ASUC President Chaka Tellem issued a formal presidential veto — the first since 2016 — of Senate Resolution, or SR, 22/23-057 Saturday night. The resolution, passed by more than two-thirds of the ASUC Senate on Wednesday, bans political parties and coalitions from participating in future ASUC elections.
In a statement, Tellem said he “draws the line” when a resolution infringes on students’ rights, noting that he has respected the senate’s will even in times of personal disagreement with bills passed in the past.
“Formal and informal collective action are crucial aspects of the democratic process. Penalizing future candidates for engaging in either, by its very nature, stifles students’ freedom of speech and right to assemble,” Tellem said in the statement. “I would be remiss as President to codify such a harmful resolution into law.”
The ASUC constitution provides the president with the ability to veto any substantive main motion passed by the senate within 72 hours after the motion’s passing, with an expectation to return it with objections for the senate to reconsider.
Current senators and senators-elect alike joined on social media with showings of both support and criticism. Some proponents of the bill voiced concerns about a conflict of interest due to Tellem’s affiliation with campus political party ElevateCal, with others calling his veto “an abuse of power.” Opponents of the bill, however, thanked Tellem for defending collective action and assembly.
Senator Manuel Cisneros signaled that an attempt will be made at this week’s senate meeting Wednesday to overturn the veto in an Instagram comment under Tellem’s statement.
The last veto issued seven years ago by an ASUC president was for a bill supporting a campuswide ban on latex balloons, rubber bands and gloves.