This past spring, the 2015 ASI student government elections made history when 33 candidates competing for 14 elected positions rallied 15.1 percent of the student body to vote. At the close of the elections on April 22nd, 14 students were elected as the 2015-2016 ASI Board of Directors. Throughout the summer months, the ASI Board has undergone transitions. For the purpose of complete transparency, the ASI Board of Directors decided to release a statement detailing these events that led to a different Board of Directors than the one that was elected at the close of the spring 2015 elections.
On April 29th, complaints were filed against five elected candidates (President, Vice President of University Affairs, Vice President of Academic Affairs, Director of Health and Human Services, and Director of Undeclared Students). In accordance with the ASI Elections Code, five separate fair hearings were scheduled by the Elections Complaint Committee to hear the allegations and the defense. At the conclusion of the elections complaint process, the Committee, which is made up of a Student Affairs designee, a Faculty Senate designee and three students, recommended disqualification of the five candidates due to violations of the Elections Code; however, since the elected Director of Health & Human Services decided to resign from her elected position before the onset of her complaint hearing, a vacancy was declared for this position. Per the ASI Election Code, the runner-up candidate filled this vacancy; but later in the summer resigned due to a change in her major.
Per the ASI Elections Code, “All decisions of the Elections Complaint Committee may be appealed to the Appellate Council.” The Appellate Council is also made up of a student affairs designee, a faculty senate designee and three students. Each of the four disqualified candidates brought forth their individual appeal to the Appellate Council. The Council conducted public meetings to review the four appeals and found the violations of the Elections Code to be “not very serious,” and without adequate merit to result in disqualification. Ultimately, the Council decided to overturn the Elections Complaint Committee decisions. The Appellate Council’s decisions publicly released on July 13th marked the closure of the ASI Elections process. Public documents related to the ASI Elections process may be found at http://www.asi.csus.edu/student-government/elections/.
On July 22nd, the ASI President and ASI Vice President of Academic Affairs chose to resign their positions on the ASI Board of Directors. Additionally, the Director of Undeclared Students-elect, who had declined to take her oath of office at the June 4th swearing-in ceremony, submitted a formal statement of withdrawal. According to the ASI Elections Code the runner-up candidate takes office, which placed Maria (Mia) Kagianas as the Director of Undeclared Students. Per the ASI Bylaws, the vacancy in the president’s position was filled by the sitting Executive Vice President. Therefore, Melissa Bardo assumed the roles and responsibilities of ASI President. The President, per the ASI Bylaws, was then charged with filling the vacancies in the Executive Vice President (EVP), Vice President of Academic Affairs (VPAA) and Director of Health and Human Services (HHS) positions.
Per the ASI Operating Rules, a public call for applications was posted for the vacancies. Any interested persons who submitted an application by the deadline were offered an interview. For the EVP interviews, the ASI President was joined by two advisors to the Board: Beth Lesen (University President’s Designee and voting member of the Board) and Leslie Davis (Director of Union/Well Inc.). The ASI President delegated the task of VPAA search to ASI Vice President of Finance, Schuyler Rathbun. He was joined by Reza Peigahi (Faculty Senate Designee and previous Faculty Senate Chair) for the applicants’ interviews. The ASI President independently interviewed the applicant for Director of Health & Human Services. On August 12th, the ASI Board of Directors approved Andrea Salas as Executive Vice President, Tucker Caruso as Vice President of Academic Affairs, and Abraham Mendoza III as Director of Health & Human Services. Each appointed member was chosen based on the merit of their interview and knowledge and preparedness to fulfill the responsibilities of their position. The Board also considered that Andrea Salas served as the 2014-2015 ASI EVP and Tucker Caruso was the runner-up for VPAA in the spring elections. The minutes for the August 12th board meeting are available online at http://www.asi.csus.edu/student-government/board-of-directors/board-meetings/.
The elections process, as well as the events following the closure of the elections process, were carried out in accordance with the ASI Bylaws and ASI Elections Code. Overall, the 2015-2016 ASI Board of Directors looks different than the one that was elected at the end of the spring semester. The current Board members are prepared to address the questions and possible concerns that students may present as the Fall Semester begins. Despite the extraordinary circumstances affecting the membership of the Board, they are committed to a positive and productive year. The ASI Board of Directors attended the annual ASI retreat mid-August and united under one common vision: to improve student lives on this campus. The Board is in the process of developing their annual strategic priorities and looks forward to sharing them with the campus community at the start of the semester.
The Board encourages members of the campus community to attend events during ASI Week (September 14th – 17th), which will provide opportunities for the student body to connect with board members. Events will include Billiards with the Board, The Food Pantry Grand Opening, and The Block Party. Students can learn more about these events at www.asi.csus.edu/asiweek.
If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me by phone (916) 278-7922 or by email at email@example.com.