An email received by the Highlander at around 11:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 11, reveals that, during the 2014-15 academic year, leadership within the ASUCR political party [YOUR]side requested signatures on a noncompete agreement form from 2014-15 ASUCR Vice President of Campus Internal Affairs Fernando Echeverria.
Attached to the email was the Word document version of the form and an email message sent to Echeverria on Jan. 22, 2015 from 2014-15 Executive Vice President and 2015-16 Vice President of Internal Affairs Michael Ervin. In the message, Ervin introduces the agreement as similar to the party’s voter agreement document presumably sent out to all members. Ervin also provides a link to the Seamless Doc version of the contract, which can still be accessed here.
The surfacing of these contracts, which are not notarized, comes following a Wednesday, March 8 judicial ruling which extended the Monday, March 6 filing deadline for prospective candidates to submit their candidacy to 5 p.m. Friday, March 17 and disbanded a party found to have “participated in … unfair political practices” including forcing the unnamed party’s members to sign what the ruling deemed “noncompete/nondisclosure” agreements.
According to both the documents provided Saturday and multiple sources close to the situation, that unnamed party is, in fact, [YOUR]side.
According to Echeverria, the contract was developed by current on-leave President Shafi Karim and Vice President of External Affairs Oscar Loera as well as 2014-15 President Nafi Karim and Ervin, “in order to force individuals to not compete against [YOUR]side.”
As Echeverria recalls, the contracts were first given to executive slate members to be voted for in the 2014-15 primaries and primarily used for the party’s presidential candidates at the time — himself and Ervin.
“We (Echeverria and Ervin) were the first ones to get the contracts and the first ones to sign it,” shared Echeverria over the phone Saturday evening. “Basically, in order to even be considered as president of [YOUR]side, we had to fill out these contracts.”
Beyond ensuring loyalty to the party, signing the agreement means the candidate adheres to “not directly or indirectly engag(ing) in any campaigning, formal or informal or otherwise partake in any actions in the Associated Students of UCR (ASUCR) elections that competes with the [YOUR]SIDE party and/or its interests,” according to the terms listed.
The terms also state that “the definition of ‘interests’ is subject to change at the discretion of the [YOUR]SIDE party and may include but is not limited to any activity of which: garners votes and or support for any party or candidate(s) opposing the [YOUR]SIDE party, diminishes votes and or support for the [YOUR]SIDE party.”
Further, according to the terms, any violation of the agreement results in not only a removal from the party, but removal from the Kappa Sigma Fraternity (if applicable), of which Echeverria was a member up until leaving the fraternity in 2014-15 and one which Loera, Shafi Karim, Nafi Karim and Ervin are all affiliated — Nafi Karim being a leading founder of the Riverside chapter on campus.
Violation of the agreement also grants party leadership “the right to collect $2,000 (adjusted by inflation to the year 2014) from the member or former member,” according to its terms.
This stipulate led current Interim Acting President Arturo Gomez to call for the removal of Shafi Karim, Loera and current Personnel Director and Kappa Sigma member Alan Alcantara from office in a case filed to judicial the afternoon of Sunday, March 12. This case is still pending approval of review from the judicial council at time of writing
[YOUR]side was established in 2013-14 and currently holds an overwhelming majority in both the ASUCR executive and legislative branch and, according to numerous sources, were the lone party to submit candidacy to April’s upcoming 2017-18 elections on the March 6 deadline.
This story is developing. Contact writer at firstname.lastname@example.org.