it was passed, and the Senate and others all congratulated themselves about how these changes were necessary anyway.
Prior to passing this bill, Jonathon Leathers made it clear that he disagreed with this bill and the Senate's planned course of action. As such, he said that he would not certify the election under these circumstances. Because the Government Codes require the Chair of the Elections Committee to certify the election and provide Certificates of Election to the Senators-elect, the Senate was forced to suspend the Government Codes in order to seat the candidates that it felt had won the election.
Some have claimed that Leathers already certified the election at the Senate meeting on December 8, 2005. However, Leathers denies this claim and the minutes from that Senate meeting show that such a statement was never made. Leathers certainly never issued certificates of election, which was one of the steps required in the ASUCD Constitution. However, VP Holloway's certificate hadn't been signed by the Paloma Perez, and he didn't receive it in time either — it seems politics overriding procedure is standard practice in ASUCD.
There is no doubt that this situation has raised the anger of many people. Some are simply glad that it is over, while others staunchly disagree with the approach used to resolve the situation, and still others demand the heads of major participants.
On 2006-01-17 Plaintiff / Justice Joe Harney, Chief Justice Kris Fricke and Chad Van Schoelandt andJonathon Leathers, the chair of the Elections Committee, recieved emails notifying them of a pending closed sessions with the Senate, called by Kristen Birdsall. These closed sessions, in regards to personnel matters, are usually to investigate firing the individuals. Birdsall made various charges against each of those called, ranging from failure to fulfill job duties (Leathers) to holding a secret meeting (Fricke) to unprofessionalism (Van Schoelandt) to not acting like a Justice (Harney). Fricke soon pointed out that this was the third time that a closed session against him was not called properly, and that the entire session should be null and void.
One of the flyers in its native habitat. In addition, flyers announcing that a date rapist had been seated the ASUCD Senate were posted in Wellman Hall on 1/17/06. Many consider this to be in poor taste, as there is no evidence for this claim; the author of these flyers got the idea from an Aggie article during the scandal. An article was published by The California Aggie more than a week later on January 26, detailing the flyers and the response from students. However, this was perceived by the Senate as reopening old wounds, and an endorsement of the date rape theory. Though the article said the flyers were false, the publication could hurt anyway. Kareem Salem was still falsely implicated (despite being one of three males in question), and has firmly denied the rumour — according to Salem, his trip to SJA was mainly due to a fouled up citation in a paper. The letter from SJA given to Leathers by Kareem verified that he was on disciplinary probation for plagiarism and made no mention of sexual assault. An apology from whomever wrote these flyers was issued by proxy at the Senate meeting on January 26 — though he said he had originally gotten the idea of date rape being involved at all from The Aggie. The letter he sent also affirmed that Salem is not guilty of any form of sexual assault.
I didn't know how to address this sexual assault rumor at the time because it technically had nothing to do with the eligibility of any candidate and I'm still not sure the best way to explain it. The rumor first came to me from someone in the Aggie and I do not know where this individual heard the rumor. This person at the Aggie believed the candidate accused of sexual assault was one of the three individuals on disciplinary probation with SJA. Obviously we later found out there were only two, not three, individuals on disciplinary probation. The rumor was not about Kareem to begin with but the nature of rumors allowed it to change over time and somehow his name got associated with it. - JonathonLeathers
On Wednesday January 18, 2006, at approximately noon, ASUCD Court Justice Joe Harney received a death threat by phone, telling him that he should resign "or else." This call was made anonymously, with a computerized voice, and the call was placed from Quad Phone 2. Harney is not dead yet.
In the legislative aftermath, a provision stating that the cases changed by retroactive legislation are automatically nullified was challenged by Brent Laabs with another Court case. After discussion with Laabs, Kai Savaree-Ruess and Avi Singh (et al.) drafted a bill to remove the section of SB #36, as it was not necessary to the accomplish the goal and likely violated separation of powers. Since the crisis had been abated, the Senate agreed and passed the bill. The case was withdrawn.
Another case has been filed by Chad Van Schoelandt, in respect to releasing the minutes of the closed session which led up to SB #36. Chad alleges that the Constitition only allows three reasons for a closed session, and that this was not one of the three (in fact no reason has been released). In counter to this argument, the Standing Rules state that the Senate may enter a closed session for any reason, and some argue that the Constitution clause was not intended to limit closed sessions. Although no one can talk about the closed session, here's what we know:
At the beginning, of the twelve people in the room they had about thirteen different opinions on how to solve the matter.
