ASI moves forward with a new board after a controversial election

ASI held the Inauguration for student government at Jack Adam's Hall on Monday, May 1, 2017 (Christianna Fjelstad/Xpress)

The new board members of Associated Students, Inc. took their oaths in Jack Adams Hall on Monday, after weeks of careful deliberation on how to address conflicts surrounding the election.

Jacqueline Foley, ASI’s official new president, is releasing a statement this week focusing on moving forward. Foley’s slate, Stronger Together, dealt with grievances during past weeks that resulted in the elimination of some of the votes they earned.

“I will be releasing a statement to the students,” Foley said. “Right now, I just want to focus on lifting this organization up and not tearing it apart. I just want what’s best for the students.”

ASI held numerous hearings over the last few weeks discussing grievances that candidates filed against one another during the election.

During a board meeting last Wednesday, members considered resolutions such as conducting a re-election, extending the current board members’ terms and disqualifying votes cast from April 5 at 2 p.m. to April 6 at 2 p.m.

Board members held a special meeting on Thursday, where they decided to disqualify votes earned during that 24-hour period. ASI had Votenet, a third-party system, recount the votes after this decision. Official results were released Monday.

According to Celia LoBuono Gonzalez, this decision directly impacted the outcome of the president and vice president of external affairs positions.

The official results released on Monday did not include Jordan James-Harvill who ran as a presidential candidate. The document listed only “candidates who met the eligibility requirements and qualifications to run and get elected into the respective offices.” ASI failed to offer any explanation on James-Harvill’s disqualification to the student body.

A student who has chosen to remain anonymous contacted Xpress explaining her concerns about the board’s decision to deduct votes without informing the student body.

“Students pay into this multi-million dollar organization every year without having the option to opt out,”  said the source in a written statement. “Regardless of this knowledge, the board of directors decided that although these 436 students pay into this organization and exercised their student right to vote because they voted between a certain time period, their votes no longer count while others do.”

Sophomore representative Celine Herrera said that ASI administration needs to be more accountable and transparent in the future.

“As a sophomore representative, I want to make sure that there will be transparency in the future,” Herrera said.

James-Harvill said that the University’s decision to disqualify him was an oppressive treatment on the administration’s part.

“The University has used the student conduct office to stifle student movements for a long time,” James-Harvill said.

As a student leader for the past three years, James-Harvill has advocated for social justice and equity on campus and said he has “fought the University…to hold them to the values they ‘claim’ to hold so dear.”

“Privatization, tuition increases and bloated administrative salaries – I’ve fought for years to call out these atrocities, and now they’re disqualifying me because it’s politically convenient,” James-Harvill said. “I’m just another victim of this oppressive regime that we call President Wong’s administration.”

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