Student Advocate Elected

The ASUCI Legislative Council met to discuss problems with ASUCI Fall Elections and to fill vacant positions in Judicial Board and Legislative Council on Tuesday, Nov. 6.

The Council decided that since elections for fall quarter were scheduled to occur during week 8, which also happened to be the week of Thanksgiving, the Council voted unilaterally to move the elections to week 9 to give students more time to vote.

After the election issue was decided, the Council moved on to nominate candidates for open spots in ASUCI. The most prominent of these nominations was the nomination of Abdullah Siddiqui for the position of Student Advocate General on the Legislative Council.

There has not been a Student Advocate General on the Council for at least four years. Until recently, ASUCI did not feel the need to appoint one. In the spring quarter of 2012, Siddiqui was nominated by Judicial Board for the position, but was not approved by the Legislative Council. However, on Tuesday, the Council decided in a 9-4 vote to confirm Siddiqui’s nomination.

According to the ASUCI bylaws, the Student Advocate General will serve for one academic year and will become a part of Legislative Council.

If Siddiqui, who is currently serving on the ASUCI Judicial Board, chooses to take the position, he will no longer be a part of Judicial Board, per the bylaws.

The Student Advocate General’s responsibilities include educating UCI Students about their rights, aiding UC Irvine students in filing complaints against ASUCI, representing students in discussions with administration and providing assistance to students with disciplinary action taken by the university against them.

The Student Advocate General can also initiate charges of violation of the ASUCI Constitution to fellow members of ASUCI. As such, the position will require a strong understanding of the ASUCI Constitution and Legislative Council bylaws.

Members of the Justice Board made no comment as to Siddiqui’s competency and whether he is ready for the job. At the same time, the Legislative Council voted to confirm the joint Judicial Board and Executive Cabinet’s nomination of Siddiqui to the position.

Some members of the Council, such as the Chair of Legislative Council and Executive Vice President Andrea Gaspar, believe that Abdullah is qualified for the position.

“I do not know him personally but I have seen his work with Judicial Board, and definitely he has been very active with [Judicial] Board,” Gaspar said. “I’m sure he is invested in the position.”

Gaspar believes that the fact that Siddiqui was not nominated last year was not because Legislative Council did not believe him to be competent, but because they believed that there was not enough time for interested students to sign up for the position.

Currently, Siddiqui has been confirmed and is expected to play a central role in ASUCI.

Other ASUCI members like Judicial Board Chair Nicole Bastos also believe that the new Student Advocate General will change ASUCI’s relationship with the student body and allow students a greater voice in government.

“The students will have someone they can turn to,” Bastos said. “They can now have someone who can advocate for the students.”