ASUCD Senate demotes Lee over disagreement regarding new senate election
At the ASUCD Senate meeting on Oct. 8, Senator Casey Nguyen replaced Senator Alex Lee as the new senate president pro-tempore.
Lee, who held the role last spring quarter and was re-elected at the previous meeting by a 6-3-3 vote, was replaced by his fellow senator after a debacle ensued regarding Lee’s choices while helping to select former senator Sarah Priano’s replacement seat.
The conflict began during public discussion when Senator Sevan Nahabedian accused Lee of abusing his power as pro-tempore by not choosing Senator Reem Fatayerji to sit on the interview committee to help select the replacement senator. Since Fatayerji said that she was available for all interviews, Nahabedian saw Lee’s choice to not select her as a power move for his own personal gain.
“What Alex did with the interview committee was wrong. It was a clear power move by the pro-tem,” Nahabedian said. “The way I want my pro-tem to act is to act like a parliamentarian and not for their own agenda.”
Despite constant reassurance from Nahabedian and Fatayerji that the push to remove Lee was not out of aggression, Lee saw the discussion as a personal attack against his character.
“There is talk about considering our feelings. I feel this is a personal attack against me,” Lee said. “Trying to say that removing me from my office is not a personal attack is not working.”
After several failed attempts to divide the house, Lee was officially removed as pro-tempore by a vote of 8-4-0. Similarly, after several failed attempts to elect a new pro-tempore, Nguyen was elected as Lee’s replacement after the two were nominated for the seat. Nguyen won by a 5-7-0 vote.
In the aftermath of the incident, Senator Brendan Chang took to Facebook to criticize the behavior of his fellow senators.
“I have been through four other student governments and never in my time in the last four years have I witnessed such childish antics,” Chang wrote in a Facebook post. “I am very disappointed in many of you. And frankly, I am also disappointed in myself.”
This is the first time a senate pro-tempore has been replaced and removed mid-quarter in ASUCD history.