The rules of the session were relaxed into a more open discussion.
Caliph Assagai and Kai Savaree-Ruess were called into the closed session.
The Senate claims to have taken no action during the meeting.
The Senate physically wrote SB #36 in the recess immediately following the closed session.
Of those present, only Vice President Darnell Holloway objected to the bill's modus operundi during the closed session.
Advisor Michael Tucker has stated that even if the Court finds that the session was not a closed session, he will not release the minutes under any circumstance.
It was during this session that various members of the ASUCD Court, the Election Committee, Commission Chairs, and the public met in the ASUCD Conference Room (and the hall outside). In addition to the Court taunting people with the Manila Folder, Van Schoelandt met with Harney and developed a solution — if he dropped his case, the Elections Committee would certify the candidates excluding Salem and Farhadmotamed. However, this meeting of the defense and plaintiff working out an out-of-court settlement was considered to be a meeting by Birdsall and formed much the basis of the next closed session. The Court was criticized for violating "the spirit of the Brown Act", despite the fact that (1) the senate had already concluded that the Court did not have quorum on this case and (2) judicial bodies are not bound by the Brown Act. Due to accusations made by Birdsall during the second "open-closed session", Kris Fricke has written up a suit to be filed in Yolo County Superior Court alleging libel.
Want more opinions? Just scroll down to the Comments section!
The Aggie covered some reactions
Candidates who were on Probation
There was also the possibility that the disciplinary probations of particular candidates should have been terminiated before the election — that is, SJA had made an error. These rumours are in fact, false, as each candidate was given a document saying when their probation ended. Both candidates knew at one point when their probation ended, but they may have forgotten.
"False Positive" Candidate
Spencer Higgins, who was under investigation, but the investigation was dropped.
All of the candidates were checked with SJA by the Student Government Advisor, Michael Tucker, after the three Senators-elect in question came forward to the Elections Committee Chair. This was done in case a new election was going to have to be run and individuals would have to be excluded from the election.
As you've read above, I was prevented from taking my seat along with the five other senators-elect because of the filing of Harney v. Leathers. As such, we cannot be seated so long as this case is pending in regards to the election. Mr. Harney was within his rights as a member of this association to file such a suit, although I believe that his reading of the law is mistaken. It is unfortunate that the system did not work as it was designed to, but this is not a time to throw the baby out with the proverbial bath water. The fact still remains that enough students gave me their vote during the election to allow me to be elected to one of the six open seats. No one disputes these results.
There is currently much work facing the senate, and I am fully committed to seeing to the business of ASUCD. Although I have not yet officially taken office, I have begun meeting with important figures in the community to address issues such as increasing entertainment options and better student-police relations. Though keeping me from being seated as a full senator, this case has not prevented me from living up to the standards of professionalism and hard work that the students ought to expect from their elected officials. I am fully confident that the court will find in favor of my constituents and allow me to take my seat when the case has been decided. —Kareem Salem
See also: The Aggie Article
In the event that the two senators resign from their their seats, there will be a Countback election, as per the Countback Amendment. Using StoveTop (a program that conducts a Choice Voting election), the winners of a Countback with Natalia and Kareem resigning would be as follows:
Excluded candidates: Joe Harney The ASUCD Senate Elections ASUCD STV tally is finished. After 5 rounds, the final totals are: Katie Webber 334.897193564 Jenny Yu 297.92782738 Michael Kongo Aguilera 0.0 Joe Harney 0.0 Jimmy Moresco 0.0 Brian McFadden 0.0 Behrad Brad Golshani 0.0 The winners are: Jenny Yu Katie Webber Final votes: 297.92782738 Threshold: 302 Percent threshold obtained: 98.6515984701
Joe Harney was excluded from the Countback election because he has maintained he would not run. These results can easily change if other candidates decide to not run, and thus should be taken with several grains of salt.
Brian McFadden was not excluded from the above Countback simulation, but has expressed a desire to withdraw from ASUCD politics, partially from a need to fulfill other obligations, and partially out of disgust with a system in which it is possible for two out of six candidates to be elected on a fraudulent basis. In the unlikely case of a recount in which he is elected, Mr. McFadden has stated that he will refuse to take office.
The Section 104.7 of the ASUCD Government Codes:
"No student may run for an ASUCD elected officed if the student has one or more of the following disciplinary actions placed by Student Judicial Affairs: suspension, disciplinary probation, activities dismissal, interim suspension."
