[Correction 03/14/2024 5:11 p.m.]: This article previously stated that the allegations were against first pro-tempore Ephraim Shalunov and second pro-tempore Amelia Rowe. This article has been corrected to reflect that the allegations did not reference any pro-tempores by name.

Members of UC Santa Barbara’s Associated Students accused the Senate’s first and second president pro-tempores of misconduct and harassment within and outside of the association in a statement shared at the Senate’s March 6 meeting.

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. Bryce Hutchins / Daily Nexus

The statement alleged Senate pro-tempores of behavior violating the UCSB Student Code of Conduct, including harassment, intimidation and suppression of the voices of Senators and Associated Students (A.S.) members.

Off-Campus Senator Ephraim Shalunov serves as first pro-tempore, and Off-Campus Senator Amelia Rowe serves as second pro-tempore. Off-Campus Senator Eric Carlson served as second pro-tempore during Fall Quarter, before Rowe took over in Winter. Internal Vice President (IVP) Sohum Kalia chairs the 74th Senate.

The first pro-tempore chairs the Senate in the event the IVP office is vacant, chairs all Senate temporary internal committees regarding internal affairs and follows up on action items passed by the Senate to ensure business is done, according to A.S. Legal Code. The second pro-tempore assumes the first pro-tempore’s roles in the event of the first pro-tempore’s absence.

A.S. Executive Director Marisela Marquez said several of the reported allegations violate “UCSB Student Conduct policies, as well as local, state and federal laws,” and will be investigated by the appropriate A.S. and campus entities. Marquez did not respond for comment on what specific entities will conduct the investigation.

Various Senators, Boards Committees and Units (BCU) members and members of the general association put forth the allegations roughly 10 days prior to the March 6 meeting, according to Marquez.

“The individuals who brought these concerns do not feel safe in the Senate chambers, and they do not feel safe stating these grievances themselves due to the conduct of the Senate pro-tempores,” Marquez said.

Within A.S., the statement alleged public beratement of A.S members and senators to intimidate opposing opinions, abuse of Robert’s Rules of Orders to limit discussion on issues — especially those contrary to the pro-tempores — and pressuring senators not to send proxies when absent so agenda items are not challenged. 

Additionally, the statement alleged attempts to remove Senate members from their positions due to legislative voting and threats to inhibit A.S. members political career or block future legislation if they act contrary to the pro-tempores.

Outside of A.S., the statement alleged singling out individuals for “actions they have taken,” participating in social media doxxing, threatening violence against other students for expressing contrary views to the pro-tempores, attempting to block the appointment of individuals in the association due to personal or political bias, attempting to withhold or decrease funding from specific BCUs for politically motivated reasons and attempting to silence the speech of BCUs or their ability to affiliate with other campus organizations.

Furthermore, it alleged demonizing unspecified registered campus organizations on social media and launching “unsubstantiated” accusations against them, discriminating against any student on campus due to protected identities including race, ethnicity, gender and sexuality and using the position as an A.S. senate pro-tempore to coerce, intimidate, harass and discriminate against A.S. and campus members. 

A.S. Executive Director Marisela Marquez read out the statement at the Senate meeting, which was held online “in pursuit of creating a more trauma-informed environment for all to participate equally,” according to Kalia. 

“I try to the best of my ability to remain uninvolved in the activities of the Senate in order to respect the independence and integrity of the institution as a student-led space,” Marquez said. “However, the concerns I am about to address have a rise to a level of potential threat to student safety and well-being and I feel it is my legal and moral duty to make these concerns aware.”

First pro-tempore Shalunov denied the allegations and said he has received harassment for his role in the Senate in a statement to the Nexus.

I don’t know of any professional misconduct by any President Pro-Tempore,” the statement read. “As a result of my participation in campus life, I have been doxxed, harassed, and routinely personally targeted with violence and threats of violence. I am extremely disappointed in the university administration in failing to prevent any part of this, and for refusing to protect their students.”

Second pro-tempore Rowe declined to comment.

Off-Campus Senator and former second pro-tempore Carlson said he served as first pro-tempore throughout the summer and switched to second pro-tempore during the Fall Quarter due to a high academic workload.

“I try very hard to be as tolerant as possible of the variety of opinion in that room, and I know my peers will agree. Since I stepped down in Fall quarter, I haven’t been able to go to the meetings,” the statement read. “I think if you can find a way to incorporate everyone’s voice into the policies that shape our campus, I would consider that a successful step toward solid leadership.”

IVP Kalia said he and his office are not associated with the current pro-tempores in a statement to the Nexus, and that he will not be taking part in the investigation unless explicitly directed to do so by law enforcement and A.S. legal code. He did not elaborate on how the pro-tempores are able to control Senate without IVP intervention.

“Myself and the office of the Internal Vice President hold no current relation with the Pro-Tempore’s. Any actions conducted by a Pro-Tempore alone or in the name of my office do so without my knowledge or consent,” the statement read. “My office will take no part in the investigation or relating procedures in this case outside of what is mandated by legal code, and what is explicitly requested by appropriate authorities at this time.”

Shalunov and Rowe previously objected to IVP Kalia’s chairship at the Senate’s Feb. 28 meeting, citing his absence from several Senate meetings and failure to appoint internal positions in his office. Kalia denied the claims, and plans to serve as Senate chair through his term.

Following Marquez’s recitation of the allegations, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Margaret Klawunn shared resources students can access to report misconduct, such as the Student Advocate General’s office.

Klawunn said the Student Affairs office has received concerns similar to the allegations, and requests to intervene in A.S. operations, but said she will not do so as A.S. legal code provides stipulations to follow.

“I am sometimes asked to comment on or sanction the behavior of specific elected officials to remove individuals from their positions or to interfere with Association business. I do not and will not interfere in association business since this organization is student-led,” Klawunn said at the meeting. “Your legal code provides some very specific procedures to address these sorts of issues, to take actions within the association would be an overreach of my authority.”

“The great experiment that you are involved in is to be responsible for the leadership of this campus to represent the student body and to represent the best and highest ideals of our campus and I am really distressed to hear the kinds of reports of behavior that are coming forward this year,” Klawunn continued.

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


Sindhu Ananthavel
Sindhu Ananthavel (she/they) is the Lead News Editor for the 2023-24 school year. Previously, Ananthavel was the Deputy News Editor for the 2022-23 school year, the Community Outreach News Editor for the 2021-22 school year and an assistant news editor for the 2021-22 school year. She can be reached at news@dailynexus.com.