Student Action senators planned to impeach 3 ASUC Judicial Council members

ASUC meeting in the Senate Chambers
Kaho Otake/File

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Student Action senators planned to impeach three members of the Judicial Council at Wednesday night’s regular ASUC meeting, one day after a ruling that disqualified the entire Student Action slate from the 2019 elections cycle. The resolution, however, was pulled before the meeting.

ASUC Senator Anne Zepecki planned to introduce a resolution that called for the impeachment of former justices Amanda Allen and Brian Tsui for not meeting an attendance requirement as well as the impeachment of former Judicial Council chair Maureen Ochi Sides, at the senate meeting. Allen, Tsui and Ochi Sides resigned later that night, however.

The resolution, which was co-sponsored by five additional Student Action senators and one independent senator, would have also nullified all decisions made by the Judicial Council since fall 2018.

Before the meeting began, however, the resolution was pulled. Zepecki said the drafted resolution became “unnecessary” once Allen and Tsui resigned.

“This was a nonpartisan effort and wasn’t retribution in any sense,” Zepecki said in an email. “It was simply an attempt to honor the Constitutional duties that we all swore to in the beginning of the year.”

According to the ASUC Constitution, members of the Judicial Council shall “automatically” be removed from office if they do not attend 70 percent of meetings in any one semester. Allen attended five out of 10 meetings in spring 2018, and Tsui attended two out of four meetings in fall 2018. Zepecki’s resolution called for their removal and for Ochi Sides’ resignation, alleging that as Judicial Council chair, Ochi Sides failed to follow the constitution by not removing Allen and Tsui from the council.

According to Ochi Sides, Judicial Council meetings are scheduled irregularly — and oftentimes at the last minute — because the council meets on an “as-needs basis” because of the nature of petitions. She added that she had to choose a meeting time at which the majority of the justices could attend.

“To me (Zepecki’s resolution) is another example of Senators doing something without addressing the issue to me directly, which I don’t appreciate,” Ochi Sides said in an email. “I furthermore didn’t want to spend my last month of college going through an impeachment trial so decided to leave on my own terms.”

Allen said in an email that although the impeachment proceedings could have happened at any time in the semester, senators only brought forth their concerns after the Judicial Council’s controversial ruling from Tuesday.

Tsui added that both of his absences were excused. During the Judicial Council’s September meeting, Tsui attended a Berkeley city meeting as an appointed commissioner, and during the November meeting, he had a class-related event. In both cases, he notified Ochi Sides of his absences beforehand.

“I was diligent in communicating my obligations to the Judicial Council when we were deciding meeting times,” Tsui said in an email. “If the Senate was concerned about these excused absences and justices’ abilities to be committed to their roles on the Judicial Council, I would have loved to discuss our absences with them.”

Allen added in an email that four of her five absences in spring 2018 were excused.

Tsui said in an email that although he was already planning on resigning, he did not want the council’s “diligence” to be questioned, nor did he want the council’s decisions to be overturned, because of excused absences.

Allen said the “unreasonable” reaction to the Judicial Council’s ruling made her consider resigning sooner than she had anticipated.

“I thank the ASUC senators, including the Student Action senators that appointed me, for the opportunity to serve on the Judicial Council these past two years,” Allen said in an email. “I wish them the best in the future.”

Anjali Shrivastava is the lead student government reporter. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @anjalii_shrivas.