SF!'s appeal denied

    The A.S. Judicial Board has dismissed the Students First! slate’s appeal of the A.S. Election Committee’s decision to disqualify it from elections. Had the board decided to hear the case, hearings would have taken place to determine whether or not the elections committee had conducted a fair hearing. The slate’s appeal had asked for a repeal of the committee’s decision. The judicial board released its decision in writing on April 25.

    The judicial board, which is comprised of representatives from the A.S. Council and each of the six colleges, voted 6-1 in favor of the dismissal.

    The written decision argued that the judicial board did not have jurisdiction over the case on the grounds made by the appeal, repeatedly stating that different claims made about procedural unfairness were irrelevant because objections were not made at the time of the hearing.

    Apellant Viviane Pourazary was unavailable for comment.

    “”I’m disappointed, but at this point I’ve gone through all my emotions,”” said Harish Nandagopal, who ran for vice president finance on the Students First! slate. “”I just don’t see why we need a judicial board if they’re not going to question the authority of other committees.””

    Nandagopal, who is planning on applying for the currently vacant position of vice president external, said the decision did not come as a surprise.

    “”I actually heard about it two days before,”” he said. “”There were rumors, and by releasing the decision on a Friday it seemed like they were putting off bad news.””

    The judicial board’s written decision stated that it was not their responsibility to “”question the wisdom of the decisions of the elections committee,”” explaining that the board concerned itself only with the question of whether the committee acted within its authority.

    “”Because there was no objection made, I felt there wasn’t any basis to hear the case,”” said Ryan Solow, the judicial board’s Eleanor Roosevelt College representative. “”As much as I felt that the case needed to be heard, there was no substantial reason they presented us with to give us a reason to hear the appeal. It just looked to me like they were looking for their case to be heard again.””

    Among the complaints made by the slate in their appeal included failure of the defendants to be given the evidence a day before the hearing and the introduction of evidence not related to the violation report in the form of discussion of the APSA-endorsed posters.

    The judicial board dismissed them for lack of formal objections at the time of their hearing.

    Other complaints were dismissed because the incidents in question were not prohibited by the election bylaws. These included accusations of harassing religious questions by opposing counsel Robert Forouzandeh, introduction of hearsay testimony and failure to follow precedent in its decision.

    “”If they had appealed it differently, they could have mustered a hearing, but in the end there was nothing they could have done to win the case,”” Forouzandeh said.

    The judicial board’s written decision also argued that it was inappropriate for them to consider elections results in their decision.

    “”This appeal asks the judicial board to embrace a ‘might makes right’ approach to elections,”” the written report stated. “”This approach is repugnant to and incompatible with the idea of fair, democratic elections.””

    Mei Dan, Sixth College representative to the judicial board, dissented.

    Dan argued that there is no mention in the election bylaws stating that an objection must be made for the case to be taken to the judicial board.

    “”The quick dismissal of the appeal seems to parallel the hasty disqualification of Students First!,”” Dan wrote. “”Members of the judicial board were absolutely set on not listening to this appeal.””

    Whether or not the Students First! slate plans to continue in its effort to have the election committee’s decision reversed and whether it will take its case to a higher authority is as of yet unclear, with slate representatives declining to comment.

    Because ASUCSD is a university department, the slate’s next step after the judicial board, should they decide to pursue the matter through the administration, could include soliciting administrators at a universitywide level in the University of California’s Office of the President or even with the Board of Regents.

    Student Regent Dexter Ligot-Gordon said that he has been made aware of the disqualification of the Students First! slate, and, prior to the judicial board’s decision, said that he would be “”keeping an eye”” on the handling of elections at UCSD.

    “”I’m concerned in general because I don’t know whether or not the people who would be elected would be representative of who the student had chosen,”” Ligot-Gordon said.

    According to Ligot-Gordon, he and one other regent have made administrators in the UCOP aware of the situation at UCSD.

    He also expressed a desire to look further into the details of the case and to assess whether the situation with UCSD elections has universitywide implications before deciding whether or not to step in.

    “”As a general principle, I would rather take into consideration incidents that happen on campuses that have an impact on other campuses as well,”” Ligot-Gordon said. “”But if the situation is extreme enough where I feel that something on the campus is unjust or unfair, I’ll use whatever capabilities I can to correct that.””

    Ligot-Gordon has previously been involved in addressing campus election concerns by asking for legal analysis in the case of expenditure caps on campaign contributions.

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