The UC Santa Barbara Associated Students Senate voted against holding a special recall election for Associated Students President Tessa Veksler following hours of discussion at the Senate’s April 10 meeting.

The Senate first voted to accept the petition and enter a period of discussion on whether or not to organize a special election for the recall. They then held an anonymous vote with 11 votes in favor, seven votes against and one abstention, falling short of the required two-thirds majority to hold a special recall election.

The Associated Students (A.S.) Elections Board released a petition on behalf of UCSB students Róisín Keogh and Isabella Kartal on March 17 to recall fourth-year political science and communication double major Veksler for “unprecedented levels of division and tension on campus” leading to a “rise in bullying, intimidation, and harassment of students,” according to a post from the Instagram account @recalltessaveksler. The petition garnered 844 signatures, which exceeded the necessary total for the Senate to consider the petition.

The meeting — scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. — was delayed nearly two hours due to email disagreement among senators over whether the meeting should take place in person or online via Zoom.

The meeting was ultimately called to session in a hybrid format at around 8:30 p.m., with most senators and many audience members present in Corwin Pavilion with a Zoom option available. The meeting relocated to the MultiCultural Center (MCC) at 11 p.m. after University staff closed Corwin Pavilion for the night.

Before voting, several UCSB students expressed their thoughts on the recall during public forum. Around 40 people attended the meeting.

First-year linguistics major Jacob Rosen spoke in opposition to the petition.

“I believe that anybody who supports recalling Tessa should seriously reconsider,” Rosen said. “While criticism of an elected official is important and calling out someone you disagree with is an important way to make change, I believe that this effort to recall Tessa comes not from a place improving UCSB, rather, from deeply rooted antisemitism among some members on this campus.”

Fifth-year sociology major Caela Erickson Imbrogno spoke in favor of the recall petition, bringing up Veksler’s alleged doxxing of students and MCC staff on Instagram through reposting the account @IsraelWarRoom.

Veksler’s alleged doxxing of students occurred after pro-Palestine student activists posted signage during a Feb. 26 gathering at the MCC — expressing pro-Palestine and anti-Zionist sentiment as well as dissent against Veksler and other university administration — which resulted in the temporary suspension the MCC, its services and its Instagram account. The MCC reopened to students on April 1.

“The recall petition for Tessa really has a lot more to do with the fact that she doxxed ten of her own constituents in response to feeling personally attacked, I think that is not representative of someone being a good civil servant,” Erickson Imbrogno said. “That’s what this recall petition is about for me personally, and that’s why I signed it. Tessa Veksler does not represent me.”

After public forum, Veksler addressed the senate, defending herself and denouncing the petition. 

“This petition is just a hate campaign,” Veksler said. “It is useless and predicated on lies. When you’re a mere two weeks away from electing new leadership for Associated Students, it should be more evident than ever before that this regal effort is an antisemitic attempt by character assassination, aimed to harm, alienate and persecute me as a Jewish student on this campus.”

In response to her doxxing allegations, Veksler clarified that the @IsraelWarRoom post she shared had the names of students covered, but acknowledged the harm that sharing the post had caused. She said that she deleted her post ten minutes after posting and that she was the one who contacted @IsraelWarRoom to take down its initial post.

When asked by a senator about what she has done in response to the harm caused by her post, Veksler said that “there’s nothing that can really be done.’”

“I have worked diligently with administration to try to figure out ways that we can prevent it in the future,” Veksler said. “I haven’t personally reached out to every single individual student, and maybe that’s something that I should have done. And it’s something that I’m still willing to do.”

After Veksler spoke, the two petition authors spoke to Veksler’s alleged lack of action surrounding Islamophobia and anti-Arab discrimination on campus and failing to assuage increased polarization among the student body. They also referenced Veksler’s uninvolvement with all A.S. commissions as grounds for impeachment.

Fourth-year political science and communication major and A.S. Attorney General Jessica Hellman advised the Senate on the validity of the petition based on the rules laid out within the A.S. Constitution. She said the Constitution prohibits discrimination based on both religious and political beliefs and urged the Senate to consider whether or not Veksler’s Zionist beliefs would constitute grounds for a recall election.

“For many, Zionism falls more closely along the lines of political belief or ideology rather than any religious or ethnic identity. However, even in the case that Zionism is interpreted as purely a political stance, the A.S. Constitution also protects President Veksler from being harassed or discriminated against on the basis of her political affiliations,” Hellman said.

The Senate then moved into a period of discussion before voting on the petition.

Fourth-year political science major and Off-Campus Senator Jeffrey Adler addressed the Senate, asking them to remember their positions as representatives of student voices and vote not based on their personal beliefs, but rather to give the student body the opportunity to make their own decision.

“We are a mechanism to let the student voice be heard,” Adler said. “We represent students, that’s our job. And despite what you may think, voting yes to approve this recall, it’s not saying that I disagree with Tessa’s leadership … it’s fundamentally a choice. Do we, the 15 people in this room, feel like we know better than the 30,000 students that we’re elected to represent?” 

Senators Alvin Wang, Micah Littlepage, Eric Carlson and Nayali Broadway voiced similar sentiments.

Second-year computer science major, Off-Campus Senator and First President pro-tempore Ephraim Shalunov advocated for Veksler, stating that her personal views should not affect her position as an A.S. executive.

“Of course people hold views that are questionable, objectionable and controversial. That’s fine. The question is whether President Veksler has intentionally caused harm or has violated any part of her legal obligation, and that’s categorically not true,” Shalunov said.

Shalunov stated the only legitimate grievance against Veksler was the alleged accidental doxxing. He claimed the incident was a mistake that was rectified and should not be held against Veksler.

“The only instance in which I heard that President Veksler has been accused of a specific act of misconduct is in calling out the doxxing of people improperly, and 10 minutes later reverting to a different way of calling out that doxxing,” Shalunov said.

“I think if that is the standard to which we are holding our elected officials, then every single one of us should be recalled, because I assure you that we all have done much worse,” he continued.

Senators Michelle Lebowski, Coleton Cristiani and MingJun Zha, as well as Internal Vice President Sohum Kalia, also spoke against the petition.

After the conclusion of Senate discussion, the group voted on whether to take a public vote on the petition for transparency and accountability reasons, or a secret vote to protect the safety of the Senators. 

The Senate decided on a secret vote which concluded at around 12:50 a.m.

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


Anushka Ghosh Dastidar
Anushka Ghosh Dastidar (she/her) is the Lead News Editor for the 2024-25 school year. Previously, Ghosh Dastidar was the Community Outreach News Editor for the 2023-24 school year and the Assistant News Editor for the 2022-2023 school year. She can be reached at or
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