With the A.S. election quickly approaching, I feel that it is imperative to clarify any misconceptions spread by others. I refer in particular to those inspired by Adam Graff’s article (“SAC Crosses Line Between Fairness and Politics,” Daily Nexus, April 8), in which Graff attempted to portray the Student Action Coalition (SAC) as a group of insensitive individuals whose desire to abide by the A.S. Legal Code in the proceedings of last Wednesday’s Legislative Council meeting were rooted in partisan politics.
The question of the eligibility of Students’ Party candidate Cervin Morris was the center of debate at the meeting. The description of the situation that Graff painted was not the source of discrepancy; Morris fell only four units short of the required 60 units needed to be eligible to run for president. As he attested, the reason for his shortcoming was due to an unforeseen family emergency that forced him to drop some of his units during Spring Quarter of last year. When this problem was brought to his attention, Morris and his Students’ Party Legislative Council colleagues decided to file a petition to contest under the exception in the Legal Code that will overlook such a deficit in “extenuating circumstances.” All of this Graff accounts correctly; the discrepancy, however, is based upon the way he recounts the debate that followed.
Monday’s article insinuates a SAC conspiracy to have Morris removed from the ballot. In fact, all of the Legislative Council members – with the exception of those affiliated with the Students’ Party – came to the meeting completely unaware that they would be discussing such a controversial topic. Many members of the Council from both SAC and the Students’ Party expressed their discontent at having authority over such a matter, including those Students’ Party candidates who had come to support their party. No one discounted that a family emergency such as Morris’ qualified as an “extenuating circumstance.”
Instead, the point was made that the event had occurred a year ago, meaning Morris had enough time to look into the Legal Code and find the necessary steps to ensure that he would be able to run in the election. Because of this time gap, some members did not feel that this situation was an “extenuating circumstance.”
While the upcoming election caused tension, it did not affect the vote. In fact, the one deciding vote that allowed Morris to remain on the ballot was cast by a member of SAC. Also, contrary to the image of SAC Graff created, no proxies were “planted.” Instead, volunteers were allowed to fill in for absent Leg Council members. The SAC members came to witness what we will hopefully be taking part in during the course of next year. While it is true that a large number of SAC members left after this decision was made, I think that this was quite excusable because a large number of Students’ Party members – including Morris, who had not yet been excused – had already left the meeting, which had dragged on for two hours.
Mr. Graff, I hope you now understand that the intentions of the SAC were not to “smear” anyone. As for those SAC leggies who voted against allowing Morris’ eligibility, I will hold them accountable to their position and expect that they maintain it in similar cases, regardless of party affiliation. Even though you have failed to do so, I hope the remaining campaigning is conducted as respectfully as possible. I encourage all students to come by the Arbor this week or next week and pick up information about all the parties so that you can vote for whichever party you feel will best represent you.
Kavita Kapur is a junior environmental studies major.