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Davis, California

Monday, February 26, 2024

Lawsuit filed against ASUCD president for improper hiring techniques

Sabrina Dias, outgoing Housing Day director and Outreach Assembly speaker, has filed a suit against ASUCD President Adam Thongsavat for improper hiring practices.

Dias’ complaint is in regard to the hiring of the City and County Affairs director. Proper ASUCD hiring techniques are outlined by the ASUCD constitution, which states that only the president and the outgoing unit director (or next highest available officer) need be present for the interviews to take place.

The court will hear opening oral statements May 18 in the Mee Room at 9 p.m. Thongsavat does not plan on attending and will instead issue a statement in writing for the court.

Because the most recent City and County Affairs director was removed from his position, Thongsavat chose Kevin Pascual, outgoing City and County Affairs assistant director for policy, to accompany him for interviews.

Pascual and Thongsavat were not able to coordinate their schedules to set up times for all three candidates’ interviews. Dias was left to interview with the president alone, while the other two candidates met with both interviewers.

“My schedule is very impacted,” Thongsavat said. “As is Kevin’s. It’s true he was not there for Dias’ interview, but I did consult him prior to the interview.”

According to Thongsavat, it was well known within ASUCD that Dias was interested in the position, and he believes she is taking him to court largely due to bitterness.

But Dias said that Thongsavat should have found time for a proper interview.

“There was clearly no rush since the director for the unit was not confirmed until a week and a half after the interviews,” Dias said in an e-mail interview. “The interviews could have gone on one extra day to ensure the bylaws were followed.”

The case will be heard by the ASUCD court, which is presided over by Chief Justice Rudy Ornelas. Ornelas could not make any comment about the current case until there is a ruling.

“The sad thing is that most of the time, bylaws and constitutional articles go ignored and are violated,” Ornelas said in an e-mail interview. “However, the court cannot do anything without a formal complaint.”

Instead of Dias, Thongsavat chose Jeanna Gindi, outgoing City and County affairs director of policy, for the director position.

“Both Gindi and Dias were qualified for the position, but in the end we went with Gindi,” Thongsavat said. “If the court rules that we have to do the hiring process over again, I’m going to choose the same person.”

Thongsavat insisted that this lawsuit is only a bump in the road in what has been a very successful start to his term as president. He plans to do whatever is best for ASUCD.

“I have the utmost respect for our president,” Dias said. With that said he, on the day he became president, swore to uphold the ASUCD bylaws and constitution. Therefore, he should have followed them. No one in our association is above our bylaws and constitution.?”

ANDY VERDEROSA can be reached at campus@theaggie.org.


  1. “Seems obvious to me. Why would a lawsuit be heard in the ASUCD senate room?”

    Well, duh — it’s “obvious” only AFTER you read that line, buried in the middle of the article. The headline and the first few paragraphs make it sound like it’s a real lawsuit. That’s my point. You have to read halfway through the article before it becomes clear that it’s not a real lawsuit.

    And no, AndyV, you’re wrong: ” a lawsuit can constitute any sort of court case in which one party has incurred a loss, and is looking for retribution.” No. This isn’t a “court case,” and ASUCD’s judicial body isn’t a real “court.” When I say that “I filed a lawsuit against the ASUCD president,” without specifying that I filed it in fake student court, the listener would assume I filed a real lawsuit against the guy.

  2. I was at the senate meeting when the person was getting confirmed for hirings and nobody knew the hiring was done wrong until that meeting and it came to light after the new director was hired illegally.

  3. If the announcement of who got the position was a week and a half later, why didn’t Dias try to reschedule and interview with both people there if that was important to her. Why did she wait until after someone got hired to complain about it? At least that is how the article makes it sound.

  4. A lawsuit can constitute any sort of court case in which one party has incurred a loss, and is looking for retribution. In this case, Dias wants the hiring process to be redone. With that said, I agree some readers may be confused, but it isn’t just a hearing. The ASUCD judicial branch operates similar to a real court, and Ornelas will be making a decision based on the facts that are presented to him.

  5. Eh. Seems pretty obvious to me. Why would a real lawsuit have its hearing in the ASUCD senate meeting room?

  6. “The case will be heard by the ASUCD court, ”

    Headline and the led are misleading. I had to wait until the 10th paragraph to learn this isn’t a “lawsuit”, it’s some kind of AS hearing. I thought someone had sued ASUCD in real court; that’s what the average reader is going to think, too.


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