On Monday, the ASUC Judicial Council invalidated penalties presented to 13 Defend Affirmative Action Party candidates after a settlement offered by the ASUC Elections Council, on the grounds that the Judicial Council was not involved in the settlement process.
In response to the decision, however, the Elections Council decided in the late hours of Monday to move forward with filing new charges against all 13 DAAP candidates, this time suggesting that all of them be disqualified.
After the 13 DAAP candidates left a mandatory meeting March 18 during intermission, the Elections Council provided the candidates, in an email, options to accept one censure or be disqualified from participating in the election. While 12 DAAP senate candidates accepted the censure, Alison McDonald, DAAP’s academic affairs vice presidential candidate who is also running for senate, received email notice that she was disqualified for her failure to accept the censure.
Neither McDonald nor DAAP presidential candidate and party chair David Douglass could immediately be reached for comment Monday night.
The ASUC bylaws stipulate that all candidates must attend the meeting to be eligible to participate in the election but do not specify whether the candidates must stay for the duration of the meeting. But the Elections Council requires candidates to stay for the entire meeting.
Five censures are required to disqualify a candidate, and censures and disqualifications can only be issued by the Judicial Council.
In its decision, the Judicial Council rejected the earlier disqualification and censures on the grounds that the settlements provided to the DAAP candidates were not “appropriate alternatives.”
“The Elections Council and (ASUC Attorney General) Kevin Sabo do not have the jurisdiction, in this instance, to disqualify candidates in this manner,” said Nicolette Roger, chief justice of the Judicial Council. “In misrepresenting that to the candidates, we thought it was not a fair settlement.”
In its summary judgment of ASUC v. Corona et al., the Judicial Council said an appropriate settlement would be offering candidates the option to either accept one censure or potentially face charges by the attorney general, which could result in disqualification by the Judicial Council upon judgment.
DAAP also recently filed charges with the Judicial Council against Sabo and the rest of the Elections Council. In a charge sheet, the party alleged that the Elections Council has, without the approval of the ASUC Senate, created new laws that are unconstitutional under the ASUC and U.S. constitutions. The charges allege harassment of DAAP candidates by an Elections Council member and that the Elections Council has placed invasive restrictions on campaigning not in the ASUC bylaws.
“We’ve been really having to fight for democracy and free speech in this year’s elections,” Douglass said earlier Monday evening.
Sabo said he plans to file a brief in response to the allegations in the near future.
The Judicial Council will make an official decision about the DAAP charges at a hearing Tuesday night, which will take place at the Goldman School of Public Policy at 9:30 p.m. The Judicial Council will decide if and when to hear the Election Council’s latest charges after they are formally filed.