Administration allegedly intervened in elections

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Vincent Ta/HIGHLANDER

The new ASUCR elected senate held a public meeting regarding the appointment of the vice president of finance and president pro-tempore, with the votes being made through a closed ballot. In addition, issues regarding alleged biases toward candidates were brought forward by current Vice President of External Affairs Abraham Galvan.

During the meeting, the appointment of the elections director was postponed by a vote of 10-1-3 in order to allow more appointees to be presented to the senate. With the passing of a constitutional amendment this year, the elections director and vice president of finance candidates must be selected by the judicial branch before their approval by the senate.

Tye Rush, despite being the only candidate to attend, stated, “what (the senate) wants is what the people want, so if they vote to postpone it I’m not mad about it.”Elected Executive Vice President Armando Saldana stated that the meeting will take place on Tuesday June 2, at 7:10 p.m.

Vice President of Finance candidates Shafi Karim, a former finance committee chair, and Nilan Gunewardena, who ran with [YOU]CR, presented first, with Karim being appointed to the position by a vote of 10-4-0.

Karim’s goals include creating a “good idea grant,” which will fund individual students projects and events from ASUCR’s student organization budget and pushing for an initiative to allow students with gold permits to park in any UCR parking lot during finals week. In regards to his position, Karim stated, “I’m very excited to be placed in this position and make a positive impact on UCR.”

However, the appointment did not go without controversy, as Galvan made allegations that Karim was offered the position by members of the [OUR]Voice party, ”Already we’re seeing how this senate is acting, we have people that are on the horseshoe that are engaged in illegal activities within the ASUCR office … I know that somebody in the room was specifically offered a position in order to help a party and that person is Shafi Karim for vice president of finance.”

Galvan then asked the candidates whether they were offered the position, to which they both denied. Despite these criticisms, Karim asserted that the judicial branch took an important role in assuring that the process was not politicized. “Going through judicial did make it much less political, which I really liked. I think Nilan is a great opponent and I think he could’ve been a great VP of finance.”

Corey Willis was appointed as president pro-tempore by a vote of 8-5-1, winning against CNAS senator Melissa Vargas for the position.  Willis refused to comment regarding his appointment.

Other points of contention regarded the appointment of PAC: Pride, Action, Change candidate Neftali Galarza as vice president of external affairs, a position that [OUR]Voice candidate Mohammed Hussein was originally elected to.

According to Galvan, since Hussein was hired late in the quarter and removed by the senate before his term was completed, he did not meet the minimum one-year paid experience as stated in the bylaws. As Galarza met the requirement through his work in Galvan’s committee, he fulfilled the position as Hussein’s alternate.

Elected Vice President of Internal Affairs Michael Ervin was critical of Galarza’s appointed position in the executive cabinet. “Just to kind of briefly comment on this horseshoe mix-up, if it could be called that because it was intentional and not by accident … He (Galarza) was not elected. He should not have sat on this horseshoe and the current vice president of external affairs, the elect should have,” Ervin said.

“He was unfairly fired as parliamentarian and now he is being unfairly prevented from taking his rightful office … it is not something we accept. It is not something we concede into. The rightful person to the vice president of external affairs is Momo Hussein, and we look forward to this being resolved fairly quickly,” Ervin concluded to snaps across the senate chambers.

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