Invoking a power rarely used in Associated Students’ history, A.S. President Jared Goldschen vetoed on Friday the Legislative Council resolution to freeze the Daily Nexus’ lock-in fee.
In a letter addressed to the council, Goldschen said he vetoed the resolution due to the “strong possibility that freezing the Nexus funds is illegal.” However, Off-Campus Rep. Jeronimo Saldana, the author of the resolution, said he hopes to override the veto at this week’s Leg Council meeting.
According to the A.S. Legal Code, the president has the power to veto legislation within two days of its approval. The resolution returns to Leg Council this Wednesday, where members will need a two-thirds majority vote to overturn it. Leggies passed the resolution last Wednesday with 13 approving, 5 opposing and 2 abstaining.
In response to Goldschen’s concerns, Saldana said Leg Council members had already consulted a few legal experts to determine the legality of the resolution.
“We have spoken to a few legal resources,” he said. “We wouldn’t go into something without being prepared.”
Leg Council members voted to freeze the Nexus’ lock-in fee because the newspaper continues to print advertisements from Conquest Student Housing, a company Leg Council voted to boycott last fall due to its involvement in the eviction of tenants from Cedarwood Apartments, located at 6626 Picasso Rd.
The Daily Nexus receives a $0.85 per student per quarter lock-in fee during the academic year and a $0.57 per student lock-in fee during summer sessions. The funding accounts for roughly 7 percent of the newspaper’s revenue.
Goldschen said he expected that Leg Council would try to overturn his veto, but he stands by it. He said he hopes to see the conflict resolved in a different way, such as weekly meetings between A.S. and the Nexus, to promote communication between the two groups.
Daily Nexus Editor in Chief Kaitlin Pike said she looks forward to such meetings, and hopes to work with Goldschen and the council to resolve the current problem.
“President Goldschen and I have been in frequent contact regarding this unnecessary squabble between the two institutions,” Pike said. “He and I both desire a solution satisfactory to our relative offices, and we wish to find one quickly.”
Pike also said that if the council persists and if A.S. attempts to freeze the newspaper’s fees – a move prohibited by the A.S. Legal Code, California state law and federal law – she would have no recourse left but to file a lawsuit against the organization.
Goldschen sent a letter explaining his reasons for the veto, which is required by the Legal Code, to Legislative Council members, the executive officers, the executive director and the Daily Nexus.
In his official letter, Goldschen stated his concerns over the legality of the resolution’s action and the possibility of a potential lawsuit. He cited the need to ensure that Leg Council acts “in accordance with the law and respects the due process.”
In an interview, Goldschen said a lawsuit would turn A.S. attentions and funds away from its constituents.
“I only stepped in to veto because it would be an illegal action,” Goldschen said. “I didn’t want to put A.S. into a legal battle that would tie up staff, tie up resources and take our efforts away from serving students.”
Goldschen also noted the strain of a legal battle on the Nexus’ finances, citing the current debt of over $600,000.
“It does not fiscally make sense to take a source of income away while they are in the middle of a budgetary crisis,” Goldschen wrote in the letter.
In addition, Goldschen said the resolution was presented to the council too quickly and without the possibility for Leggies to individually investigate the matter.
Saldana said he still does not consider the freezing of Nexus funds an issue of free speech.
“I didn’t think it was going to be this big,” Saldana said, referring to the statewide media coverage of the issue. “I still don’t see it as an issue of censorship. I still see it as a social justice issue.”
Saldana said he thought Goldschen should have discussed the situation with Leg Council members before using his power to veto.
“I feel really hurt. … that he would decide to go over the heads of the students,” Saldana said. “I definitely disagree with it and definitely don’t think it is what is right for the students.”