Associated Students lost two of its leaders last night, as External Vice President of Statewide Affairs (EVPSA) Felicia Cruz resigned her position, and the A.S. Legislative Council voted to remove sitting Academic Affairs Board (AAB) chair Michael Friedman.
According to the A.S. Legal Code, the Statewide Affairs Organizing Director (SAOD) will serve in the EVPSA position until a replacement is duly elected. The SAOD position is currently held by third-year sociology major Bill Shiebler.
A.S. President Chaz Whatley informed the board of Cruz’s resignation, saying the issue was very emotional for her and that she regretted the situation.
The EVPSA represents A.S. in the University of California Students’ Association, as well as in all state, federal and UC system-wide matters. The officer is also charged with advising and informing the A.S. President and Legislative Council on such matters. Like the other three A.S. executive officers, the EVPSA has his or her student fees paid for by the University.
The council also dealt with another difficult situation regarding the removal of AAB chair Michael Friedman.
Friedman spoke early in the meeting to present his plans as AAB chair, including a hotline for student complaints, taxing local alcohol vendors and the establishment of an Efficiency Committee to deal with A.S. organizational problems.
Tension arose, however, when Friedman was asked for specific details about his plans. Off-Campus Representative Gina Fischer said Friedman should make a detailed list that explained his intentions more clearly. Another Leggie, Rep-at-Large Christina Leets, said a budget proposal would be helpful.
Friedman, however, said he felt the council members’ tones were confrontational, and requested that they repeat their questions more respectfully.
“I just go get the money.” Friedman said. “Whatever you think is best, I don’t care.”
Friedman returned to the podium later in the meeting, apologizing for his remarks and saying he might have “rubbed people the wrong way.” However, Friedman also said he could not compromise his values, even if he were threatened with removal.
“I’m willing to go down in a blaze of glory with my honesty,” Friedman said.
Friedman continued to speak, saying the Leggies were more concerned with appearances than what work actually gets done.
“People don’t like it when I talk here because the Nexus is here,” Friedman said. “Maybe A.S. shouldn’t worry so much about their ego and how they look.”
After Friedman left the meeting, council members voted to consider his dismissal with 15 in favor and 3 against.
“It seems like he has been unable to control himself in the heat of the moment,” University-Owned Housing Rep. Felix Hu said.
Off-Campus Rep. Amelia Holstrom said she was uncertain about Friedman’s “fighting attitude.”
“I don’t think he’s ready to work within the system,” Holstrom said.
Whatley said she believed in Friedman’s good intentions and would give him another chance if it were her decision to make. However, the Leggies voted to remove Friedman with 13 ayes, three nays and two abstentions.
Friedman said he would accept the Council’s decision.
“If you want to remove me, I won’t cry.” Friedman said.