Watts to file appeal of election rejection

    Warren College Student Council presidential candidate Daniel Watts has filed an appeal of the Earl Warren College Judicial Board’s April 18 decision to disqualify him from office, which he had won in a race against one other candidate.

    Watts disagreed with the ruling of the judicial board and felt that his rights were infringed upon and that he was given a biased hearing.

    “”My rights were violated,”” Watts said. “”Among them, the right to a fair and impartial hearing, the right to view the evidence 24 hours ahead of time, the right to be notified in writing of the time, place and date of the hearing, and the right to due process. These are rights specified in the bylaws, Student Conduct Code, and the United States and California constitutions.””

    Crystal Kitamura, who filed the initial grievance against Watts, declined to comment.

    “”Everything was deemed acceptable by the judicial board chair,”” said Erik Smith, who served as Kitamura’s counsel. “”[Watts] is entitled to an appeal. Everything is being done by the books.””

    Watts felt that the judicial board had an “”outright bias”” against him. Watts claimed that one member of the judicial board, Debra Westervelt, actively campaigned against him during the elections on behalf of his opponent and ran against Aaron Sheinbein, another candidate on his Warren Revolution slate, for the office of WCSC vice president external. Westervelt won the election.

    “”This is akin to a member of the Supreme Court running for vice president under Al Gore, yet still acting as a voting member of the court when Bush v. Gore came up,”” Watts said.

    In addition, Watts claimed that he was not presented with the evidence against him 24 hours ahead of his hearing and that evidence was added against him just hours before the hearing, thus violating procedural bylaws.

    “”I have discussed the case with Student Legal Services, who has assured me that my constitutional due process rights have been violated, and that the hearing was a mockery,”” Watts said.

    In the initial hearing, the Warren College Judicial Board, in a three-to-one decision, found that Watts had violated bylaws by campaigning on his Warren College Television show “”Perfect Vision.””

    The majority opinion of the judicial board said that Warren College Television was owned by Warren College, and therefore Watts had violated Warren College election bylaw article IV, section B.2.j, which states: “”It shall be a violation of the Election Bylaws for any candidate, and/or slate, to use of Warren College offices, services, enterprises or equipment ‘for advocation of a candidate or slate at any time.’

    Watts and his counsel, student advocate Robert Forouzandeh, argued that Watts’ television show was an editorial that made it exempt from the bylaws. In addition, Watts and Forouzandeh argued that Warren College Television is funded by Residential Life, which is a separate entity from Warren College, and therefore not a violation of the election bylaws.

    Should the appeal be rejected, Tim Alexander would become WCSC president.

    [Ed. Note: Watts is associate opinion editor at the UCSD Guardian.]

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