A dispute over a resolution supporting an environmental general education requirement took the stage at the Associated Students Judicial Council hearing yesterday in the case of Lambright v. Jackson.
Michael Lambright, a second-year philosophy major and A.S. election candidate, contended that A.S. Internal Vice President Matt Jackson violated the A.S. Legal Code in his classification of the GE resolution, which received 12 votes in favor and nine against at the Feb. 13 A.S. Legislative Council meeting.
While Jackson declared the bill to have passed at that meeting, Lambright alleges that the classification Jackson used was incorrect and thus permitted the passage of the resolution with a majority, as opposed to two-thirds vote. Lambright is seeking for Judicial Council to overturn the IVP’s classification as well as the ruling that the resolution passed.
The Judicial Council will deliver a decision within seven days.
The bill in question states that the Leg Council “strongly supports the student-initiated proposal to establish an Environmental General Education Requirement… [and] supports the efforts of Associated Students Environmental Affairs Board to gather further student support.”
Jackson deemed the legislation a “directional resolution,” which is considered in the Legal Code to be any bill that directs members of A.S. to specific duties and which requires a majority vote to pass.
Lambright’s case declares that the resolution should have been an “Academic Position Paper,” which the Legal Code defines as a resolution that makes a recommendation to the Academic Senate, UCSB’s faculty advisory body, and requires a two-thirds vote to pass.
“My interpretation in this is just [that the legislation] is to help boost student support of this movement,” Jackson said. “There is no direct mention of the Academic Senate.”
However, Lambright disagreed with Jackson’s distinction, stating that any approval of a GE would have to take place in the Academic Senate.
In the Legal Code, it is the IVP’s duty to determine the bill type and, additionally, to accomplish this task prior to its placement on the agenda. Each bill has a space to declare the bill type and the number of votes required for passage.
Jackson’s designation was not stated on the bill distributed to the council, and only when a member inquired about the classification did Jackson announce it.
While Lambright said Jackson waited until after the item was up for vote to state the classification, Jackson said he had determined it earlier on his own and simply had no venue to display the information.
“I don’t have anywhere to make it public,” Jackson said. “And [the Legal Code] doesn’t require it to become a public statement.”
Lambright said he did not agree with Jackson’s interpretation of the Legal Code.
“This is a vague concept of the chair’s discretion at classifying bills,” Lambright said. “It seems to me that the classification is on the bill proposal form and that the Legal Code asks that it be classified by time of the agenda at a Leg Council meeting.”
However, Jackson said it is very difficult for the rules detailed in the Legal Code to be followed exactly in practice. For example, the Legal Code states the agenda must be posted each Monday before a meeting, while Jackson said this has not been done consistently in previous years.
“The procedures leading up to the meetings have, in the past, not been followed up to the dot,” Jackson said.
Meanwhile, Narain Kumar, an A.S. On-Campus Rep and witness for the petitioner, said that at the February meeting, Jackson ignored members’ protests to the claim of the resolution’s passage.
“In all cases my personal objections and the objections of other people were swept aside by the chair [Jackson],” Kumar said.
However, Jackson said wrapping up the discussion following the vote was a matter of moving the meeting at a quicker pace.
“I wasn’t trying to silence [the members],” Jackson said. “I was just trying to get on to the next discussion item. [Bringing the issue] up for discussion was a right each of them had.”