ASMC Presidential Election Results Stalled

By
April 22, 2004

Mills College Weekly

With all but the presidential results in, the ASMC
elections this semester have been clouded in controversy over who
will hold the highest position.

Presidential candidates Ebony Lubarsky and Gloria Espinosa, the
current ASMC treasurer, each confirmed that they have filed
allegations of misconduct against the other.

Further complicating the situation, ASMC advisor Liza Kuney had
already submitted her resignation and last Friday was her last day
working at Mills. Her replacement has not yet been named.

Lubarsky said she has requested a Judicial Board review of the
allegations.

Espinosa declined to comment on the specific allegations around
the presidential race. “Now that the judicial board is involved,
there’s more confidentiality,” she said.

Lubarsky saw problems in the election process from early on. It
started on April 7, when a voting table was supposed to be on Adams
Plaza from 11 a.m, to 1 p.m. Lubarsky said when she saw the table
still wasn’t there by 11:15, she called the Office of Student Life
and alerted them of the problem. She said the table wasn’t set up
until just after noon, cutting a whole hour out of voting time.

Freshwoman Lauren Brown said she saw one of the students running
the voting table pointing to a candidate’s name on the ballot as if
indicating who to vote for and alerted Lubarsky because she was
concerned. Brown also contacted OSL directly about what she
allegedly saw.

Lubarsky said she met with Kuney and Espinosa that afternoon to
discuss the matter, where she said she was accused by Espinosa of a
campaign violation for sending a campaign e-mail to student
news.

According to Lubarsky, she did not receive the campaign
regulations when she submitted her petition for candidacy, and
first received them in that meeting.

She was also concerned that the issue of race had become
involved, “that this was resulting in divisiveness between blacks
and latinas on campus.”

She said the parties agreed initially to a new election, which
she believes was also tainted when Lubarsky and Brown, among
others, allegedly saw current ASMC president Leanna Perez,
Espinosa, and another student hanging flyers after the agreed time
period to post flyers, 9 a.m to 9 p.m. on April 10.

“My concern,” Lubarsky said, “was how is Mills going to deal
with its student officers violating the honor code like this?”

That same night Lubarsky received an e-mail from Katie Mathis,
Judicial Board chair and interim Elections and Interviews chair,
saying she was going to be disqualified from the second election,
again for campaign violations about flyers in the dorms. The second
election was stopped before voting had even started.

“In the second election, both of us allegedly violated campaign
laws which brought it to a judicial matter and that’s where we
stand now,” Espinosa said.

Lubarsky again contacted Kuney and said she was asked to attend
the April 12 ASMC meeting which she did, along with Brown.

It was in that meeting that Brown realized the student she’d
seen at the voting table pointing to a ballot was Mathis. Brown
said she wasn’t sure who she was pointing to, and that she only saw
it happen once.

“She could’ve been telling them to vote for me, but that still
doesn’t make it right,” Lubarsky said.

When candidates were e-mailed the results on April 16, eight
days after voting ended, there wasn’t one word about the current
state of the presidential race. The post to student news mentioned
the frozen presidential election.

Mathis apologized to candidates for the delay in results in an
e-mail on April 12, stating she had just been appointed to her
position as interim Elections and Interviews Chair on the final day
of the elections and had been unable to speak with Kuney who had
been out of town for the weekend.

Mathis said that up until April 8, the entire ASMC board was
acting as Elections and Interviews chair for this year’s elections
because no one held the position.

According to Mathis, in the immediate aftermath of the
complaints, the new election was planned with new campaign
regulations agreed to by both candidates and the board, with Mathis
appointed to oversee the new elections as acting E&I chair.

“However,” Mathis said, “due to subsequent allegations against
myself as a member of the ASMC and another round of allegations of
broken campaign rules between the candidates, the election is now
frozen and I am no longer overseeing the process.”

She also said that “given it is too late in the semester to
appoint a Judicial Board, the case will be left to Dean of Students
Shirley Weishaar.”

On April 16, Weishaar said that she was not yet aware of all of
the details but said, “It is of great importance to the candidates
and the student body that it is addressed in a timely, fair and
judicious way.” She said her goal is to have the situation resolved
by April 28.

Lubarsky said she has been offered three options for resolution
by Weishaar: another election, co-presidency with Espinosa, or the
Judicial Board review. Lubarsky said her first option would be
co-presidency, which Espinosa has refused. Uncomfortable with
another election given the alleged violations in both previous
attempts, Lubarsky opted for the review process.

“If my campaign needs to become the sacrificial lamb to create
the change [within ASMC] that needs to happen so be it,” Lubarsky
said.

Espinosa said, “I do not believe there should be a
co-presidency. We have different platforms, different leadership
styles and these should be presented to students for their
decision.”

She said she would have preferred a new election. “I think that
would be the fairest way to have the student choice.”

Weishaar said as soon a decision is made, it will be announced
by e-mail and posters at the Tea Shop.

Mathis is organizing a meeting for students to “discuss the
election process’ faults, possible changes, and how to change the
policies before next year’s elections.”

At the final ASMC meeting of the semester last Monday, it was
indicated that Vice-President elect Annie Flores will be acting
President until the matter is settled.

In an interview last week before any election results were
available, Flores said she felt that this year’s elections were
difficult because of poor communication from those in charge.

She said she received two pages of regulations when she
submitted her petition to run for office, but little to no official
communication.

“I was never contacted by OSL or the ASMC officially regarding
when campaigning was to take place with dates, etc. The only way I
stayed informed was through my friends currently on ASMC.”

“There was supposed to be a speaking engagement, which I only
found out about the night before through friends, not any kind of
notification. I was willing to do it but I didn’t feel very
guided.”

Flores said she showed up to speak, which was supposed to be on
April 5 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Adams Plaza, to find there was no
speaker system and only four or five other candidates present,
“probably because others didn’t know about it.” They were told to
come back the next day. Again so few candidates were there, Kuney
said it would be unfair to allow some but not all candidates to
speak to students and the event was canceled altogether.

Flores said it was another example of poor communication. “I did
this because I really do enjoy talking to students. I really like
getting involved with people. I’m good friends with my opponent
[Vanessa Yasui] and I’m equally proud whether she or I get it, but
the confusion and the controversy leaves a bad taste in my
mouth.”

“I think that in order for Mills to have quality candidates, you
need to have good dissemination of information. If it wasn’t for my
social circle, I wouldn’t have known most of what I did [about the
process],” Flores said.


ASMC Presidential Election Results Stalled was published on April 22, 2004 in News

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