The ASUC Senate appointed nine new officials for the next academic year Wednesday night but did not select a future attorney general due to several senators’ concerns that the nominee does not hold prior experience working in the ASUC.
The senate could not ultimately reach the necessary two-thirds majority to approve the nominee and will reconvene Monday at its regular meeting. Several senators also expressed concerns that the nominee, Jeremy Gordon, may not maintain political neutrality. Gordon is The Daily Californian’s outgoing opinion editor.
According to the ASUC bylaws, appointed officials — whose positions are nonpartisan — must be approved by two-thirds of the senate before they can enter office. Once approved, officials hold their positions for a full year.
The officials carry out the ASUC’s initiatives and projects. The positions range from director of environmental sustainability to finance officer.
The attorney general — one of the most visible roles of the appointed officials — is responsible for educating the senate about its bylaws and holding senators accountable when those laws are violated. He or she may also make changes to the bylaws, with the senate’s approval.
The constitutional review committee, which acts as a selection committee for the attorney general and other positions, chose Gordon out of 12 applicants for candidacy. The senate spent approximately half an hour discussing Gordon’s possible appointment and roughly five minutes for each other position.
Several senators voiced concerns regarding his political neutrality and lack of experience working in the ASUC. Gordon reported on the ASUC for two semesters at the Daily Cal.
“I think (Jeremy’s) tenure in the Daily Cal, while offering a unique perspective, can’t transfer over well into the position,” said CalSERVE Senator Briana Mullen, who is on the committee that selected Gordon.
Mullen added that her concern about Gordon’s appointment was based on his prior experience, not his political neutrality.
The current attorney general, Kevin Sabo, did not have prior experience in an appointed ASUC position, although he previously served as general counsel in Executive Vice President Nolan Pack’s office.
“There’s a difference between reporting on the bylaws and writing them,” Mullen said.
Mullen added that Gordon’s position on the Daily Cal’s Senior Editorial Board — which publishes editorial opinions on a variety of topics such as the ASUC — makes her concerned about Gordon’s possible bias.
Gordon said he did not feel that his experience at the Daily Cal would give him a negative bias as attorney general.
“I’m not the one that is supposed to come in and change the way the ASUC works,” Gordon said. “My job primarily is someone who enforces the bylaws and makes sure they are being adhered to.”
SQUELCH! Senator Grant Fineman, who is also on the selection committee, said he didn’t think Gordon’s history at the Daily Cal was a drawback.
“I don’t think someone’s experience on The Daily Californian should automatically exclude them from consideration,” Fineman said. “If that was the case, that was something we should have talked about beforehand.”
When the selection committee reconvenes Monday, it can either select Gordon or a different applicant, and the senate will hold another voting session Wednesday.
The officials appointed Wednesday were Ismael Contreras as the undergraduate representative to the ASUC Student Union Board, Joe Wilson as marketing and communications director, Angela Shen as director of environmental sustainability, Kerby Lynch as commissioner of diversity affairs, Dennis Lee as finance officer, Elizabeth Goldman as fundraising director, Jenny Chien as the elections council chair, Heidi Kang as comptroller general and Natalja Karniouchina as solicitor general.