Associated Students Legislative Council made the rare motion to un-excuse a council member’s absence yesterday in order to put Off-campus Rep Sarah Burstein up for removal at next week’s Leg meeting.
Although the council had excused the absence at the beginning of the meeting because Internal Vice President Adam Graff said Burstein had the flu, Rep-at-large Romy Frazier said she wanted to reopen the topic for discussion because she felt Burstein was not an active member of the council as she had often left Leg Council meetings early and missed too many of her committee meetings.
The council had discussed the removal of Burstein at a previous meeting this year, but had decided to issue a warning instead. The council also discussed the potential removal of Rep-at-large Jen Greeley, as well as the College Republicans’ demonstration during Monday’s immigration reform bill protests.
The meeting ended in a closed session so council members could discuss internal matters.
Graff said he strongly disagreed with the motion to un-excuse Burstein.
“I don’t think it’s ethical and it’s not within the power of Leg Council to do so,” Graff said. “If you want to go on a witch hunt against someone who isn’t here, I’m sorry, but that’s not okay.”
Off-campus Rep Samantha Nevels said she was worried about having a vacant position on the council if Burstein were removed.
However, Frazier said she felt the motion was completely valid.
“We’re talking about someone who doesn’t go to her meetings,” Frazier said. “She should be here. … As for having a vacant position – it’s vacant already.”
The unexcused absence would allow the council to remove Burstein at their meeting next Wednesday, as the A.S. Legal Code stipulates that council members who miss two meetings must be put up for removal.
Off-campus Rep Joel Rodriguez-Flores said removing Burstein would benefit the entire council.
“If we have people who aren’t going to be here then we shouldn’t have a high quorum,” he said. “The only thing I can remember [Burstein] saying is, ‘Nothing to report.'”
The council voted to un-excuse Burstein’s absence with 18 members in favor, one opposing and one abstaining.
The council discussed removing Greeley, as well, after it was noted that she had two unexcused absences at the beginning of the quarter.
Greeley said she missed the two meetings for personal reasons, and that she was still committed to the council.
“I do want to be here,” Greeley said. “I want to finish the quarter.”
Nevels said she supports Greeley because she is a very active member on the board.
“Clearly, Jen is a dedicated member,” she said.
The council unanimously voted to keep Greeley on the board.
Earlier in the meeting, council members expressed their opinions regarding the College Republicans counter-demonstration at Monday’s immigration reform bill protest that was held by the Pardall bike tunnel. Off-campus Rep Gina Fischer said that while she supported the group’s right to free speech, she disapproved of their tactics, which involved wearing shirts emblazoned with the letters “INS,” apparently standing for Immigration and Naturalization Service.
“The reason that I am so concerned by this is because there were some students who were elected on to Leg Council wearing this shirt,” Fischer said. “To wear that is terrible.”
Rodriguez-Flores said he believes the College Republicans only engage in inflammatory demonstrations.
“I feel like the College Republicans never do events of their own,” he said. “All I ever see them do is counter-protest.”
Nevels also said she did not approve of the College Republicans’ actions, but said they were not entirely inactive.
“While I don’t support what they did … the College Republicans have done other events,” Nevels said. “They had [Ben Stein] come.”
Another notable moment at last night’s meeting involved a report of a hate crime on campus. An unidentified perpetrator had recently vandalized Santa Rosa Residence Hall’s Black/African-American Studies floor by writing “Fuck Niggers” in the women’s bathroom, Frazier said. The council members were visibly shocked by the report.
The council also motioned to table discussion of the 2006-07 A.S. Budget, as President Chaz Whatley was absent due to food poisoning. Revisions to the budget are currently underway.