This code was eliminated by the legislation passed during the Senate meeting on January 14.
Somewhat related LiveJournal posts:
In UCD LiveJournal:
2006-01-13 23:54:00 thetalesend (posted two additional, but they are nearly identical)
2006-01-14 13:18:00 kirkjr41
"Student politics are the most vicious, precisely because the stakes are so small" — Henry Kissinger
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2005-12-06 23:00:27 Jesus! —JackHaskel
2005-12-06 23:04:32 As the Chair of the Elections Committee, I accept some of the blame for this not getting caught at the beginning. In my defence, there was nothing in my job "guide" of how to verify probations. This is because the Student Government Advisor had always done this in the past and at the time there was no student government advisor. There is also the fact that SJA does not give this information to students so the only way for me to have checked this was through an ASUCD career employee, which was the non-existent Student Government Advisor. Additionally, when various other eligibility requirements were checked, I was under the impression that probation status was checked as well. Obviously this was not the case. —JonathonLeathers
Jon, after all of the travesties that your predecesor committed during her term as Elections Chair, you would have to commit a felony in order to be fired... - Paul Amnuaypayoat
2005-12-06 23:07:48 Well now, we couldn't reasonably expect a non-controversial election, now could we? —PaulAmnuaypayoat
2005-12-07 00:03:03 Note that the only document that cannot be overridden by the senate is the constitution. The ONLY constitutional requirement for being a senator is that the candidate is not on academic probation. SJA violations are not included in the constitution. —ThomasLloyd
You're right, they aren't. However, Article II Section 4 of the ASUCD Constitution reads "However, candidates for Senate shall conform to the campaign regulations enacted by legislation by the Senate or shall forfeit their eligibility to hold office." The candidates allegedly did not conform to these regulations, if they were on probation. Secondly, constitutional force applies to legislation enacted, so it's questionable if you suspend the bylaws to seat the senators because that is not legislation. You would have to bring up a bill as urgent, Thomas. —BrentLaabs
Actually I'm wrong, you could seat the senators. But you should be able to remove them without a recall. —BrentLaabs
2005-12-07 00:20:45 What exactly is Academic Probation? Does that come from something like plagiarism, or could it just be low grades? How is it different from Disciplinary Probation? How long is the probation, typically? Is this common (such as half the students on it?) or is it just the high quality of political candidates? —SteveDavison
An undergraduate is on academic probation when their grade point average overall or quarterly grade drops below 2.0, but is higher than 1.5., I believe that it lasts for 2 quarters. Disciplinary Probation is one step under suspension. It can be issued for many things, including plagarism or cheating. I can't say how common either is but it's not unusual.
2005-12-07 01:06:38 Constitutionally speaking, because ironically enough all outgoing Senators came into the organziation late due to an elections scandal, the one year mark is actually the first meeting of the winter quarter. Not that it affects me because my term doesn't end for a quarter. —RobRoy
2005-12-08 10:40:43 I am delighted that the Aggie's editorial nudges at the implication that any of these unqualified senators could, in fact, be an attempted rapist. Good writing there, guys. —TravisGrathwell
The Aggie also says "the three candidates committed perjury." Last I checked, perjury is lying under oath in a court of law. —PhilipNeustrom
2005-12-08 17:55:59 "However, the ASUCD Court won't even be able to disqualify candidates, as neither they nor the Elections Committee knows which candidates were not eligible to run for ASUCD Senate. Student Judicial Affairs matters are not a matter of public record; their documents are sealed." How can Jon or the Elections Committee be guilty of not disqualifying the ineligible candidates a few weeks ago when, even now, they're not allowed to know the names of the ineligible people?
The only solution to preserving students' confidentiality seems to be to have applications for office be submitted directly to SJA, and then have SJA pass along only the applications of the eligible candidates to the Elections Commitee. —ChrisJerdonek
2005-12-09 15:34:27 Outstanding. UC student politics is an institution that never ever fails to entertain. —RocksandDirt
2005-12-09 15:46:53 Should this be reanmed to controversy? all the other ones are named controversy —ArlenAbraham
2005-12-09 21:44:49 Now I know what Henry Fonda's character must have felt in twelve angry men. There are two separate issues at dispute here. The first is whether or not the Elections Committee failed to correctly certify the eligibility of all the candidates. Whether this mistake was done due to lack of training and/or lack of University faculty support is immaterial. The second issue is encapsulated in John Leathers' statement during the open closed hearing that SJA would have cleared the candidates to participate in the election. According to Section 104 paragraph 7 of the elections code states, “ No Student may run for an elected ASUCD office if the student has one or more of the following disciplinary actions placed by Student Judicial Affairs: suspension, disciplinary probation, activities dismissal, interim suspension." This rule can be easily interpreted that once sanctioned by SJA for any of the listed offenses that a student is ineligible to run for office permanently.
