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Messages Reveal Alleged Misconduct From ASUCI Senate Members And ASUCI Associate Justice

The Office of the Student Advocate General released the evidence against ASUCI Senate Parliamentarian and Judicial Board Associate Justice Kimo Gandall and ASUCI Engineering Senator Bryce Lindsey to ASUCI Senate President Faith Chua and ASUCI Judicial Board Chief Justice Michelle Abundis on Thursday, March 12, for their recent investigation that found them guilty of misconduct. Lindsey and Gandall have not been charged, impeached or removed by either the Judicial Board or the Senate.

According to the testimony of the investigation from the Office of the Student Advocate General, they could not previously release the evidence for “potential privacy and FERPA implications.” The Office of the Student Advocate General received confirmation from the ASUCI Executive Director that they could release the evidence without violating FERPA. The Office of the Student Advocate General is currently deliberating whether they will release all of their evidence to the public, although they do not plan to release it at the moment. However, the Senate and the Judicial Board still could release what they received.

The New University had previously received a screen recording of a group chat called Friends of Peter from an anonymous source. The screen recording contains some of the evidence used by the Office of the Student Advocate General. The source — who is not associated with or related to any of the members of the Office of the Student Advocate General — asked for their identity to be kept private. 

The following screenshots come from the Friends of Peter group chat that Lindsey and Gandall were a part of, along with ASUCI At-Large Senator Gabriela Gallardo, At-Large Senator Joshua Wolfe, At-Large Senator Tammy Dang, Engineering Senator Ryan Salatti, Humanities Senator Amanda Clark, Social Science Senator Juliana Chhouk, Social Sciences Senator Logan Knight, Biological Sciences Senator Luke Tomlinson and former At-Large Senator Brandi Borba. Gandall and Borba left the group chat on Dec. 6.

For privacy and confidentiality reasons, the New University will only show which messages come from Lindsey and Gandall, other members’ names have been redacted. Exceptions are made when names need to be shown for context.

The screen recording shows messages sent during fall quarter, specifically from Nov. 7 to Dec. 6. During this time, Lindsey was an Engineering Senator — a position he still holds — and Gandall was a senate intern and a Judicial Board Associate Justice. Gandall is still an Associate Justice and is now also serving as Senate Parliamentarian.

The Office of the Student Advocate General has accused Lindsey and Gandall of “colluding” with each other to appoint Gandall as both Associate Justice and Senate Parliamentarian. Lindsey and Gandall denied the allegations.

Prior to the the Nov. 7 meeting in which then-Senate President Rodrigo Quintas introduced Legislation R55-17 to appoint Kimo Gandall and Kulsoom Naqvi as the two new Judicial Board Associate Justices, Lindsey sent a message to the Friends of Peter group chat an hour before the meeting to tell group members that if they appointed “FOP, textualist judges,” they — as in, Friends of Peter — would “have the opportunity to take sizable control of the most powerful body within the student government [the Judicial Board].” Lindsey directed the group to only appoint Kimo to ensure that he had decision-making power.

The Office of the Student Advocate General has accused Lindsey of “leaking confidential executive session information” when Gandall’s appointment was being discussed. Lindsey said that “this allegation … never occurred.”

During the meeting in which Gandall was being interviewed for the appointment, Gandall should not have known what the interview process was like for other candidates, nor should he have known about the Senate’s discussion process. 

When interviewing candidates for Associate Justice positions, the Senate interviews the candidates separately during an executive session (during which members of the public are not allowed), and candidates are told to exit the room when other candidates are being interviewed, as well as when the Senate is discussing the candidates. 

However, the evidence shows that the senators in the Friends of Peter group chat — which Gandall was a member of —  were discussing the appointment process. Gandall had access to all of their messages.

Lindsey and Gandall are both accused of “voter manipulation during and outside of Senate meetings for legislation and appointments.” In response to the charges, Lindsey said that he does not have access to the electronic system to “manipulate votes.” Gandall said that he does not have access to “internal functions of the ASUCI vote counts.” 

However, during the Nov. 7 meeting, Lindsey and Gandall both allegedly told Friends of Peter group members what actions to take and what to vote on. 

The Senate interviewed five candidates for the position of Judicial Board Associate Justice between Nov. 5 and Nov. 7. On Nov. 7, former Senate President Quintas introduced legislation R55-17 to appoint two of the candidates, Gandall and Naqvi. 

Lindsey and Gandall opposed the appointment of Naqvi and told Friends of Peter during the executive session to vote against R55-17 to not appoint Naqvi or, instead of voting against it, to separate the legislation to appoint Gandall only and not Naqvi. 

The Senate ultimately voted against the legislation. According to the evidence, this postponed the vote to appoint the associate justices.

