The Associated Student Inc. (ASI) Senate approved the student court recommendation of disqualifying current ASI senator for diversity, equity and inclusion and president-elect Ruby Muñiz from the presidential election during a special meeting on Wednesday, April 15.
On April 9, the student court ruled that Muñiz had violated the ASI code of ethics as she promised gift cards in exchange for proof of votes in her favor. The court ruled she also violated its code of conduct for falsifying her involvement in the creation of the expectant mother parking program.
The senate approved the recommendations of the court that Muñiz should be disqualified for those violations.
The reasoning for the impromptu special meeting was because the 21-day time frame of when election results will be finalized following the end of an election will be April 16, and there needed to be a discussion and motion on whether the senate should pause Article IX section 9.6, which states, “An election shall be considered closed and the results final twenty-one (21) days after the preliminary results have been posted.”
Executive Vice President Hisham Qutob said that the reasoning for the pausing or tolling of Article IX section 9.6 was to allow ASI to establish what should happen next and how to set up a time frame, as well prepare for an appeal process should there be one filed.
Senator for Clubs and Organizations Andrew Skidmore motioned to toll the 21-day period, and the senate approved the toll.
The final action of the meeting was on the setting of a deadline for Muñiz to appeal the decision, and Skidmore once again motioned for an approval.
He suggested that the deadline for an appeal to be submitted would be set at 5 p.m. on Monday, April 20, which would allow Muñiz five days to appeal the student court’s decision. The senate approved the motion.
Any decision regarding the elections can be appealed by Muñiz. If she chooses to appeal, it will be presented to the university president, Dr. Joseph I. Castro, but if there is not an appeal then her disqualification will stand.
According to Senator for Athletics and Recreation Fidel Moreno-Meza, two results can occur from an appeal.
If an appeal is overturned by Castro, Muñiz will be allowed to take the presidency. However, if the appeal is submitted and Castro sides with the student court, Muñiz will be disqualified.
Moreno-Meza also stated that if Muñiz is disqualified, her votes will be nullified and at that point the senate has the power to decide whether it would like to have the runner-up of the election become president or to have a new election for president between candidates Elizabeth Rocha-Zuñiga and Nailia Estrada.
It was originally thought that the ASI presidential line of succession would apply if there were to be a disqualification and the executive vice president would take office if that person chose to do so, but Qutob stated that because there isn’t a specific line of succession and the president-elect hasn’t taken office, the line of succession policy won’t apply.
Muñiz would be barred from running if a new election were to take place.
ASI will reconvene at a later date to discuss the next course of action following the April 20 appeal deadline because the agenda was limited to the three action items up for discussion and approval.
A regularly scheduled ASI meeting will take place on April 22 at 4 p.m.