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Davis, California

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Complaints filed against ASUCD senate slates

A series of official complaints to the ASUCD Elections Committee were filed this month against both the NOW and SMART slates, following the recent senate election.According to Internal Affairs Commission Chair Sergio Cano, this could result in senators-elect Felicia Ong and Tal Topf (NOW) and Armando Figueroa and Alyson Sagala (SMART) not being seated, should the complaints remain unresolved by tomorrow’s senate meeting.Bradley Bottoms, ASUCD senator, filed a complaint against the SMART slate for allegedly falsifying their expenditure forms by failing to report the purchase of alcohol for a Nov. 10 party for SMART supporters during the campaigning period. Candidates are required to cite all expenditures during the campaign in expenditure forms, according to ASUCD Bylaw 412D.“No campaign executive may falsify expenditure forms. This may include, but is not limited to, false signatures, incomplete forms, and/or not claiming purchases/donations used for campaign purposes,” the bylaws state.

According to Elections Committee chair Aaron Hsu, full details to the formal complaints will not be released as of yet.

“The complaints may or may not affect the final outcome of the election, depending upon the final assessment of violation points by the Elections Committee,” Hsu said.

The number of violation points are given depending on the severity of the situation. According to the ASUCD Bylaws, if a candidate garners three or more campaign violation points, the Elections Committee will disqualify the candidate.

Sagala said that the allegations are false.

“The party was not held in any way to actively campaign, just as a fun get together for our supporters. The party itself was BYOB (bring your own bottle/booze) so partygoers brought and consumed their own alcohol. Nothing was provided by me, and certainly not Armando, since he is not even 21,” she said in an email interview.

Bottoms said it was essential that complaints were filed after elections, as it is required in section 411F of the ASUCD Bylaws which state any suspicious behaviors must be reported to the Elections Committee.

“[By] reporting potentially unlawful (by ASUCD, not state or federal) election behaviors, we are attempting to safeguard the election process from things that would over-franchise certain candidates or encourage breaking of university codes,” he said. “By reporting these issues, we encourage candidates now and into the future to follow our bylaws and encourage the fairness and transparency of ASUCD elections.”

A case was also filed against the NOW slate by ASUCD Refrigerator Services director Eddie Truong, also alleging that NOW falsified its expenditure forms by not properly citing alcohol expenditures at a party.

As former Elections Committee chair, Cano said he believes the cases which have been presented are “childish” and have been filed in response to complaints against both slates.

“I can only hope these complaints are resolved in an expedited manner because I think all these cases are a joke … You have candidates … filing complaints against other candidates and at the same time advocating to be a representative for students. Such complaints are only hurting the student body,” Cano said.

According to Cano there were eight complaints filed, including a case filed by senator-elect Felicia Ong, which alleges that campaigners from Figueroa’s campaign approached her on a Unitrans bus and called her “racist,” potentially violating the ASUCD Bill of Rights.

The Bill of Rights states that one has a right to be free of discrimination and harassment on the basis of race, gender, ethnicity, religious beliefs, disability, sexual orientation, status within or outside the university or political belief in all activities sponsored or conducted by the University, its affiliates, ASUCD, or campus student groups as addressed in the UC Davis Principles of Community.

Cano said that only the Elections Committee has the ability to enforce election regulations explicitly stated in the Bylaws.

Another complaint was filed that alleges that SMART candidates campaigned near the Memorial Union bus terminals, which violates section 411C of the ASUCD Bylaws, which states that no campaign executive or slate may use the endorsement of an ASUCD unit, unless the endorsement was conducted through proper procedures.

A complaint was also filed against NOW for allegedly campaigning in dorm buildings.

Sagala said she believed that the initial complaint against SMART was filed for political reasons, as it was filed after the election results were announced.
“The accusers are simply trying to find petty reasons to prevent Armando and [me] from being seated in ASUCD, which is very sad considering we were looking forward to working with them and making a positive impact on campus,” Sagala said.

As the Election Committee is presently reviewing the complaints, Bottoms explained he will not discuss evidence of the allegations.

“I do not want to slander anyone, especially since they will probably be my coworker soon,” he said.

Bottoms added that the complaints were not filed based on slate affiliation.

“I happened to see information regarding this suspicious incident and I decided that it was my duty to report it. I did not file anything regarding any of the independent candidates because I simply did not view anything that could have potentially broken the bylaws,” he said.

ASUCD Senator Jared Crisologo-Smith, a founding member of the SMART slate, said he believes that the complaints were filed against SMART candidates in order to garner more seats for NOW candidates.

“This is an outrage, and represents an egregious offense to the principles of democracy that ASUCD was founded upon,” he said.
Sagala said that this will not handicap her goals as a senator-elect.

“I plan to always work hard in a positive direction regardless of detractors to those efforts. If anything, this has only mobilized me and my support to make sure students aren’t having their voices suppressed … I hope that after this is handled we can move forward as was originally intended to work hard to improve UC Davis,” she said.

According to Hsu, the Elections Committee plans to release violation point assessments and their associated complaints later this week.
Senators-elect will be sworn in tomorrow during the senate meeting at 6:10 p.m. in the Memorial Union Mee Room. Current senators who will term out will also offer their official farewells to the senate.

MUNA SADEK can be reached at campus@theaggie.org.


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