Senator refiles charges regarding health and wellness referendum

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UPDATE: The ASUC Judicial Council has voted to reject Senator Jorge Pacheco’s petition against ASUC President Connor Landgraf. According to Judicial Council Chair Suneeta Israni, the council found that “the petitioner had not filed this case in good faith as it had been demonstrated that the petitioner had delayed and/or interfered with the judicial process.”

After an initial settlement, charges against ASUC President Connor Landgraf’s executive order that put the health and wellness referendum on the spring 2013 ballot have been refiled.

Cooperative Movement Senator Jorge Pacheco opted to reopen the case against Landgraf around noon Thursday and said he filed the new charges around 6:30 p.m. The new charges request that the ASUC Judicial Council overturn Landgraf’s executive order, an action that would effectively annul the referendum.

The health and wellness referendum seeks to use student funds to build new fitness and wellness centers on campus.

The student body passed the health and wellness referendum by a slim margin in a vote of 6836-6139.

In his legal briefs, Pacheco argues that Landgraf “overstepped his authority” and “damaged the integrity and process of the Spring 2013 ASUC Elections,” and he asks the Judicial Council to “restore the balance of power of the ASUC infringed by (Landgraf’s executive order).”

The new charges come shortly after Landgraf received a letter from Pacheco offering to settle the case if Landgraf agreed not to veto the controversial divestment bill SB 160, which passed in the senate 11-9.

The original charges against Landgraf, which were filed by Student Action Senator Mihir Deo jointly with Pacheco, were dropped when the Judicial Council threw out a proposed settlement between the two parties. This original settlement included concessions that the new center have two trained physical therapists and two disabled students on its advisory board. The agreement borne from those settlement negotiations will still be part of the referendum.

Deo said that he and Pacheco had very different reasons for filing the original charges against Landgraf’s executive order. While Deo sought to secure additional concessions for the new fitness centers favored by the disabled community, Pacheco was concerned about the constitutionality of the way the referendum was put on the ballot. The memorandum of understanding does not address issues of constitutionality but did meet Deo’s demands.

ASUC Attorney General Hinh Tran says that he is confident Landgraf would prevail in court should the case go to trial.

Contact Jeremy Gordon at [email protected].