Referendum seeks to change attendance guidelines, amend conflicts of interest for ASUC Judicial Council, Elections Council

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Campus will have to decide whether or not to pass a referendum, known as Protecting the Checks and Balances of the ASUC Constitution, during the 2021 ASUC election season. According to Jedidiah Tsang, chief of staff for the ASUC executive vice president, the referendum modifies the ASUC Constitution’s conflict of interest section for the ASUC Judicial Council and ASUC Elections Council.

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For the 2021 ASUC election season, the campus student body will decide whether or not to pass a referendum that amends ASUC Judicial Council attendance guidelines and aims to decrease conflicts of interest in the Judicial Council and ASUC Elections Council.

Titled Protecting the Checks and Balances of the ASUC Constitution, the referendum has several components, according to Jedidiah Tsang, chief of staff for the ASUC executive vice president and primary proponent of the referendum.

The referendum changes the required attendance for Judicial Council meetings from at least 30% to at least 40% of regular meetings. Council members will also be permitted to have unexcused absences from meetings, provided that the absences total no more than 30% of all regular meetings, Tsang said.

The referendum also resolves a technicality that could have Judicial Council members automatically removed, according to Tsang. Since it stipulates that attendance will be calculated at the end of the semester, council members will not be removed if they do not attend the semester’s first meeting.

Previously, council members could be removed from the council if they missed the first meeting because they would have absences totaling 100% of the regular meetings up to that point.

Tsang said the referendum modifies the constitution’s conflict of interest section for the Judicial Council and Elections Council.

Athalia Djuhana, ASUC chief legal officer, said the referendum applies standards from the Judicial Council — which does not allow members to endorse any propositions or candidates or serve in any other ASUC office or position — to the Elections Council, which currently is only not allowed to endorse propositions or candidates. The referendum will clarify that council members are also not able to be support staff for any ASUC position, according to Tsang.

“This amendment would basically strike out the possibility that (the Elections Council or Judicial Council) would be accused of being partisan to a party or a candidate in an election,” Tsang said.

While neither the Judicial Council nor Elections Council were able to be a proponent of the referendum, both were consulted on its actions and language, according to Tsang. The official primary sponsor of the referendum is Melvin Tangonan, executive vice president, Tsang added.

Tsang said he has no reason to feel there is “significant opposition” against the referendum.

The Judicial Council declined to comment specifically on the referendum, noting council members on the Judicial Council and the Elections Council refrain from expressing support of or opinions on current propositions or elections matters.

“From a practical standpoint, this insulates the Elections Council and the Judicial Council from partisan politics that have plagued the ASUC for too long,” Tsang said. “I do hope that it passes and I think it does good work.”

Sebastian Cahill is a student government reporter. Contact him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter at @SebastianCahil1.

Correction(s):
A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that neither the Elections Council nor the Judicial Council were consulted on the referendum’s actions and language. In fact, they were both consulted on its actions and language.