Conflicts of interest, impeachment petitions and more were the subject of heated debate during the ASUC Senate meeting Wednesday.
The petitions called for removal proceedings for six Judicial Council justices and the nullification of their judicial decisions since March 27, after they allegedly openly discussed confidential material where other members of the ASUC could view it and demeaned elections prosecutors. The meeting kicked off with a motion to move the petitions, which were initially listed under new business, to immediate consideration from Senator Muz Ahmad.
“The utter audacity of the council to engage in the bullying of elections officials shows a clear lack of the maturity required for the offices they hold,” said Jonah Lincoln, assistant to the elections prosecutor, during the meeting. “The disrespect is, to put it bluntly, ridiculous and serves to do nothing but posture and reflect an unfounded and overinflated sense of ego.”
Other members of the elections prosecutor’s team spoke out against the justices during public comment, condemning them for demeaning prosecutors on Slack during a March 16 hearing.
Elections prosecutor Sarah Marín said the justices “shamed and humiliated” prosecutors and called the hearing “a s—tshow.” Isabel Ok, assistant to the elections prosecutor, alleged the actions were “elitist” and created a toxic culture against participation.
Chief Legal Officer Athalia Djuhana pointed out a potential conflict of interest, citing Ahmad’s involvement in the petition and his affiliation to Student Action, and encouraged senators to hold off on pushing the petition. Multiple independent senators disputed the conflict, adding that they had supported the petition and had no conflicts of interest.
“For someone who wasn’t elected and rejected by the Senate, for them to be talking like this, I’m tired of hearing it,” said Senator Osirus Polachart during the meeting. “If you’re gonna defend this elitism, I don’t know what to say to you.”
Senator Gabbi Sharp emphasized the need to take action against the justices and pointed out how harmful their comments were, particularly in a space that is “toxic for women of color.”
While Senator Stephanie Wong acknowledged the comments as “distasteful,” she also raised transparency concerns over who should be on the investigatory committee, created to look into the charges of malfeasance against the justices.
Following the charged discussion, senators entered a closed meeting due to privacy and legality concerns. Upon returning, Ahmad made motions to remove his name from the petitions and change their language, substituting the word “removal” for “impeachment,” and senators passed a resolution establishing a fairer process of judicial nominations.
“Thank you everyone, especially those who defended the prosecutors and endorsed the petitions,” Marín said in the zoom chat. “The prosecuting team appreciates it.”