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Thursday, April 15, 2004
* Developments *
The charges made in the LaFata v. Cal-SERVE suit are public. There are only four charges here, though in defense of my credibility, three counts are rolled into Charge 2. Cliff’s Notes:
(note: all quotations from the charge sheet)
Charge 1: “…the expenditure of ASUC funds through the agent of Boalt Hall Students Association…” Penalty: Party disqualification.
As Holohan mentioned in the previous message board, the BHSA did endorse CalSERVE’s slate in its entirety, despite the candidacy of other Boalt students. There is some shady area as to if an ASUC-funded group can endorse candidates. Cal Patriot and the Daily Cal can endorse candidates without fear because of their independence from the ASUC. However, the BHSA has no such luxuries.
I’m not quite sure how I feel about this charge. It seems somewhat nit-picky, and in the future, it would restrict the voice of student publications in the future, something I am not fond of. It is also to be seen if there is more to this charge than meets the eye, or if CalSERVE is more involved than it appears.
Charge 2: Three counts of “…violating 126.96.36.199, which prohibits the use of ‘ASUC authority, facilities, funds, or resources, including Eshleman Hall, for campaign purposes, including for long term or bulk storage of campaign materials.’ ” Penalty: Party disqualification.
Kudos to LaFata for mentioning Schulman vs. Yang in this section. Once again, Schulman has made his presence felt on campus. The first count of the charge involves the SJP rally, and CalSERVE’s involvement in it. The legal basis is that since SJP is an ASUC-sponsored and funded group, and since CalSERVE actively advocated their party during their participation in the rally, the ASUC was misled to endorse CalSERVE in a sponsored event.
Personally, I was quite disgusted by the participation of CalSERVE and DAAP (not cited in the lawsuit) in the rally. They dropped the integrity of the rally and of themselves down a notch. I was in attendance at this rally to report, and I have to say I think LaFata has them down on this one. Why would CalSERVE risk a party disqualification on such a low-key event? It shows poor planning.
The second count of the charge has to do with VP Joshi’s email signature… apparently she has been mincing CalSERVE slogans and her ASUC title (without declaring it for ID purposes only) on her email signature. These emails have been sent all over campus. Once again, I think this count is a little too detail-based, but LaFata mentions a history of abuse throughout the year, and it will be interesting to see how this particular count turns out.
The third count of the charge refers back to the first charge and the BHSA publication including advocacy for CalSERVE. This count requires some attention because it is accompanied by a request to subpoena the GA financial records for the last year. This is very interesting, considering GA’s historical preference to keep their records as disclosed as possible and the events of the past year.
Charge 3 goes back to SJP rally, where the claim is made that the rally severely impeded traffic, and that the wall built in the middle of the road shows malicious intent. Penalty: 2 or 3 censures, depending on if malicious intent is established.
The rally did block traffic, and CalSERVE did actively participate in the rally while campaigning, so I think this is an easily won charge for LaFata. It’s small change though, relative to the other three charges. I think this is just a fallback for him, to make sure he gets something out of this deal.
I’m kind of disappointed in the state of LaFata’s charge sheet. There were many typos and misdated events, including the April 9 SJP rally (cited as April 12). It seemed very rushed and not well reviewed. In addition, I know LaFata is pretty scrupulous with his lawsuits (considering his perfect record with Judicial Council), but I don’t know how some of the more detail-based charges will play. I still think the motions regarding the SJP rally are solid, though.
The SA party is still considering making more motions. There is evidence of several counts of CalSERVE violating amplified noise rules, party representatives leaving stacks of CalSERVE fliers at SM desks in dorms, and allegations of an illegal Rally Committee email are surfacing.
CalSERVE has been strangely tight-lipped regarding their dirt on SA, and I think they may have been surprised they were filed against so early. One member of the party bureaucracy mentioned to me offhand a few nights ago, “They wouldn’t file unless they were scared of us.” However, it seems like if they didn’t file, SA would be shooting themselves in the foot. There’s just too much good dirt on CalSERVE, and honestly, I don’t think they have anything half as substantial to fire back at SA. However, party leaders have been scheming, and some sort of retaliation is inevitable. More when this develops further.
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