Two grievances filed in elections

    Within the first two days of the opening of the 2003 A.S. elections campaigning season, two grievances have been filed with the elections committee; one against the majority of the members of the Students First! slate for allegedly making a threatening phone call to the Committee to Elect Kevin Hsu’s chairman Phil Palisoul, the other against independent presidential candidate Kevin Hsu for allegedly “”falsifying information on election candidacy forms or campaign materials.””

    Phil Palisoul
    Chairman of the Committee to Elect Kevin Hsu

    The first was filed by Palisoul on March 31 against every running member of the Students First! slate, with the exception of vice president of finance candidate Harish Nandagopal.

    The second grievance was filed on April 1 by Nandagopal.

    According to Palisoul, he received a phone call at his private residence on the evening of March 18 from an unidentified caller who, according to the grievance report, said, “”Give us back our club name or we will fucking kill you.””

    “”I’m really shocked because I know that no one on my slate would do anything like this,”” said Kevin Shawn Hsu, who is running as presidential candidate on the Students First! slate.

    Though Palisoul took the issue to the UCSD campus police, he said he was told he would have to take it to the San Diego police and felt it was unnecessary to do so. However, he said that he nonetheless took the issue seriously.

    “”Being my first death threat, I think you have to take it seriously. I don’t know what the caller’s intentions were,”” Palisoul said.

    Elections Manager Robin Shelton informed Palisoul that nowhere in the elections bylaws are there any rules to deal with this incident, and recommended to Palisoul that he contact the San Diego police.

    “”It’s incredibly disappointing, and nothing of that nature is ever acceptable in a campus election,”” Shelton said, adding that the issue was “”above and beyond”” the scope of any A.S. elections bylaws.

    In addition to being chairman of the Committee to Elect Kevin Hsu, Palisoul is also president of the Students First! club and partook in elections last year, running as presidential candidate under the Together Our Goals Are Achievable slate, before backing out and supporting the New Wave slate’s candidate.

    According to Palisoul, the Students First! club had also been expecting a grievance filed against Kevin Hsu by the Students First! slate for using the title “”Students First!”” in his campaigning.

    The grievance filed by Nandagopal accuses Kevin Hsu of violating an elections bylaws article, saying that candidates cannot “”falsify information on Election Candidacy forms or campaign materials.””

    While independent candidate Kevin Hsu has received no similar threats, Palisoul has also alleged that members of the Students First! slate have been contacting Kevin Hsu, asking him to drop out of the race, saying that the only member that identified himself was Nandagopal.

    However, no official grievances have been filed on this matter.

    Neither Kevin Hsu nor Nandogopal were available for comment by press time.

    According to Palisoul, the Students First! club is currently considering filing an additional grievance against the Students First! slate for using the same name for the slate as that of their organization.

    The use of the name Students First! has been in use over past years by slates on college campuses across the nation, and was used at UCSD in last year’s elections by current A.S. president Jenn Brown.

    The club named Students First! was first registered with Student Organizations & Leadership Opportunities in 1998, but was not re-registered until January 2003. S.O.L.O. clubs must be re-registered every year, but can be revived by any group of students at any time, according to S.O.L.O. program coordinator Ellen Erenea.

    The purpose of the club, as outlined in 1998, was “”for students to get together and deal with issues related to students and politics.”” Currently, the outline states that its purpose is: “”to prevent extremists from abusing the A.S. Council; preserve integrity of democracy at UCSD; and to advocate for student issues, through publicity, satire, and public awareness campaigns.””

    “”Demonstrating the absurd by being absurd: That’s to summarize our club,”” Palisoul said. “”Basically part of demonstrating the absurd by being absurd is you’ve got to do things that are going to get attention, and for the last couple of years people have known the name Students First!.””

    According to Palisoul, the club is endeavoring to get new people and ideas into the A.S Council, saying that insiders have a “”ridiculous”” advantage over candidates who come from the outside.

    “”We with our firm belief are trying to do whatever is possible to get new ideas into A.S., and the best way to do that was to take a name everybody knew and use it as an organization and cause a commotion,”” Palisoul said.

    Palisoul is listed as a principle member of the Students First! club alongside Ryan Darby, Everly Mariano and Bryan Barton. The latter is also running as an independent presidential candidate in this year’s elections. Kevin Hsu falls under general membership, which, according to Palisoul, includes about 30 other members.

    Kevin Hsu’s candidate statement, which has been issued in this year’s sample ballots, states that he has “”held the following positions in Students First!,”” going on to list the positions of “”Warren Freshman & Sophomore Senator,”” “”Internal Committee,”” “”Chairman on the ‘NO on CRENO’ campaign,”” “”Chairman of the H.E.A.R. Campaign,”” “”A.S. VP Internal”” and “”Director of Minority Outreach.””

    According to the minutes for a Students First! club meeting held on March 5, each of these positions was created on that same day, after Kevin Hsu publicly announced to the club his intention to run for A.S. presidency. Following Kevin Hsu’s announcement, Palisoul announced that each of these positions needed to be created, and they were subsequently voted on and passed by the club’s members in attendance, and accepted by Kevin Hsu.

    Kevin Shawn Hsu, who currently serves as vice president internal on the A.S. Council, spent two years serving as Earl Warren College freshman and sophomore senator to the A.S. Council, among other positions similar to the positions created by the Students First! club.

    Palisoul said that while Kevin Hsu is a Revelle student, they nominated him as the club’s “”Warren Freshman & Sophomore Senator”” for lack of Warren students in the club.

    “”We come up with positions every day,”” Palisoul said. “”Someone says, ‘Phil, I’ve got this great position idea.’ I say, ‘What is it?’ They say, ‘I want to be Students First! A.S. Commissioner of Aviary Concerns on Campus.’ We put it to a vote, and it usually passes unanimously.””

    Other positions created on March 5 include a second position for “”Director of Minority Outreach”” and a position for “”Muir Freshman Senator,”” both accepted by club member John Altick, who is running as independent candidate for Muir sophomore senator and who included the position in his candidate statement. A last position, “”Sixth College Freshman Senator,”” was accepted by Ben Yang, who is running as independent for Sixth College sophomore senator.

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