Judicial Council unanimously voted to remove On-Campus Senator Yasamin Salari from her position on the 69th Senate on the grounds that she violated the eligibility portion of legal code by not living amongst her constituents, as stated in an opinion released Tuesday afternoon.
Salari, a second-year political science major, admitted to living off campus during a Senate meeting in Fall Quarter 2018. Former Campus United party chair Katie Mukai then filed a petition against Salari on Jan. 29, arguing that Salari should be removed from her position.
The council heard arguments in Katie Mukai v. Yasamin Salari on Feb. 20, with Mukai named as the petitioner and Salari as the respondent.
Tuesday’s opinion rules in favor of Mukai.
“The Respondent’s place of residence constitutes a breach of the Associated Students Legal Code,” the council wrote in a statement released Tuesday afternoon.
“The Judicial Council determines that the Respondent is not eligible for the position of On-Campus Senator and finds that the Respondent cannot continue in office as On-Campus Senator in the 69th Senate.”
As stated in Associated Students (A.S.) By-Laws Article III §1(B)(4), seen on page 21 of the most recent version of the legal code, all Senators are required to live amongst their constituents during the fall, winter and spring quarters of their terms.
Salari’s representation during her trial – former Off-Campus Senator for the 68th Senate Alexandra Gessesse – argued that Salari’s living arrangement did not inhibit her ability to represent her on-campus constituents.
However, the council found that Salari’s “quality of work as a Senator did not pertain to the question of eligibility.”
Following Salari’s initial admission, the A.S. Senate granted her a one-time exception. During the trial, Gessesse pointed to incidents in the past when Senates granted one-time exceptions to senators who lived out of their respective constituencies.
However, the council invalidated Senate’s ability to do so in Tuesday’s opinion, stating that while Senate has the power to make changes to legal code, they “are not allowed to circumvent the breach of legal code through special exceptions.”
“The Legal Code of the Associated Students is the foremost authority on Associated Students rules and regulations and cannot be superseded by Senate motions and resolutions,” the council wrote in the statement.
“The Students of UCSB are entitled to representation by individuals living among them. Allowing a one-time exception to the eligibility requirements for these representative positions undermines this principle and is harmful towards the constituents’ needs.”
Salari will be allowed to keep her Fall Quarter 2018 honoraria, and can apply for her Winter Quarter 2019 honoraria.
The next runner up to take her place is second-year history of public policy major Eric Moon, according to Spring Quarter 2018 Election results.
It is unknown at this time if or when Salari’s seat will be filled. The individual to take her place will only serve for a little more than two months before the Spring Quarter 2019 elections.
Evelyn Spence is the county news editor of the Daily Nexus and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.