The ASUC Judicial Council met March 3, largely to hear petitions that would retroactively grant excused absences for ASUC Senators Sylvia Targ and Nicole Anyanwu at last semester’s meetings.
According to the ASUC Constitution, a senator may be removed from office if they incur unexcused absences equal to 20% or more of regular semester senate or committee meetings.
An excused absence can be granted to a senator retroactively if they prove they were unable to submit an excuse request to the chief personnel officer, that their absence was a result of an unexpected or unavoidable accident and if their request for and documentation of the absence were submitted in a timely manner after the missed meeting.
Both Targ’s and Anyanwu’s unexcused absences from last semester were equal to 20%. During the hearings, Chief Legal Officer Jedidiah Tsang, acting as a representative of the ASUC, argued the senators should not be removed from their positions.
The meeting began with the case ASUC v. Sylvia Targ, with Tsang reviewing the reasons Targ’s absences should be excused. In addition to extenuating circumstances that Targ said caused her absences, Tsang argued that because absences were calculated at the end of the semester, the senators were unable to file for excused absences in a timely manner.
The council quickly entered into a closed session to deliberate the case and unanimously motioned to retroactively grant Targ an excused absence.
The council then moved on to the case ASUC v. Nicole Anyanwu, in which Tsang said his argument for Targ’s case also applied to Anyanwu’s.
Anyanwu spoke on her own behalf, justifying her absence from a committee meeting that took place after Thanksgiving break because her flight back to Berkeley was delayed, which impacted subsequent travel plans.
“I really feel like it was really out of my control,” Anyanwu said during the meeting. “There were a lot of things that happened that I could not have anticipated.”
The council also unanimously motioned to retroactively grant Anyanwu an excused absence after a brief closed session.