The next generation in ASUCD political organization got off to a somewhat rocky start this week.
The newly formed group, ACT, was prompted to take its first video off its website when organizers learned some of the interviewees may not have been properly informed about the purpose of the video. Students in the video are seen in the ASUCD Coffee House and Memorial Union holding a sign reading “ACT“ and answering questions about student involvement in ASUCD.
At least two of the interviewees, however, claim they were never informed the video would be used for an ASUCD-affiliated group.
“They came up to me and asked if they could take my picture for a political science class project they were working on about political campaigns,” said Hannah M. Reff, a UC Davis senior and Coffee House supervisor who was photographed in her work uniform holding an ACT sign.
After Reff was photographed early last week, ASUCD Senator Rebecca Schwartz of the LEAD slate contacted her Monday night to ask about the video. Reff, a LEAD volunteer, said she was horrified to see her image used in a rival organization’s video.
“I did not and would not consent to this misuse of my image, and it is unclear whether any of the other students featured in the film did so,” Reff said.
Co-founder of ACT, Gianni Rosas-Maxemin, said that after Reff contacted the group, they took the video offline, edited her parts out and then put it back up.
“This is a little upsetting because I know for a fact that it was not said that it was for a political science project,” Rosas-Maxemin said. “What [the video makers] were saying was they were working with a political organization called ACT.“
However, after it became apparent that at least one other student, a reporter for The California Aggie, posed for the video without being informed it was for an ASUCD organization, Rosas-Maxemin chose to take the video down completely.
“Apparently there was some vagueness in what was getting communicated. Some people didn’t know exactly what it was about,” he said. “Our intent was not to be vague. It is to help students.”
While ACT is planning to run six candidates for ASUCD Senate in the winter 2009 election, Rosas-Maxemin rejects the designation of being a “slate” for the divisive connotation of the word in ASUCD politics. ACT is a political organization that will continue to be active in student government regardless of the outcome of the elections, he said.
“We’re not going to stop there, just one faction of ACT is government,” he said. “It’s something for students to come and meet, exchange ideas and discuss conflicts. We want to be that pure form that bridges students‘ voice to ASUCD – senate, commissions or any other units involved.”
ACT is, however, both a registered slate and organization with Student Programs and Activities Center. The slate designation entitles them to on-campus meeting space and SPAC funds, Rosas-Maxemin said.
“The video is not for candidates running now, it’s for the ACT organization,” Rosas-Maxemin said.
While the video has been removed, organizers are working to contact students in the video to get their consent and eventually put it back on their website at ucact.com.
ALYSOUN BONDE can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.