Associated Students On-Campus Representative Joseph Lee was released from Santa Barbara County Jail on $20,000 bail on Sunday after being arrested in connection with a stolen laptop.
Lee, a second-year political science major, was incarcerated for five days on charges of felony burglary, unauthorized altering of computer data system, receiving stolen property and grand theft after his arrest on April 27. Lee was recently re-elected to serve on Legislative Council as a Representative-at-Large with Open People’s Party and faces arraignment today.
According to A.S. Legal Code, Legislative Council members may receive up to $600 per quarter in honorarium — a salary funded through student fees.
UC Police Department Public Information Office Matt Bowman said the laptop was stolen from Santa Catalina residence hall on April 19.
“[Lee] put himself in a position that many UCSB students could find themselves in: You’re needing a laptop and don’t have the means of picking one up quickly enough to satisfy an academic need, so he made a choice to take somebody else’s laptop and that’s a significant crime,” Bowman said. “This is an example where through police work and investigation, we were able to identify Mr. Lee, interview him and learn more about the techniques that he used.”
Student Advocate General and OPP President-Elect Harrison Weber, a third-year history of public policy major, said Lee’s arrest came as a shock to his fellow student government officials.
“Those in our party — even those who knew him extremely well — were completely blown away,” Weber said. “We had absolutely no inclination that he was even capable of this, let alone actually did something like this. Again, we don’t know what he did, but those folks that I’ve talked to that are even better friends with him than I am say that he fucked up, and they have no idea what the hell he was thinking.”
According to his campaign platforms posted on the Associated Students Spring Elections website, Lee vowed to “do my absolute best to make YOUR PROBLEMS, MY PROBLEMS, and insist upon ACCOUNTABILITY and HONESTY to YOUR student government.”
Weber said while Lee never seemed fiscally untrustworthy, his position in the association did not grant him any access to the party’s funds.
“Insofar as it’s connected to our party, the execs are the ones that handle the finances … [Lee] never sapped our money nor gave any indication at any point in the campaign that he was capable of doing something like this,” Weber said.
Weber said he encouraged Lee to come forward and explain the situation to his constituents regardless of whether he is indicted at today’s arraignment.
“Any time you’re caught in a situation like that, whether it’s a complete misunderstanding or you’re guilty as sin, letting students know what’s going on is the chief concern that any elected person should have.”
Weber said he hopes the incident will not detract from OPP’s measures to promote a more transparent student government, exemplified in today’s transitional forum at 5 p.m. in the MultiCultural Center Lounge which is meant to serve as an open channel for students’ concerns about the association.
“As an elected official, you’re on duty 24/7 to be representing your school and the association,” Weber said. “I really hope this situation doesn’t derail the efforts we’re making to really connect with the students who genuinely feel like this government will not represent them. We want to know what we can do — what we can focus on.”
“do my absolute best to make YOUR PROBLEMS, MY PROBLEMS, and insist upon ACCOUNTABILITY and HONESTY to YOUR student government.”
Why am I not surprised? This is our elected representative. He got re-elected for office again. Great job UCSB!
I don’t understand why this article is twisted this way. Are you kidding me? Why aren’t STUDENTS interviewed? Students like me who are working my butt off to stay in school and whose money is paying for someone like this guy to sit on AS!!! And I am sorry but OPP is not running the forum today and are you kidding me why isn’t there a connection made with someone who ran with that political party?? Now all of a sudden OPP is like oh he isnt trustworthy?! I AM ANGRY
AS and OPP don’t really give a shit about the students who pay their salaries. They mostly run around inquiring loudly if U down with OPP.
AS is really large. And a shitload of committees do HELLA in AS. Like Program Board who puts on everything, EAB, BIKES, SCORE, Womyn’s Comm, Q Comm…THE BCCs IS WHERE ITS AT!! But it seems there is a serious disconnect between Legislative Council and the student body
Yes. I’d say a large majority of the student body don’t even know that AS is composed of 30 or so committees. Definitely a disconnect. I know AS does a lot of good work, but OPP does stupid shit and it makes all of AS since AS is basically OPP to most of the students.
edit: …all of AS look bad since…
Ya well OPP has had a monopoly over the campus for years! The Nexus is always talking about how AS sucks but they endorse the same people year after year
I never really thought about that…
Joe Lee was never endorsed by the Nexus
And sorry the Nexus endorses people who are qualified.
That’s debatable. This year’s endorsements were not for the most qualified candidates. While they didn’t publicly slaughter anyone’s names as they have in the past, they definitely did not endorse the people who were qualified.
Amen. Marge Amen.
not only that, but some of the people “endorsed” had no more than a paragraph, so i feel like there wasnt that much endorsement behind them
This kid is a joke. “[Lee] put himself in a position that many UCSB students could find themselves in,” yeah right, there are multiple computers all over campus as his disposal especially living in the dorms. Owning a laptop is unnecessary to complete school work but it is convenient. Im not surprised this kid is backed by OPP.
