Jul 09, 2020
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Student Court recommends to disqualify ASI president-elect

ASI president-elect Ruby V. Muñiz received a recommendation of disqualification following the student court ruling that she violated Associated Student Inc.’s (ASI) code of ethics as well as their code of conduct.

The student court made its recommendations on two complaints that were filed against Muñiz concerning her election. 

The first complaint came from the Students for Life club, alleging that Muñiz falsely stated she created the expectant mother parking and didn’t provide credit to the Pro-Life Future and Students for Life clubs. 

The court found that Muñiz was in violation of the ASI Policies governing morals and ethics, specifically Section 2.2, Behavioral Standards and Values that states that representatives must keep commitments, value fairness and only take credit for work they have done and acknowledge those that assist.

The second complaint was issued by her opponents in the presidential election, Naila Estrada and Elizabeth Rocha Zuñiga, who accused Muñiz of using unethical and illegal tactics under the ASI Policies and Bylaws and the Student Code of Conduct in order to gain votes in the election. 

The court voted 4 to 1 in favor of Estrada and Zuñiga stating that Muñiz was in violation of not adhering to behavioral standards for being dishonest in her stated intentions of using gift cards and not disclosing the incentive would be used for her to gain votes for herself individually. 

In both cases the court recommended that Muñiz be disqualified for violating the ASI policies. The court also recommended amendments to ASI Policy IX to explicitly address a candidate’s postings and/or messages on social media as campaign materials and the need for prior ASI approval and to set limits on the amount a candidate can spend and/or receive in donations related to campaigning in order to maintain fairness and equality in ASI elections.

According to chief justice Fidel Moreno-Meza, any decision regarding the elections can be appealed by Muñiz but if it is not appealed then it will stand as a disqualification and the ASI presidential line of succession will apply. 

The line of succession would move the elected executive vice president to be in line to become president, but if they turn down the offer any senator at large will be able to be nominated and the senate would then take a vote. If none of the senators at large want it, it will go to a special election in the fall. 

The executive vice president is usually voted in at the first ASI meeting of the semester by the senate. 

If Muñiz does choose to appeal the appeal is presented to the university president, Dr. Joseph I. Castro. If the decision is granted in her favor, the student body can then request a recall election. 

If a recall election were to take place, a recall petition must be signed by 10 percent of the currently-enrolled students who would be eligible to vote on the elected official’s position if an election were to be held.

Bernadette Tasy, president of Fresno Pro-Life Future, said that she hopes this shows other ASI candidates how to present themselves in the future. 

“My hope is that this outcome encourages future ASI candidates and the whole of the student body to always present themselves honestly,” Tasy said. “Our student representatives now are a reflection of our country’s future leaders, and those exhibiting integrity hold promise for our community.”

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