Whether or not currently on disciplinary probation at the time becomes immaterial, the mere fact that any potential candidate was sanctioned is enough to disqualify them. I hope we can all agree that this issue has called into question the legitimacy of the ASUCD Student Government as an institution. The only way that confidence in the integrity of the institution will be restored is for due process of the law to proceed.
As the plaintiff in this case I have already recused myself from the ASUCD Supreme Court for this case. To remove any further possible conflicts of interest in this case I officially withdraw my candidacy for the Fall 2005 ASUCD Senate election. This will prevent any freak incident of electoral math to seat me upon the senate. This case is not about my personal dissatisfaction with the results of the election. This is about making sure the Rule of Law reigns supreme, and that the students of the University of California Davis can trust in the integrity of both the ASUCD Student Government and the students who are elected to represent them. —JoeHarney
While the current elections controversy certainly has raised doubts about specific candidates, to claim that the legitimacy of the ASUCD itself is in question is extreme and unfair to those who, through ASUCD, devote themselves to serving the student body.
2006-01-14 16:16:36 Where do you we go from here? —JimSchwab
Quick question: Is the Davis Wiki meant to be a live journal hijacked by a couple over-zealous individuals or is this meant to be something similar to the real Wikipedia and serve as an informational source? I have always held it to the standard of the latter, yet find myself continuously dissapointed. I think if you feel that it should serve more as the latter, please alter it so it serves as such and you can remove my question. Thanks. -TL
Thomas, I agree that this page is a mess w/ comments and facts appearing together. I'm attempting to clean it up. I'll return to this process later tonight. - JonathonLeathers
REGARDING THE COURT CASE: Neither side was able to argue at the level of the other — Harney did not address the spirit of the question effectively, and Russell did not address the law effectively. Had Harney talked about the spirit of fair play, and the upholding the consequences of actions is essential to the philosophy of a university, he would have fared better. And on the other side, Russell should have explained that the candidates had already been certified to the best of the ability of the Elections Committee Chair, and there would be no way to now know how the election would have been affected. And of course, neither side mentioned the voters at all. - ???
REGARDING THE SENATE'S ACTIONS: Hiding from the electorate behind closed doors to make this decision was the worst possible course of action, and will further isolate the Senators from their electorate they represent and the morals they espouse. - ???
Besides making ex post facto law a precident in ASUCD, it manages to convey the idea that there is a double standard for popular people. It doesn't matter if they break the rules, but it definitely matters if the Court does. - ???
Note that simple suspension of the bylaws would have sufficed, and that is exactly what was done. Although the basis for the court case had been removed, the case itself had not, and the candidates could still not be certified. The Senate overrided this, and the candidates were sworn in. Thus a possible Catch-22 of an no-quorum Senate and and a no-quorum Court was averted, and at the very minimum, everyone was happy that business could go on. - ???
I think what Mr. Laabs is ignoring is the fact that accepting the invalid court opinion would have been breaking the constitution. On the other hand, writing legislation to address the problem (a problem that should have been fixed anyway) was a positive solution that did not break any rules.
