ASUC Senate Meeting Snags on Appointment

Jay Kapp covers the ASUC. E-mail him at [email protected].





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Wednesday's ASUC Senate meeting descended into chaos with the executive vice president ending the meeting before any bills were considered.

The controversy started with the debate over an attorney general nominee, Justin Bernstein, a member of the Judicial Council.

Many senators objected to the nomination, citing a conflict of interest with his current position, which he would resign from if appointed attorney general. As a member of the judicial council, Bernstein tries cases against the ASUC filed by the attorney general. If a former council member were attorney general, objectors said, the council would be more likely to rule in favor of the attorney general.

Objecting senators also alleged Bernstein, nominated by last year's ASUC President Wally Adeyemo, had ties to Student Action.

"This should be a person who has no political ties," said Cal-SERVE Senator Mary Boktor. "I have reservations about this nominee."

But supporters of Bernstein said he should be approved because he is both qualified and unbiased.

"I don't think this is a political issue, but it has been politicized," said APPLE Senator Shaudi Falamaki. "By making this a political argument, we are undermining (our role)."

After an hour of debate about the nominee, Executive Vice President Han Hong refused to conduct any further business until Bernstein was approved.

"We cannot continue business unless we support this candidate," Hong said.

Some senators said they felt this statement was both a threat and an abuse of her position.

"I still feel strongly that a lot of the arguments were undermining certain senators' choices to abstain (from voting)," Boktor said. "I felt under attack."

But other senators said the statement was not a threat and well within Hong's job description.

"If the (executive vice) president of the senate cannot speak out, then why is she even there," said Berkeley College Republicans Senator Paul LaFata. "In general, she is there to help us out and guide us."

The bylaws state the ASUC must have an attorney general by the fifth week or an interim needs to be appointed by the executive vice president.

"If we had an attorney general at this point, he could've filed a suit against me (for not appointing an interim attorney general)," Hong said.

The nomination failed to garner the necessary two-thirds vote, with an 11-0 vote in favor and five abstentions. Hong adjourned the meeting at 10:07 p.m.

"You cannot conduct any further business," Hong said. "(The meeting) automatically ends. You are no longer senators."

Despite multiple protests after adjournment, Hong responded only to an objection from Graduate Assembly President Jessica Quindel.

"Ms. Quindel, you were part of one of the worst senates. Who are you to be speaking?" Hong said, who served on the same senate with Quindel last year.

APPLE Senator Misha Leybovich said Hong could not adjourn the meeting without a motion from a senator.

Because no main motions were allowed, the senate was unable to allocate money to student groups.

Senators decided after Hong's adjournment to retroactively fund events that happened this week, said Aloha Independence Senator Kris Cuaresma-Primm.

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