The Associated Students Judicial Council reaffirmed their decision to remove a council member from office during last night’s six-and-a-half-hour long A.S. Legislative Council meeting.
According to the A.S. Legal Code, all Legislative Council members must live among their constituents during their elected year. The A.S. Judicial Council ruled that Off-campus Representative Darshan Grover broke this requirement when he moved to San Clemente Housing — considered university-owned off-campus housing — during Winter Quarter.
A.S. Judicial Council Chair Cerita Bickelmann said council members cannot possibly represent the student body when living in “cushy” university-owned student housing.
“Someone living in university-owned housing does not face the same concerns as those living in I.V., Elwood, Goleta, downtown,” Bickelmann said. “[This] compromises the constituents we’re representing and the entire representation of what it means to literally have that off-campus position.”
Additionally, council member Narain Kumar said the council does not have the authority to override a judicial decision, especially when the verdict is in accordance with A.S. bylaws.
“The issue is that we’re either going to follow the rules or not follow the rules,” Kumar said. “The rules are that you have to live among the people you’re representing.”
Grover, on the other hand, said the subject for debate is not the constitutionality of living at San Clemente, but whether Judicial Council has the authority to remove a council member.
“I’m more than happy to resign if that’s what the board decides is best,” Grover said. “My only concern is that it doesn’t open up legal loopholes in the future that become problematic in one form or another … that we maintain our checks and balances.”
However, Bickelmann said Judicial Council was created in the first place to uphold the system of checks and balances, not to challenge its practice.
“Judicial Council has been created to protect the specificities of the Legal Code, to provide that check for the branches that are not as well versed in the Legal Code,” Bickelmann said. “We don’t operate under loopholes, we operate under the Legal Code.”