UC Santa Barbara Associated Students Off-Campus Senator and second president pro tempore Amelia Rowe objected to Internal Vice President Sohum Kalia’s chairship by raising a point of order at the Associated Students Senate’s Feb. 28 meeting.

Many Jewish students also attended the meeting to speak during public forum about the signage at the MultiCultural Center and campus antisemitism.

The Associated Students (A.S.) Internal Vice President (IVP) is responsible for chairing the A.S. Senate, serving as a representative of A.S. in all internal affairs and being a nonpartisan representative of all undergraduate students at the university, according to A.S. Legal Code.

Rowe, a second-year history of public policy and law and philosophy double major, alleged that Kalia has not fulfilled a number of his duties as the IVP of A.S., citing his absence from several Senate meetings and failure to appoint people to serve in his office.

Kalia, a fourth-year economics and philosophy double-major, announced his intention to yield his duty as chair of the Senate at the Jan. 24 Senate meeting. He has since returned as the chair and plans to chair meetings for the remainder of his term.

“Not only has he not been at Senate meetings, he hasn’t fulfilled the majority of his duties outlined in legal code,” Rowe said in an interview with the Nexus. “He hasn’t appointed anyone to his office, which is a huge part of how executives function.”

Kalia disputed Rowe’s claim that he has not appointed anyone, asserting that he appointed a chief compliance officer last spring, who has given several reports in front of the Senate. 

However, Kalia clarified that while he has appointed people to serve in key roles in his office, there are some positions that he has not filled because they do not align with his goals as IVP. For instance, he said that he has not appointed someone to serve as the director of legislative accountability —  a role that keeps track of duties that senators do not fulfill and reports them to the IVP — because the position does not align with his intention not to be an “anti-Senate IVP” and lead with a more a relaxed hand.

“How I run my office is up to me,” Kalia said. “It’s not really the place of another elected representative to tell an executive how to do their job or how they would prefer to do their job. The only person who can tell me how to do my job is myself and the student body.”

After about 2o minutes of discussion, Rowe rescinded her point of order. The conversation was not productive, according to Rowe.

Rowe said she went into the meeting knowing that Kalia would most likely continue to chair the meeting but raised the point of order to inform the student body of her grievances with Kalia on the record. 

“I knew we had an audience, and I knew it was being recorded. I really felt it was necessary to speak the truth on the record,” Rowe said. “I think this issue pertains to the entire student body and, as a student, knowing that my funds are going to someone who has done nothing is extremely upsetting.”

“IVP Kalia gets $10,000 in honoraria a year,” she continued. “The fact that he’s doing nothing to serve students or the Senate and has not appointed an office is why I think this is extremely important.”

First president pro tempore, Off-Campus Senator and second-year computer science major Ephraim Shalunov also called for Kalia’s resignation at the meeting.

“I think there’s a very simple resolution to this issue, which is that the Internal Vice President is under a moral and, in my belief, quite possibly a legal responsibility to resign,” Shalunov said at the meeting.

“The Internal Vice President has repeatedly lied, not just to the Senate, but to the student body. He has taken advantage of the Senate and student body and he has reaped the rewards in the form of $3,000 to his BARC account every quarter and $1,000 from the Senate. He has failed to meet the basic responsibilities as the Internal Vice President and it would only be wise for him to resign.”

Rowe echoed Shalunov’s sentiment, stating in an interview that Kalia resigning from his position is “the only way forward.”

Kalia said he does not intend to resign, and claimed that Shalunov and Rowe are calling for his resignation so “they can get a promotion.”

“I’m not going to resign because these two senators believe I should,” Kalia said. “I’m not going to resign because the person who would stand to gain from my resignation, like taking my office, says I should. Obviously, they’re going to want me to leave so that they can get a promotion.”

“In the case that I was not IVP or the chair, the first pro temp would become the IVP,” Kalia continued. “And given the personal inclination for them to do so, it’s more likely than not that they’re just kind of grasping at straws that fulfill their own agenda.”

Shalunov and Rowe rejected Kalia’s claims, maintaining that their calls for his resignation were due to him not executing his duties as IVP.

“Instead of addressing the fact that he hasn’t fulfilled almost any of his duties this entire year, he is grasping at any opportunity to discredit reality,” Rowe said in a statement. “Senator Shalunov and I ran, and were elected to be senators, and IVP Kalia’s lack of leadership has inhibited us, as well as the rest of the Senate, from rising to our fullest potential. There is no ulterior motive.”

Shalunov reiterated that he does not want Kalia’s job in a statement to the Nexus, and called him a “pathological liar” who has “repeatedly and constantly deceived almost every person he works with in A.S.”

“By refusing to chair Senate or even hire an IVP office, Sohum dragged me into most of the job of IVP without consent or pay and now has the audacity to claim I want his job. I do not,” Shalunov said in the statement. “I want him to resign and stop taking money for work he is not doing. Students deserve better.” 

The A.S. Senate convenes weekly on Wednesdays in the University Center Flying A Studios Room to pass legislation and discuss campus and student issues. 

The Nexus will continue to report on this topic as more information becomes available.

A version of this article appeared on p. 1 of the March 7, 2024, print edition of the Daily Nexus.


Alex Levin
Alex Levin (he/him) is the University News Editor for the 2023-24 school year. Previously, Levin was the Assistant News Editor for the 2022-2023 school year. He can be reached at alexlevin@dailynexus.com.