Former Senate President Quintas called for a special meeting to be held on Nov. 8 to discuss legislation R55-17. Gandall told the Friends of Peter group members that it was “very important” that they “vote in line” during that meeting. Gandall also said that he and Quintas would be meeting with Naqvi before the special meeting.

The Office of the Student Advocate General has accused Gandall of “coercing” other judicial board members to vote with him for legislation and trials. Gandall released a statement on March 11 where he said that he had spent “countless hours” arguing his stance as a textualist judge with his peers. According to Gandall, this “is part of a healthy and normal function of the court.”

Gandall and Quintas met with Naqvi on the morning of Nov. 8. Gandall told the Friends of Peter group chat that he allegedly told Naqvi that she needed to adhere to his conditions if she wanted to be on the Judicial Board. Gandall said that Naqvi, who he said seemed concerned, ultimately agreed to his conditions, including an agreement that she would follow Gandall’s judicial philosophy.

According to the ASUCI Code of Ethics, ASUCI members cannot use their power or influence to “force or coerce other individuals or officers to act against their will, conscience, or the regulations of ASUCI.”

The New University reached out to Naqvi to inquire about the meeting between her, Gandall and Quintas. According to Naqvi, she told Gandall that she would not vote with him “every time.”

“He along with the rest of the Justices would have the opportunity to make their case during our deliberations but at the end of the day, I was my own person with my own thoughts and opinions and I would be making my own decisions. I explicitly told him that if Senate was looking to appoint someone who would be his yes-man, they should appoint someone else,” Naqvi said.

The Senate passed Legislation R55-17 on Nov. 8, appointing both Naqvi and Gandall as Judicial Board Associate Justices. According to Lindsey, Gandall and Naqvi were appointed “unanimously” and “it was not just my [his] opinion, but the entire Senate’s opinion that Gandall and Naqvi were the most qualified applicants.”

However, the “entire” Senate did not vote for the legislation. According to the Nov. 8 meeting minutes, the 16 members present voted unanimously. A New University reporter reviewed the Senate Records and found that although the records state that 16 members voted in favor, the individual votes account for 15.

“I personally feel that the message is misrepresentative of the meeting that I had with Kimo [Gandall] and Rodrigo [Quintas],” Naqvi said about the messages that Gandall sent. 

Quintas sent an email to the Judicial Board and other ASUCI officials on Nov. 11 announcing that Gandall and Naqvi were new Judicial Board members. 

On the evening of Nov. 11, the Judicial Board met for one of their regular meetings, during which they discussed legislations R55-17 and R55-18. The Senate had passed R55-18 and appointed Naqvi as Senate Secretary. However, Naqvi could not serve as both Senate Secretary and as Associate Justice because the Judicial Board Policies and Procedures that ruled during that time said that a Judicial Board member could not hold another ASUCI office during their time on the Judicial Board.

“The Judicial Board tabled both R55-17 and R55-18 to confirm which position one of the two appointees [Naqvi] wished to take,” Judicial Board Chief Justice Abundis said.

According to Naqvi, Gandall said that if the Judicial Board decided to strike the appointments, the Judicial Board would have “partisan reasons for not wanting him appointed.”

After Gandall informed the Friends of Peter group chat that legislation R55-17 was declared unconstitutional (according to Abundis, it was actually tabled, rather than declared unconstitutional), he informed the other group members that “we [they] will be impeaching Judicial Board” in the next senate meeting on Nov. 12 and that the group members all needed to be present during the meeting. Gandall said that he would help Quintas write the legislation for impeachment.

Quintas and Gandall then informed the Judicial Board of the impeachment plans. According to Gandall’s messages, the Judicial Board reversed their ruling on legislation R55-17. Lindsey sent messages to the Friends of Peter group chat supporting the impeachment and referring to the Judicial Board as “the number one obstacle.” 

On Nov. 14, the Senate passed the 2019 Judicial Reform Act, a piece of legislation drafted by Lindsey which replaced the old Judicial Board Policies and Procedures with new Judicial Board Policies that excluded the clause that does not allow a Judicial Board member to hold a position in another ASUCI office. This allows Gandall to currently serve as both an Associate Justice and as Senate Parliamentarian.

According to Chief Justice Abundis, the Judicial Board overturned R55-18 on Nov. 15 following the old Judicial Board Policies and Procedures because R55-18 had been passed by the Senate while the old Judicial Board Policies and Procedures were still a governing document. 

That evening, one of the Friends of Peter group members sent a message showing an email that said that the Judicial Board had instead affirmed the legislation. Gandall then said that he and Naqvi were “judges now.”

