Petition alleges CalSERVE presidential candidate Juniperangelica Cordova broke ASUC election bylaws

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Updated 03/19/2018: this article has been updated to include more information from ASUC Judicial Council chair Maureen Ochi Sides.

The ASUC Judicial Council will try ASUC senator and CalSERVE presidential candidate Juniperangelica Cordova for violating elections rules, according to an ASUC Judicial Council public notice sent Sunday evening.

The notice included a petition filed against Cordova, which alleged that she committed a violation at the UNITY Resource Center’s campus drag show by telling the audience about her campaign materials at the show. Cordova allegedly committed a Class B violation or “Major” violation — the specific bylaw says candidates cannot campaign or put campaign materials anywhere inside any building controlled by the ASUC Student Union.

The maximum number of censures a candidate can receive from a Class B violation is three, according to the bylaws. Cordova said she and the elections council prosecutor, Ken Lohatepanont, agreed to file a plea for her to accept two censures, which will be discussed by the Judicial Council at her hearing March 22 at 8 p.m.

Lohatepanont filed the petition against Cordova on March 14, in which he alleged that she broke the bylaw March 11 at the drag show event, which took place in Pauley Ballroom inside of the Martin Luther King Jr. Student Union.

Sarah Elizabeth Barrett, who is an ASUC Student Union staff member, emailed Lohatepanont on March 12 with a video of Cordova at the event attached, according to the petition, which had a screenshot and a transcription of the video attached. The transcription read “[inaudible] breaking bylaws in this building, but I will say look at my website or Facebook page, we are going to … clear this space up, we’re going to take the government back.”

“Ms. Cordova explained the context behind this video, saying that the host had put her on the spot and her anxiety meant that she felt pressured to campaign. However, the validity of an emotional defence can be called into question,” Lohatepanont wrote in the petition. “Therefore, I believe this to be a clear violation of (the bylaw).”

The situation at the drag show, Cordova said, was that she felt “peer-pressured into going on stage” because the host of the event alluded to her while encouraging the audience to vote in the ASUC elections. Those around Cordova, who had attended the event as a guest and member of the public, pointed to her and cheered, and this prompted the host to bring her on stage.

She added that the nuances of the bylaws target intentional violations, and that the definition of intention is complex in and of itself. In this situation, however, Cordova said her violation was not planned because she was “put on the spot” and that the bylaws do not account for violations that are not premeditated.

“I didn’t have the intentions to violate (the bylaws),” Cordova said. “That’s why I’m taking the plea, I’m not going to contest that the violation happened.”

At the hearing, the Judicial Council will decide on whether or not to accept the plea.

Sakura Cannestra is an assistant news editor. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @SakuCannestra.