Petition to recall ASI members gains attention

A petition to recall and remove Associated Students Inc. student executives has earned more than 400 signatures, according to Jason Aula, a spokesperson for the anonymous group that wrote the document.

The petition to recall and remove ASI President James Ahumada, Vice President Lucy Nguyen and ASI Treasurer Jameson Nyeholt was first made available for students to sign Jan 3. The group – that wishes to remain anonymous for later campaign reasons – wrote in the petition that the executive leadership is “overpaid, over spends, and does not listen to students.”

Aula said the main reasoning for the recall stems from an October Daily 49er article showing ASI pay structure. He said the group believes that student executive salaries should be equivalent to graduate assistants.

“Most people that sign the petition don’t even know what their ASI is doing and how much they are getting paid,” said Anthony Dillan, a fashion merchandising major and volunteer collecting signatures for the petition. “Some people don’t even know who the president is.”

The group of students who made the petition has formed its own list of candidates for the special election. ASI Executive Director Richard Haller said a special election may be held if a recall petition gathers 15 percent of the officers’ student body, or 5,000 signatures.

Aula said the group plans to announce their ticket of ASI President, Vice President and Treasurer Feb 1. He also said the new, unnamed candidates are willing to work for half the price of the current student executives and are also currently creating a state petition to freeze tuition for community colleges, the University of California and the California State University for five years.

According to the group’s website, Ahumada, Nguyen and Nyeholt were supposed to receive letters informing them on the petition on Monday. Ahumada said none of the officers have seen any letters.

One of the main complaints lodged in the petition is the ASI proposal of OrgSync, a web-based platform designed to fall in line with the parameters of the American Disabilities Act that would allow student organizations to archive, post and update information.

“I think OrgSync is a waste of money,” said Spencer Howarth, a junior communications major and volunteer for the group. “It just seems like it should be done internally and shouldn’t be outsourced.”

Ahumada responded in an interview Monday.

“It’s not about OrgSync,” he said. “It’s about providing tools to our student groups, whether it is through OrgSync or otherwise.”

Though most of the group’s complaints are aimed at Ahumada, Aula said the group included Nguyen and Nyeholt because “their philosophies and rhetoric are the same.”

In the original wording of the petition, the group had also decided to recall Chief Programming Officer Kimberly Helm, who was appointed by Ahumada.

When the Daily 49er asked how recalling Helm was possible when the ASI recall petition bylaws state only “elected officers shall be subject to recall,” Aula declined to comment. The wording of the petition was changed Tuesday and no longer includes Helm.

Although the wording of the petition has changed, Aula said the group believes that the signatures they collected thus far are still valid.

If the petition is successful, ASI bylaws state that a “recall election shall be held within fifteen school days after the presentation of the petition.”

In response to the petition, Ahumada said he welcomes the group to join him in discussion to see how he can better serve the students.

However, when asked if he would reconsider his plans for the spring semester because of the petition, Ahumada said, “We should not be distracted by things like this. As student leaders, we are elected to do our job.”

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