There is no ASUCI governing document that gives any Judicial Board member the power to suggest legislation to the Senate. According to the ASUCI Constitution, the only government authority that can enact laws is the Senate.

However, five days after Gandall sent the message to the Friends of Peter group chat that he and Naqvi were Associate Justices, he suggested to the other group members — who are all senators — that ASUCI bylaws should be amended to allow for proxy votes — a form of voting in which one person can delegate another to vote on their behalf. Gandall suggested this after former Senate President Quintas said that the Senate could change the time of their meetings.

Quintas had announced on Nov. 19 that he would be resigning from the Senate because he had a class during the winter quarter that prevented him from attending senate meetings. According to Quintas, the new ASUCI bylaws — which, although Quintas seconded, were not passed until Jan. 14, after Quintas resigned from the Senate  — did not excuse senators from missing senate meetings.

“It was a bit self-centered to change an entire branch’s meeting just for me,” Quintas said during the meeting. “In the current bylaws, you are required to meet twice a week, so you can change the meeting or you can change them to Wednesday, but, again, that [decision] you would all have to take … No one’s ever done it.” 

Gandall said in the Friends of Peter group chat that he did not want senate meetings to be held on Wednesdays because he and a senator who is also a Friends of Peter member could not attend those meetings due to religious conflicts. He then said that meetings could be held on Tuesdays and then suggested “we [they] just amend the bylaws” to allow proxy votes.

After members of the group chat mentioned issues with proxy votes — including Lindsey, who said that it was beneficial that “people who don’t show don’t vote” —, Gandall told the group chat that they could get involved in a “risky election process.” For which, Gandall said, they would need to “rally around” their candidate for Senate President.

Social Science Senator Logan Knight said that he was planning on “taking up” the Senate President role. Lindsey supported Knight and, on Nov. 25, told the group chat that if Knight was elected, “we [Friends of Peter] will be able to get everything we [Friends of Peter] want done.”

Ultimately, Knight lost the election for Senate President. The position went to At-Large Senator Faith Chua. 

According to the ASUCI Code of Ethics, no ASUCI official “shall grant any special consideration, treatment or advantage to any student, individual, student organization or group beyond that which is normally available to every other student, individual, student organization or group.” 

However, after Lindsey said who the Friends of Peter group chat should vote in favor of for transfer senator, international senator and freshman senator, Lindsey told the group members to “go easy on” their preferred candidate for freshman senator, Alex Wang. No other similar comments were made on the group chat for other candidates, including their other preferred candidates.

Marshall Roe, Alex Wang and Yucheng Zhang all currently serve as Transfer Senator, Freshman Senator and International Senator, respectively.

The Office of the Student Advocate General also accused Lindsey and Gandall of “colluding” to appoint Gandall as Senate Parliamentarian. Both Gandall and Lindsey denied the allegation. Lindsey said that the Senate appointed Gandall as Senate Parliamentarian and that he is “one of three Professional Registered Parliamentarians (PRP) in the state of California.” Lindsey drafted the legislation that appointed Gandall as parliamentarian.

The New University checked the member database of the National Association of Parliamentarians and found that Gandall is the only UCI student who is also a Professional Registered Parliamentarian, making Gandall the only UCI student who could fulfill the requirement set by the ASUCI bylaws — originally drafted by Lindsey — that require the Senate Parliamentarian to be a Professional Registered Parliamentarian.

According to the ASUCI bylaws, if “no registered parliamentarian has applied” for the position, then the Senate could approve a non-registered applicant. The way the bylaws are written implies that campuswide-accessible applications should have been opened for the position. However, a New University reporter checked the UCI Student Government Student Media campuswide email database and found that no applications for Senate Parliamentarian had been sent out to the student body at any point during the 2019-2020 school year. Other ASUCI officials also told the New University that they never saw any applications for Senate Parliamentarian. 

The New University reached out to the current ASUCI Senate President, Faith Chua, to confirm whether applications for Senate Parliamentarian had been opened. However, Chua did not respond.

Lindsey and Gandall are also both being accused of “harassment of multiple members of ASUCI,” and Lindsey was accused of “threatening and coercing other senators with impeachment and other threats for their votes.” 

The evidence that the New University received is not associated with these charges. Student Advocate General William Xu told the New University that those charges are related to other complaints. 

In the testimony the Office of the Student Advocate General released specifying the charges, they requested that the ASUCI Senate impeach and/or remove Gandall and Lindsey.

The Senate has not announced whether Lindsey will be impeached or if Gandall will be impeached from his position as an Associate Justice and removed from his role as Senate Parliamentarian. No legislation for impeachment or removal has been published on the ASUCI website.

Oriana Gonzalez is the 2019-2020 Editor-In-Chief. She can be reached at eic@newuniversity.org.