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Evidence, arguments outlined for hearing on Daily Cal fee initiative

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Former editor in chief and president

APRIL 18, 2012

Briefs were filed Tuesday with the ASUC Judicial Council detailing arguments and supporting evidence of parties for and against overturning ASUC President Vishalli Loomba’s executive order that invalidated The Daily Californian’s fee initiative from the 2012 election ballot.

The council will hear arguments at a Wednesday night hearing, which will be held as a result of charges filed on behalf of Lynn Yu, campaign manager for the V.O.I.C.E. Initiative. Loomba’s executive order — issued and upheld by the ASUC Senate in the midst of voting for the election last week — invalidated the initiative, which asked students to pay $2 per semester to support the Daily Cal.

Yu’s brief — filed along with ASUC Solicitor General Erin Delaney and former Attorney General Kevin Gibson — alleges that the executive order did not meet the “urgent and necessary” criteria established by the ASUC Constitution regarding the issuing of executive orders.

But current ASUC Attorney General Deepti Rajendran — as the representative for Loomba — alleges that Yu’s claim is null because there is substantial evidence that Loomba’s actions did in fact meet that criteria. Loomba’s brief, filed by Rajendran, outlines Loomba’s course of action on April 10.

The brief includes an April 10 email sent to Loomba and others by Dean of Students Jonathan Poullard, in which Poullard stated that the campus whistleblower program received letters of grievance regarding the initiative. Poullard said in the email that challenges to the fee should be expected if the initiative passes.

One of Loomba’s reasons for voiding the initiative was that it violated UC policy, which does not allow for fee referendum funds to be given to nonuniversity organizations. In another email included in Loomba’s brief, Graduate Assembly President Bahar Navab brought up the possibility that a memorandum of understanding could be drafted to allow for the Daily Cal to receive the initiative funds, but suggested that it would compromise the Daily Cal’s independence and that students did not have complete information when voting.

Navab also brought up in the email that Loomba could possibly invalidate the initiative, and Poullard said in response that “if (Loomba) can invalidate the vote that would be great.”

In addition, Loomba’s brief alleges that her actions held no malicious intent, were needed to maintain the functioning of the ASUC, were necessary and were acted in accordance with her role as the president. Also included in her brief is a letter she received April 10 from the campus’s Committee on Student Fees and Budget Review stating concerns with the referendum and UC policy.

But Yu’s brief alleges that the initiative went through the proper channels and that the proper officials — including the attorney general and the UC Office of the President — had seen and approved of the ballot text. Furthermore, Yu’s brief alleges that no evidence indicates that a lawsuit would have been filed by the office of the president because the office had been working with members of the initiative and that the ASUC had faced lawsuits before without a “complete shutdown of its functions.”

Yu’s brief also includes email correspondence with UC officialsASUC Senate meeting minutes and a copy of the executive order issued to support her claim.

“UCOP would approve the language as you have drafted,” said Laurent Heller, a campus liaison to UC Office of the President, in a March 14 email sent to Yu.

In a further email sent to Heller from Anne Geiger, an assistant director in the UC’s Budget and Capital Resources division, Geiger said that “if this referendum passes … please include in your communication how you clarified the Daily Cal’s affiliation with the campus (e.g. via MOU as you’ve suggested.)”

Chloe Hunt is the lead student government reporter.

APRIL 18, 2012

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