ASUCI: The Election Aftermath
After a week of complaints, appeals and judicial hearings, ASUCI announced the final results for the Spring 2011 elections on Friday, April 29. The results of contested races, including president, executive vice president, academic affairs vice president, student services vice president, and administrative affairs vice president, were withheld until the resolution of various complaints.
“There were a total of eight complaints filed which resulted in six cases reviewed by the Elections Commission,” said Andres Gonzalez, ASUCI executive vice president. “The cases ranged in accusations as minimal as poster policy infractions to more serious voter intimidation charges to abusing ASUCI/University equipment.”
The decision was made by the Elections Committee — compromised of the Elections Commissioner, Deputy Elections Commissioners, EVP, and the ASUCI Executive Director who serves solely as a consultant — after reviewing the complaint, the evidence, speaking with both parties, and seeking other additional information.
The Bidwell vs. Le, Bidwell vs. Tong, Catig vs. Torres and Seto, and Reynoso vs. Nayudu cases were resolved by the Elections Commission on Monday, April 25. The two remaining cases, Ip vs. Nayudu and Bondi vs. Klauschie decisions, which involved candidates running for the offices of president and academic affairs vice president, respectively, were resubmitted for appeal to the Judicial Board and heard on Thursday.
“The Elections Commission’s role is to evaluate evidence and render decisions based on what is presented to us during the evidentiary hearings,” Gonzalez said. “We thus voted unanimously to disqualify both candidates given the strong evidence presented against them. I am cognizant this process is not fool-proof and that is why we have an appellate process. While we evaluate the present situation given the current evidence, the Judicial Board may rule differently as they have a precedent of cases as well as a new precedent to set.”
The main point of contention in the Nayudu vs. Elections Commission case, was Vikram Nayudu’s use of a “Peter the Anteater” costume for campaigning purposes, an alleged violation of Article XX, Subsection G of the ASUCI Elections Code (Campaigning and Publicity: Use of University Equipment).
“In regards to the use of Peter the Anteater as a symbol of the University and its history, the explicit use of its image is not inaccessible to the student body population at large,” the Judicial Board concluded. “Mr. Nayudu’s actions were taken in good faith, as endorsed by the PIKE fraternity, and do not warrant disqualification from the 2011 Spring Elections.”
While the Judicial Board overturned the Elections Commission’s Nayudu decision, reinstating Vikram Nayudu as a candidate for president, the Board sustained the Commission’s Klauschie decision. Citing a failure to abide by protocol regarding ASUCI property, the Board opted to disqualify Kamrin Klauschie as a running candidate for academic affairs vice president.
“The Board has found Ms. Klauschie culpable of misusing the ASUCI Shuttle roster/email contact list, which is accessible only through the ASUCI internal website,” the Board declared. “The use of ASUCI equipment (in this case, a document stored on an ASUCI server) is a serious violation, one that impedes the equal opportunity of other candidates to solicit votes. Furthermore, it infringes on students’ rights by indirectly using student funds to support the candidate in violation.”
In addition, 16 candidates among those running for the positions of president, at-large representative, biological sciences representative, humanities representative, ICS representative, social ecology representative and social sciences representative were disqualified due to a failure to submit their financial statements.
The final results of the elections are as follows: Vikram Nayudu for president; Patrick Le for executive vice president; Jun Wang for student services vice president; Genevieve Galman for administrative affairs vice president; Charlyn Arellano for academic affairs vice president; Andrea Gaspar, Neal Catig and Dillon Gamboa for at-large representatives; Janelle Pham for biological sciences representative; Jenifer Song for engineering representative; Omeid Heidari for health sciences representative; Neil Bautista for humanities representative; Benjamin Pan for ICS representative; Jessica Do for social ecology representative; and Evelyn Chan and Albert Liao for social sciences representatives.
Voter turnout for the Spring 2011 Elections was considered decent, with a total of 4,694 students casting their votes. Nevertheless, the count for the SOAR Referendum failed to reach quorum, the minimum amount of voters needed to consider the vote valid.
The newly elected executive board and department representatives will have a busy year ahead of them managing an increasingly reduced budget, coordinating student outreach and advocacy efforts, overseeing shuttle transportation, hosting festivals and publishing the official UCI Yearbook.
“Students are the core of any sort of school spirit, not the institution they attend,” Gonzalez said. “Yes, the institution can facilitate and better the conditions for campus life, but in the end it comes down to how students take the initiative and make sure that it flourishes.”
For a detailed account of the Judicial Board’s findings, as well as a complete list of all candidates that participated, please visit: http://www.asuci.uci.edu/elections/spring11/results.php