SF! supporters speak out

    Complaints regarding the disqualification of the Students First! slate dominated the A.S. Council meeting on April 16. Members of the slate, as well as several student supporters, utilized the public input portion of the meeting to openly assert their dissatisfaction with the decision of the elections committee.

    Lyon Liew
    Guardian

    Throughout the past week, students have expressed discontent with the disqualification of the Students First! slate. Supporters and members of the slate attended a rally in the Price Center, which focused on abolishing hate-crimes on campus. Flyers were also posted across campus asking, “”Was your vote counted,”” and “”Was your voice silenced?”” Some featured the number of votes garnered by various Students First! candidates.

    Several members of the Asian Pacific-Islander Student Alliance spoke about the posters supporting the Students First! slate that included an endorsement from their organization. These posters appeared after the election committee deadline for all Students First! posters to be taken down, in accordance with the resolution to the poster-switching grievance.

    Among the many APSA members who attended the meeting in support of the slate was APSA President Mike Cabradilla.

    Lyon Liew
    Guardian

    “”We as APSA, as a student organization, decided as an organization that we wanted to endorse Students First! because we believed in everything that Students First! stood for,”” Cabradilla said. “”We, as a student organization, decided to put those posters up.””

    Cabradilla and other APSA members contended that they made the posters without the prodding of Students First! slate members. According to Cabradilla, they resent the implication that their organization was a mere political pawn.

    Many APSA members at the meeting also criticized the Guardian for its coverage of the election.

    Students First! slate supporter Daniel Gonzales spoke at the A.S. Council meeting and brought in flyers that he said he found on campus during the campaign period. According to Gonzales, these flyers were not posted by Students First!, but used their slate’s name. Under the slate logo, the flyers read, “”White people are evil and racist.””

    “”There’s a lot that happened that you just don’t know about,”” Gonzales said. “”At three o’clock in the morning, I came to the Price Center after I was called.””

    According to Gonzales, it was then that he found several of the flyers. One flyer, Gonzales said, was covering the A.S. Council webcam. He tore all the flyers down. Gonzales says he tore down such flyers on two separate occasions; and on one occasion he was approached by a stranger.

    “”A man came up to me who knew my name; who knew the room and the building that I live in, and demanded that I give them back to him,”” Gonzales said. “”I walked away from him and told him twice to stop following me and he would not stop following me.””

    Gonzales said he attempted to file a report with the police, but he was informed that there was nothing to be done at that time.

    Thurgood Marshall College sophomore senator Jeff Le spoke about being a part of this year’s A.S. Elections Committee and trying to run a fair and honorable election. Le, the A.S. representative to the elections committee, wrote the dissenting opinion for the resolution that disqualified the Students First! slate.

    “”I want to say this; that every single member of the elections committee was 100 percent unbiased,”” Le said. “”I want to say that these people that I worked with for many weeks; I trust their judgment. And just because I did not agree with what they decided, they are still people with good honor and integrity.””

    Le said that due to recent misunderstandings, he felt the need to defend the honor of the election committee, and of the elections manager, Robin Shelton.

    Perse Hooper, the Students First! candidate for commissioner of academic affairs, criticized the procedural processes of the election committee hearings.

    “”I’m here to talk about the procedures during the hearings. They were so incredibly flawed,”” Hooper said. “”To have a hearing that is compiled of people that are chosen from their respective colleges to act as judge and jury; that doesn’t make any kind of sense.””

    Hooper said that she felt that her slate was considered guilty by the elections committee until it could prove its innocence. She also said that she felt there was not enough control over the participants during the hearings, and that the mediator was insufficient.

    At the April 16 rally in Price Center, ethnic studies professor George Lipsitz spoke about the recent election during a speech condemning hate crimes. He appeared to consider the disqualification to be a part of a larger problem.

    “”The people who are committing these hate crimes; the people who tell you that when you won an election, you didn’t win it … they haven’t been around enough people of color, they haven’t been around enough gays and lesbians, they haven’t been around enough people to know what they world looks like,”” he said.

    Lipstiz was followed by the Students First! presidential candidate, Kevin Shawn Hsu. Though Kevin Shawn Hsu said that he was not interested in speaking about the recent election, he did reveal his anger regarding the results.

    Kevin Shawn Hsu chose to speak generally about being a student of color, and what he felt are implicit implications of his ethnicity when trying to enter student government.

    “”What does it mean to be a student of color?”” Shawn Hsu said. “”It means that when you strive to enter the spaces of power on our campus, that it’s going to be a struggle.””

    Kevin Shawn Hsu touched upon his personal experiences as a student of color and running for office.

    “”No one should face a struggle like we have faced. No one should face the blatant hate that we have seen in the past two weeks,”” he said.

    Other speakers at the rally did not address the issue of the recent election.

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