ASUCD Senate Bill 36, section 2: all court cases no longer applicable due to legislation are nullified. The court case no longer exists and the senator-elects were free to be seated. The only reason Senate had to questionably suspend the bylaws was due to not having the Elections Committee Chair present to certifiy the election. The reasoning behind this decision was that he was quoted in the meeting minutes of an earlier meeting as having certified the election results. —ThomasLloyd
This is not true. I never certified the election and there is nothing in the minutes to even suggest that I certified the election. Once again, the Senate loses. - JonathonLeathers
REGARDING THE AFTERMATH: The comments on these pages go through a lot of views, and it is interesting to see when the opposition gladly identify themselves, while supporters of the Senate's action often post anonymously. a call for recall, a Justice's View and another - Chad
The legislative branch has shown a willingness to ignore the judicial branch and the resentments harboured by new Senators, Court members, and other student government geeks could persist for years. Not that many years, of course, because we all graduate eventually. But it remains to seen how well ASUCD will heal in the future. - Brent
I think this characterization of things is a little silly and overdramatic. Jonathan Leathers isn't resigning, he's moving on, like everyone else should. The legislative branch wasn't ignoring the judicial branch, the judicial branch didnt constitutionally meet the requirements to have made any decisions. The root of the problem was retroactively solved with ASUCD Senate Bill #36 and it was done in a manner that was the best available option. As for people going on for years, that's just silly. ASUCD doesn't have the institutional memory to harbor scandals for more than a couple months. There have been a number of court scandals in just the time of the current Chief Justice. However, with all the turnover in ASUCD, the only person left who can even still have feelings about those scandals is the Chief Justice himself. In that short of time, people currently involved in ASUCD wouldn't have any "need to heal" let alone have any idea what happened in the first place. —ThomasLloyd
You all don't know the outcome of your decision, because after Tiny Sanders asked "where is all of the outrage", you quickly moved into Senate discussion. I was starting to lean towards seating the candidates, but not in that way. Here's the thing Thomas. You were always the smartest, the best legal eagle of the Senate, by far. But you have always failed to look at the moral consequences of your actions. Your bills are well written and pragmatic, but the consequences are usually ill-considered. Take the bill which allowed the Commission Chairs to leave after their business was done. It was a good idea in theory, but in practice, the majority of the Chairs didn't want it. One of them cried — you hurt them, even if the bill was, in essence, a good idea. The same applies in the recent case. Sure, you all had to violate at least one government code to move on, that much is for certain. But Senate Bill #36 didn't just violate the spirit of the bylaws, it raped the spirit of the bylaws. You don't see the consequences I see, and didn't allow me to tell you, because you all went into closed session where you could all groupthink your solution. So, congratulations on making a legally exquisite bill which happens to make a mockery of the entire association. —BrentLaabs
Well thanks for unnecessarily implying I'm brimming with bitterness Thomas, I feel that was quite relevant and showed a lot of good faith on your part. Incidently, by scandals I assume you mean the two removal hearings against me, since those are the closest the Court has ever come under me to being involved in a scandal. As to my part, I fully consider both of those to be completely meritless personal vendettas of Sara Henry. Yes I suppose I do still harbour feelings about them: I will forever think Sara Henry and Paloma Perez are weak and petty people. However, they are no longer involved in student government and as such I really don't think any feelings I have in that respect effects anything current. But I'm sure you brought it up with the best of intentions. -KrisFricke
Thomas is right about me not resigning. The only way I'll leave my position is if the Senate fires me, and I wouldn't be surprised if they try to do so. :) - JonathonLeathers
First, sorry Kris, I didnt mean to imply that you harbored any particular feelings- I was just making the note that you would be the only person around long enough to even have known what has happened. I have a lot of respect for you as the court's chair and I know that it is your job to act upon what's best for the court. Brent, I'm sorry if you felt your feelings were hurt and I undoubtedly agree with you that certain people are going to be upset by the actions of the senate. The fact though is 1) "raping" the bylaws is better than violating the constitution (though I don't characterize SB36 the same); and 2) the view people will have will be adopted from the tone set by those discussing them. I am no longer involved with ASUCD and I have no vested interest in seeing it succeed following my departure. However, I think that we're seeing the people most upset with the senate's actions are people that are too wrapped up in seeing the drama continue. At the end of the day, the senators who justifiably won the election were seated and ASUCD has the opportunity to move on. The ability of it to do so, sadly, seems tied to the maturity of those who are making the biggest stink. I ask simply: if you have any desire to see ASUCD do any of the good that I feel it has the potential to do- let things go and join the efforts of the new senators and help move on. Those who cant be a part of the solution I ask to step aside and let those who have been selected by the student body get on with doing their jobs. —ThomasLloyd