I dont know. I voted for him… but I guess I should have read up.
“Weber said while Lee never seemed fiscally untrustworthy, his position in the association did not grant him any access to the party’s funds.”
This article is misinformation.
He perhaps never had acces to the PARTY funds.
But in the Association as a Legislative Council member does he not have last say on the huge bucks AS has got? Isn’t Leg Council approve all the money given out?
That’s called finance board. YOU are mis-informative.
Legislative Council has the power to open up Fiance Board’s minutes. Just to clarify. So actually Legislative Council has the last say.
yes, legislative council has the final say on all financial matters, from finance board to the groups in AS that give money. so he has financial powers within AS
Joe Lee’s actions are not a reflection of his party or of Associated Students. To be honest, he is just a student like all of us, and students, whether they are involved in AS or not, are all doing shady things. The fact that he is involved in AS and that he got caught, is the reason why this situation is being blown out of proportion. Because we all know that if this person was not so passionately involved in this university, that no one would give a fuck.
“if this person was not so passionately involved in this university” … read up. position does not equate to passion
Joe Lee was very heavily involved in the University so maybe you should do some “reading up” before you pass any judgment on him and his passion.
Maybe it wasn’t the best thing for him to be so involved.
He Stole from fellow Gaucho’s!!! I will pass judgement!!!!
As a member of AS you are called to, must accept, and are held to a higher standard. When you represent all of campus and make decisions that impact the student body, yes you are held to a higher standard. As to the ” [his] actions are not a reflection of his party” i would tell you to just ask the rest of campus or the read this forum. Im not alone in feeling that whilst he may have acted individually AS is not an organization that can be trusted and it does not come as a surprise to me.
Exactly. The parties show off a face that all of the members are the best of friends working together to better the system: The accomplishment of one is a win for the whole party. Yet when a party member does something bad like this, the party suddenly doesn’t want to take responsibility.
This does suck. But you are right it is only being blown up because of his position.
But I think it is true to say students are tired of reading articles like this about their elected representatives. Can I remind you all of the Hotel Drinking fiasco of last year?
and the fact that the hotel drinking fiasco was all OPP that year. glad to see repeated offenses by the same recycled people.
Legislative Council reps approve the FINAL and ENTIRE A.S. Budget… They are considered to be more powerful than finance board members. So yes, this is a big fucking deal!
Why is this entire article one interview with the President Elect about how this is not connected to OPP?
I think he is an individual and we should not make generalizations about AS.
Where aren’t students interviewed though?
Let’s be real these folks have been doing dirty things like this all the time. That’s y I was not surprised when I heard that he was an opp member. I immagen that if lee was doing these type of things, what might the party that he was running with might have been doing. Ps. Opp exposed about fucken time.
AS does a lot of AMAZING work. One individual’s actions are in no way a reflection of the Association. We all want a more transparent and accessible AS. It is our fees.
Its interesting that AS is pushing for such transparency yet are one of the most untrusted groups on campus.
wait, grand theft AND felony burglary? ummm that sounds like more than a laptop to me. and “unauthorized altering of computer data system”?! wtf is that? sounds super sketchy to me. like, what kind of system? isn’t elections a computer system? i mean, i’ve been on campus for a while and I’ve heard that OPP has done some sketchy things with computers and voting, so i wonder if this lee person would actually go that far? this OPP stuff has got to stop. i’m NOT down with OPP, or how sketchy they are
Why don’t they just call it the woman’s center. It sounds the same.
Stole a laptop? There’s valuable intel on there. Give him a break, he just wants to be a Navy SEAL when he grows up.
This has nothing to do with the party OPP. First off Joe Lee is on council now and ran with BOSS last year and won his position with his affiliation with BOSS. In addition this action has to do with Joe Lee as a person please don’t be fooled by these “political parties”. If you look at their platform they pretty much all run on the same general platform. The parties are just around so people can have a larger access to funds and support during elections. A lot of these candidates who ran on the parties just needed a… Read more »
Parties, Parties, Parties! STOP defending your party, no one truly cares about political parties at this school (they just vote in the popularity contest). Check your facts and STOP calling out parties; GROW up. Acknowledge the people who actually do stuff for our community. Also, I do NOT appreciate or trust some student who was released on a 20,000 bailout to be making decisions for this school…this is disgusting. I understand, people make mistakes but I’m sure 5 days will not do. Joe Lee is a person, better yet an elected representative for this school…he should’ve thought twice about his… Read more »
I think this kid should honestly resign. Congrats to him for being the Richard Nixon of UCSB.
“do my absolute best to make YOUR LAPTOP, MY LAPTOP”
I am the parent of the student whose laptop was stolen & erased and I am furious that this kid has not been kicked out of UCSB. He is a THEIF! He does not care about you or anyone else. He is a CRIMINAL. It’s time to have some personal standards, and know the difference between right and wrong. It is that simple. DO THE RIGHT THING!
Actually, he’s a thief.
Hi Josh,Thanks for adding. Your site is added as well.