In what would have otherwise been an anti-climactic meeting of the ASUC Finance Committee, three senators withdrew their co-authorship and sponsorship of SB 51, the bill which would reimburse Oren Gabriel for the legal expenses he incurred this summer.

It looked like nothing was going to happen for this week with the bill when the committee took the recommendation of an ASUC finance officer, who reported different senators were giving him different versions of the facts of the case, and tabled the bill for at least a week until more information could be found out. However, Senator Jane Park entered the meeting after the committee had moved on and motioned an amendment to the bill which removed the co-authorship and sponsorship of three senators: herself, Jeff Mannassaro and Dwight Asuncion. Park and Mannassaro are both members of Student Action; Asuncion is a part of Student Action-affiliated APPLE Engineering. Afterwards, the bill was retabled.

Because it was not sent out of committee, the bill cannot be voted on at Wednesday’s meeting, but it may be discussed. There are still 11 senators (out of 20) whose names are attached to the bill.

Be sure to check out The Daily Californian’s article on the meeting in tomorrow’s paper. Additionally, the opinion section of the paper is running a piece by Oren Gabriel.

Correction: According to Executive Vice President Vishal Gupta, the Senate can move the bill to the floor by majority vote and could potentially vote on it this Wednesday.

If you have not been keeping up with The Daily Cal’s coverage and commentary of Oren Gabriel’s attempt to get the ASUC legal defense fund to retroactively pay the legal fees he incurred this summer, now would be a good time to start. The ASUC Senate is voting on the bill this Wednesday, and that may be your last chance to make your voice heard.

What must not be overlooked in this is that Gabriel actually lost the suit he brought to the Superior Court of Alameda County, which is what his party is trying to reimburse him for. Contrary to Gabriel’s claim that “The Judicial Council was violating the ASUC bylaws and their own rules of procedure so in order to make sure that the will of the students was followed, it was necessary to hire legal counsel,” (quoted from the first article linked above) the court actually ruled that Gabriel should have exhausted his options with the student Judicial COuncil before taking the case to county court—that is to say, he violated the rules of procedure, and the case (and thereby the legal fees incurred in its pursuit) was completely unnecessary.

Gabriel, by the by, forced the ASUC Judicial Council to hire legal counsel to defend themselves, the money for which was (rightly) taken from the legal defense fund. And all of this for a suit that should never have been filed in the first place.

Here is a contact list for the 14 senators who co-wrote the bill (taken from this Facebook group):

Ali Ansary ([email protected])
Dwight Asuncion ([email protected])
Jennifer Avelino ([email protected])
Samuel Averbach ([email protected]rg)
Brandon Chen ([email protected])
Dmitri Garcia ([email protected])
Vince Law ([email protected])
Curtis Lee ([email protected])
Jeff Manassero ([email protected])
Eunice Moon ([email protected])
Ilana Nankin ([email protected])
Vivienne Nguyen ([email protected])
Jane Park ([email protected])
Donald Rizzo ([email protected])

Oren Gabriel’s email address is [email protected].

In fairness, it should be noted that some of the facts of this case are disputed by at least one ASUC Senator, whose conversation with a member of the above-linked facebook group was posted here on that group’s discussion board.

The ASUC meets Wednesday at 7 on the first floor of Eshleman. Regardless of how you feel about this, we hope you will write your senators or show up at the meeting to let them know how you feel.