I don't know why people keep saying that the two in question justifiably won the election. I can pretty much guarantee that if the average student knew that they were on disciplinary probation and then committed perjury, they wouldn't have voted for them. One could argue that they were selected by the student body only by means of deception. Other than that, and the fact that deep down for some reason I feel like all of this is just wrong, whatever, I'm glad now at least someone (whether they should be there or not) has the chance to accomplish something on Senate. Something needed to be done, and fortunately as a student government we can just chalk it up to a bad election and move on. —DanXie
Everybody needs to calm down. Take a break from politics for the holiday weekend and relax. This bickering isn't going to solve anything, and it isn't going to bring any new respect to the court, the senate, the elections committee, or the anyone else on the Third Floor. There are obviously many people with strong opinions about the events of the past two months, but hopefully we can all agree that a decision of some kind was needed Thursday night. Granted, it's not the perfect solution, but it's also not set in stone. I guarantee, though, that the atmosphere of conflict that we can all feel right now won't help us in fixing any problems presented by this solution. - PaulHarms
Respect is earned. There are good reasons people don't respect ASUCD, probably the same reasons no one votes. So, when people pick-up the Aggie on Monday and read that the ASUCD Senate made a ridiculous decision, I'm sure those reasons will be further justified. Also, I don't agree that a decision was needed on Thursday night. I don't want people to forget what happened on Thursday, so I'm not going to let it fade away. And, like I said, if the Senate doesn't like that, they can really take away my power by firing me. - JonathonLeathers
Honestly, what's left to be said? What's done is done, and now we need some CONSTRUCTIVE solutions to deal with the aftermath of this scandal. I just wonder who it will be that will earn our respect and put forth these solutions. - PaulHarms
Constructive is a relative term. Either the Senate (or ASUCD Politburo as I shall refer to it further) has to pass these solutions and that will only happen if the solutions involve giving them more power at the expense of other branches of ASUCD. The other alternative is by direct democracy and letting the voters approve suggested changes. Being on the Elections Committee I can't be involved in the latter (but others should know it's an option) and the Politburo has lost my respect so I wouldn't waste my time with the former. As such, I'm just going to continue to do my job and complain about the ASUCD Politburo the whole fucking time. (Isn't this discussion even more entertaining in context of the quote below? I think so.) - JonathonLeathers
* PS: when are we going to allow Davis Wiki to become more like the real Wiki and stop treating it like a LJ?!? Sadly, my earlier question (regarding this fate) was answered by the drama that continues to unfold. —ThomasLloyd
Davis Wiki is a non-NPOV wiki. We all have strong opinions (at least for now) and if we tried to enforce even a partially neutral point of view, it would just devolve into a some argue situation. Of its very nature, Davis Wiki is more like the original wiki than Wikipedia. Are you upset at the general thread mode on this page, or something in specific? —BrentLaabs
I much prefer it this way. It adds flavor and characterizes the mood of our campus much better than if it were regular Wiki. —DanXie
"Regular Wikis" don't have NPOV — that's a Wikipedia thing, not a Wiki thing. (And believe me, there's plenty of drama on Wikipedia). — JabberWokky
The final question which must be asked is, why didn't Jonathon Leathers, as Elections Committee Chair, certify any the candidates? Not even the ones which were certainly qualified and elected have ever been certified. Perhaps this issue could have been resolved at a much earlier time by the Elections Committee just doing their jobs, and certifying someone. One wonders if there could have been a way to avoid this whole scandal and the fallout thereof, and if the Elections Committee could have resolved the problem at an early stage. However, we may never know, unless UC Berkeley loans us their super-secret time machine.
What do you think the committee should have done exactly? Certified the initial 6 knowing some were ineligible but not knowing who? Given lack of important information, we didn't exactly have a lot of options for much of the time, nor did the options seem relevent once it was thought that the court would be able to make a binding decission. We were not hired to determine what happens when procedures go wrong, the court is, so we were leaving it to them as much as possible. "if the Elections Committee could have resolved the problem at an early stage." Sure, we could have just never mentioned that anyone wasn't eligible, we had that option which would "have been a way to avoid this whole scandal and the fallout thereof." So if you are criticizing us for trying to get information, and think about our actions, then it is noted. Democracy is slow when compared to a dictatorship, and if we were upholding the dictatorial spirit we would have avoided scandal, but we weren't and we got scandal, and I perfer scandal to cover up and just acting like nothing went wrong. At least now we can have a 'no ex post facto' constitutional amendment.
These may seem like wild claims to you, but it's the predominant view of the Senate table.
Thats like blaming the reporters who reported on whitewater for the scandal that ensued. The Elections Committee could have snuffed out the whole scandal by pretending they didn't do anything wrong and not telling anyone —and thats probably what previous elections committees would have done— but unqualified candidates would have been seated. The scandal wouldn't have Not Happened by any means, its just that no one would have known. If a scandal happens in a forest and no one reports on it, does it really happen?