Trump support hounds ASI president


Oscar Rendon

Juan Carlos Hernandez, former Associated Students president, resigns on Sept. 21 after fellow AS board members unofficially voted him out. Hernandez poses for a portrait in the Humanities 311 at SF State on Monday, Sept. 23. (Oscar Rendon/Golden Gate Xpress)

The sudden resignation of SF State’s student body president last week was the end result of a campaign to rid the elected body of a Trump supporter, he said.

Juan Carlos Hernandez became Associated Students Inc. president last April after beating out one opponent with 648 votes to 217. Last July, then-president of the ASI Hernandez, fended off demands for his resignation by a group called “The League of Hangry Students.”

In a letter to the board, the group accused Hernandez of behavior unbecoming of his position as an SF State student body representative, including that he introduced himself as a Trump supporter to CSU student leaders while on ASI business.

“JC [Juan Carlos] did not differentiate their personal position from that of the organization they represent, violating the AS Code of Conduct Section 7,” states the letter. “While JC reserves the right to participate in political, professional, and/or social organization activity and have a personal political opinion, the form of their public proclamation has misrepresented their SF State student constituency and the positions of Associated Students of San Francisco State, a non-partisan 501(c)3 non-profit.”

The board didn’t act on the letter, but on Wednesday, Sept. 19, members took an unofficial vote to push him out. On Friday, Sept. 21, Hernandez resigned rather than face an official vote this week. The board did not respond to requests for comment from Xpress.

Associated Students President Juan Carlos Hernandez reviews emails at his desk in the Cesar Chavez Student Center on August 23, 2018. (Niko LaBarbera/Golden Gate Xpress)

The group demanding his resignation last summer is now celebrating his departure on Instagram.

“They spin it so that their activism looks successful… so that they look as though they removed a Trump supporter from office,” Hernandez said. “It’s an agenda put forward by a leftist activist group that assumes my political beliefs without talking to me and assumes that because of the way I voted, I am Republican.”

Hernandez said his views on Trump have “evolved” since the summer, and he now considers himself a libertarian.

The group’s letter to the board also accused Hernandez of not attending a Cal State Student Association (CSSA) meeting in Monterrey last June, of getting drunk during ASI business, and of telling a female colleague of color to be quiet.

Hernandez countered by saying he skipped the meeting because he was told he was only an alternate attendee, that he was drinking along with several other members of the board, and that he did ask the female colleague to remain quiet, but it was appropriate because it during a CSSA role playing session on negotiating. And, he said, she wasn’t upset by his comment.

Liz Sanchez of CSU Fullerton Students for a Quality Education presented the letter to the board during a meeting public comment period, Hernandez said.

“A person who wasn’t even a student from our campus,” he said. “I was told I could not respond because as ASI president, I had to represent the entire board. I felt very hurt, felt attacked. It definitely affected my work.”

Hernandez’s resignation was celebrated on an Instagram account under the name of liz_effn_sanchez.

“The Trump supporting ASI president of San Francisco State has been voted out! Buh Bye!” reads the post. “Power to the resistance of SF State!!!!”

The post includes a photo of two people holding signs reading “Fuck Trump” and “No Trumpers in Student Govt.”

On Friday, Hernandez provided a letter to Xpress addressed to “Dearest Student Body” announcing his resignation. He made no mention of the “League of Hangry Students” letter or the board’s vote to remove him. His letter stated that he left due to a rift in priorities with board members.

“Of the three platforms that I ran on and got elected to implement, none of my ideas were taken seriously by the members of the board that ran unopposed, these are incumbent members that were a part of the previous year’s Board of Directors,” he wrote.

According to the letter, his three platforms were “housing for the homeless student population, lowering the freshman dropout rate, and the creation of an Inter Club Council (ICC).”

Juan Carlos Hernandez, former Associated Students president, resigns on Sept. 21 after fellow AS board members unofficially voted him out. Hernandez poses for a portrait in the Humanities 311 at SF State on Monday, Sept. 23. (Oscar Rendon/Golden Gate Xpress)

In a widely distributed email addressed to Hernandez on Monday, Sept. 24, ASI sophomore representative Alondra Esquivel Garcia disputed Hernandez’s account.

“I wonder what courage you have to tell the media about the Boards vote on Wednesday and what you say negatively about the Board to other AS representatives from other CSU’s,” Garcia wrote.

“The ‘drama’ on the Board isn’t just because of Board members causing it, it is because of your lack of leadership skills and the lack of maintaining this organization in order.”