During the third week of UC Santa Barbara Internal Vice President Bee Schaefer’s strike against Associated Students, Senator Sohum Kalia — who is representing the Senate’s Internal Affairs Committee — filed a Judicial Council case against Schaefer.
Earlier in the quarter, several members of Associated Students (A.S.) — including A.S. executives — said Schaefer did not perform certain duties of her office, including failing to appoint necessary Senate positions and communicate with A.S. members over the summer.
Schaefer spoke at the Black Student Union’s Oct. 25 town hall and on the KCSB radio program Black Girl Magic on Oct. 27 about anti-blackness and racism she faces in the A.S. space, which instigated her strike against the association.
“A.S. has historically silenced minority voices and opinions and participated in systematic erasure and denial of rights,” Schaefer said during the KCSB show. “I’ve honestly been experiencing discrimination since I first walked into the space.”
Because of the strike, Schaefer has refused to call the Senate to session since Oct. 12 but is hosting Zoom webinars to address Senate functions.
The Senate’s Internal Affairs Committee (IAC) — which is composed of five senators and three outside members of A.S. — unanimously voted to begin a Judicial Council case against Schaefer because of her strike, Kalia said.
A petition, filed by Kalia on behalf of the IAC, alleges that Schaefer’s strike violates her job description per legal code and that an email vote she sent out to maintain the Senate’s functions while the strike continued was invalid, containing a “concerning amount” of legal code violations.
“On 11/19/22 ASUCSB Internal Vice President Schaefer refused to call a senate meeting to order, beginning their protest and refusal to complete their duties until their demands have been met,” the petition read. “This case will establish the duties of the [Internal Vice President] IVP as encoded by the ASUCSB Constitution, legal code, standing policies, and Roberts Rules of Order; and this case will subsequently prove their continued and willful violation.”
The A.S. Judicial Council did not immediately respond to request for comment regarding the status of the petition or if any other petitions against, or by, Schaefer were currently active.
Regarding allegations of negligence, Schaefer maintained that she is fulfilling her commitment to the position. She added that she and other executives are “kept in the dark” regarding the distribution of student fees, and that many fiduciary responsibilities are out of her control.
Though Senate did not convene during the summer, Schaefer said she reached out to senators to ask if they were going to engage in any summer work, and did not receive any reply.
In an Oct. 21 statement, A.S. President Gurleen Pabla said that she and many other individuals received little communication from Schaefer over the summer.
“Many individuals, including myself, attempted to reach the Internal Vice President in the summer and were, for the most part, unable to receive adequate response,” Pabla said.
Schaefer said she herself engaged in summer work in creating an A.S. resource guidebook and planning programming such as “power events that uplift marginalized STEM organizations.”
Schaefer’s primary demands are that her Judicial Council case is heard, and that A.S. Executive Administration provides information on check disbursement and “why there were delays this summer with Honoraria.”
Schaefer filed a Judicial Council case in response to the allegations against her, citing anti-Blackness and discrimination, and was denied after being told it was out of the council’s domain, she said during the strike’s inception on Oct. 19.
Although Schaefer did not respond to Nexus request for comment regarding the alleged violations, she has maintained throughout the strike that she is invoking her right to peacefully protest A.S. per the UCSB student bill of rights.
The petition claims that the missed Senate meetings violate the A.S. constitution and standing policies, which state that the Senate should meet at least once every week and that the IVP should serve as the presiding officer of the Senate. Additionally, the petition alleges that the standing policy that phone votes should only be used in specific circumstances was violated.
The petitioners are seeking a deduction from Schaefer’s honoraria and final warning probationary status against her, which would include stipulations for removal from her position if violations persist.