ASUCI Results Out, One Candidate Disqualified

Nune Alaverdyan | Staff Photographer

Nune Alaverdyan | Staff Photographer
Candidate for ASUCI President Kevin Kaveh presents his appeal for disqualification at a formal meeting with the Judicial Board last Wednesday. Kaveh was disqualified for breaking elections rules.

Megan Braun and Tiffany Go were announced as Associated Students of UC Irvine’s president and vice president of student services, respectively, for the 2008-09 academic year on Friday, May 9.
The announcement came in the wake of a lengthy appeals process in which Go and presidential candidate Kevin Kaveh were initially disqualified. Although Go’s case was overturned following an appeals hearing held by the ASUCI judicial board on Wednesday, Kaveh was unable to present convincing evidence for his case.
Judicial board members Mark De La Vega, Nada Rastad, Harish Venkitaramanan and Brett Reid presided over the hearings. ASUCI Elections Commissioner Andrew Kim served as the respondent to the complaints addressed in both hearings.
Kaveh’s hearing revolved around a series of allegations made by presidential candidate Megan Braun. The first complaint alleged that Kaveh used university resources to fund his campaign through promoting his campaign in the Vision Leadership session class. In the Judicial Board’s decision on this complaint, it ruled that the location was not considered ASUCI or university equipment and thus did not violate ASUCI’s election code.
The second complaint issued by Braun accused him of having knowledge of members of his campaign harassing Middle Earth residents in order to obtain votes for Kaveh. However, Kaveh denied these charges at the hearing.
“Up to this point there has been only one side of the story. My name has been defamed by these false allegations and I have been harassed and threatened on numerous occasions,” Kaveh said.
Braun further alleged that members of the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity had unfairly helped Kaveh in his campaign. Although the Judicial Board ruled that PKP did not officially endorse Kaveh, PKP members were still working to promote Kaveh’s campaign.
Michael Sene, PKP president and a third-year business economics and international studies double-major, testified that his fraternity did not help Kaveh’s campaign in any unfair way. Furthermore, according to Sine, Kaveh was no longer officially affiliated with PKP.
“Once you’re a brother, you’re always a brother at heart … but you can be an inactive member,” Sine said.
Furthermore, Kaveh, in his defense, also issued complaints of his own that stated Braun had a disadvantage because of her relationship with the Cross-Cultural Center.
“[I] argue that being endorsed by … the Cross-Cultural Center is an unfair advantage. Furthermore, not only is Miss Braun guaranteed a large number of votes that can only be won through solicitation, but posters, flyers, everything is funded by this organization for Miss Braun,” Kaveh said.
Because the election process had concluded by the time Kaveh made these statements, his complaints were not taken into consideration in judging the legitimacy of Braun’s campaign.
In giving her statement, Braun stated that she saw for herself that members of Kaveh’s campaign were violating election rules.
“I heard members of Kevin’s team talking about, ‘Oh, I just got so-and-so’s vote while I was in Gateway,’ and that was disturbing to me. So I watched them, I watched at least one individual go in the Langson Library and I watched another individual go into Gateway,” Braun said.
Although she observed members of Kaveh’s campaign violating election rules, Braun was unable to name any specific members of Kaveh’s campaign, citing unfamiliarity with those involved.
“I did witness members of the campaign staff speaking to students, who were at computers and, unfortunately, I’m not familiar enough with the people who are working for Kevin to know the names of these individuals, but it’s also my understanding from talking with staff in ASUCI that Gateway … [called] the ASUCI office, and complained after the fact that campaigning was going on there,” Braun said.
Per UCI procedures, both the respondent Kim and the petitioner Kaveh gave closing statements. As Kim’s statement was brief in choosing only to restate his belief that the charges issued against Kaveh were true, he yielded the rest of the time allotted for his closing statement to Braun.
During Braun’s closing statement, she restated that PKP had unfairly helped Kaveh’s campaign, specifically citing that PKP had promoted Kaveh’s campaign during an Inter-Fraternal Council meeting.
Prior to giving his closing statement, Kaveh expressed his distaste for Braun’s comment.
“It’s false, she just lied to the judicial board,” Kaveh said.
Ultimately, the board ruled that Kaveh was guilty of having knowledge of members of his campaign harassing on-campus residents and not responding to these actions appropriately thus resulting in his disqualification.
Following a brief recess, Go’s hearing took place. Amanda Napier, the vice president of academic affairs, testified at the hearing.
Napier stated that members of Kaveh’s campaign team were soliciting votes in the Jack in the Box on Campus Drive and were sitting across from Go.
Napier continued by mentioning that the solicitors carried a laptop throughout the restaurant, asking students to vote for Kaveh. However, Napier noted that Go never actually approached any students in the restaurant.
“[Go] was physically there but never approached us,” Napier said.
Additionally, Napier denied that Go and Kaveh were associated with each other at the restaurant.
Kim also stated that, prior to complaints being made against Go, he saw no clear evidence connecting the two campaigns as “ticket-mates.”
As evidence for her case, Go submitted a campaign flyer that showed no relationship between her campaign and Kaveh’s campaign.
An official statement released on ASUCI’s Web site cited this evidence as well as no clear connection between the two campaigns as reasons for approving Go’s appeal.
“The two candidates did not share an endorsement nor is there any tangible proof that they ran or claimed to run as a joint ticket,” read the statement.