Associated Students Legislative Council almost failed to meet quorum Wednesday night after one council member left to protest the absence of several other Leg Council members.
Eight council members were excused from the meeting because of academic reasons, but three other leggies left partway through the meeting to attend an A.S. Judicial Council preliminary hearing. Off-Campus Rep. Chaz Whatley, On-Campus Rep. Justin Pabian and Off-Campus Rep. Adam Graff submitted a petition to Judicial Council asking it to remove its chair, Corina Garcia. The council did manage to meet quorum by the end of the meeting, and it approved the A.S. audit and confirmed two new members to Leg Council.
The departure of Whatley, Pabian and Graff left 12 Leg Council members at the meeting – the exact number needed to reach quorum. On-Campus Rep. Raymond Meza then excused himself from the meeting, saying he purposefully wanted to break quorum to protest the others’ absences.
“We’re the supreme law-making body in A.S.,” Meza said. “We have a responsibility to students. We only get one opportunity a week to share what we are doing.”
Pabian, a witness listed on the petition, left the preliminary hearing a few minutes after arriving. He said he returned to the Leg Council meeting after receiving information that quorum was not being met.
“I feel, as a student representative, it is important that the student government hold a weekly meeting,” Pabian said. “We need to make quorum at those meetings.”
Upon returning, Pabian said he ran into Meza in the hallway of the UCen. Meza followed him back to the meeting room.
Whatley, the author of the petition to remove Garcia, said in her complaint that Garcia violated a section of the A.S. legal code which requires the chair to specify and hold a mandatory weekly meeting for the council.
“It is an atrocity that the chairperson of our sovereign appellate body fails to abide by the ASUCSB legal code,” the petition states. “Furthermore, this brings into question her ability to preside over Judicial Council, whose mandate is to ensure all ASUCSB boards, committees, commission, Legislative Council are in accordance with the ASUCSB Legal Code.”
Judicial Council heard Whatley’s complaint, but only two of the four members voted. Garcia pardoned herself from the preliminary hearing and vote, saying she had a conflict of interest, and acting chair Nina Tringali was unable to vote according to Judicial Council hearing procedures. Second-year political science and Spanish major Ruth Rubio and third-year law and society major Shawna Wright – the two Judicial Council members who did vote – decided not to hold a formal hearing, but declined to state their reason.
After the vote, Whatley submitted a second petition, again asking for Garcia’s removal. The petition states that former A.S. President Miguel Mendoza illegally elected Garcia to her position as chair. The A.S. Legal Code says only members of Judicial Council may elect new members.
Judicial Council members have not decided when to meet to hear Whatley’s second petition.
Whatley said the timing of the hearing was inconvenient, but it was not in her authority to reschedule it.
“I feel my time would’ve been better spent in Leg Council,” Whatley said.