The undergraduate student government judicial board retroactively rejected a petition Monday afternoon that called for a disqualification of the Social Justice Referendum and a revote for contested positions in this year’s Undergraduate Students Association Council election.
The petition, submitted by former MakeUCLAGreatAgain candidate Shubham Goel, claimed the USAC Election Board did not adequately sanction the Social Justice Referendum or Bruins United for campaign violations. The USAC Judicial Board initially agreed to consider the petition Friday.
The petition argued the election board should have continued to accept complaints of alleged USAC Election Code violations after voting ended at 3 p.m. on May 6. The judicial board planned to convene Wednesday to discuss the petition.
Petitioners said the election board did not accept a complaint that alleged the Social Justice Referendum violated a previous sanction not to campaign, by having a band campaign on Bruin Walk. The election board also did not accept a complaint that alleged members of Bruins United posted a flier in a campus bulletin board, and denied to investigate both complaints because they were submitted after voting closed May 6.
The judicial board decided the petition was invalid because some signatures on the petitions were not signed by the individuals listed, according to a judicial board document released Monday.
According to text messages provided by Joe Jacobson, who took part in creating the petition, many petitioners asked their names to be removed after Jazz Kiang, representative for the Social Justice Referendum, started circulating the names of the petitioners to other referendum supporters.
Jacobson said he was personally told that people would break the windows of his car and would make the rest of his life at UCLA miserable if he moved forward with the petition.
Jacobson said he chose not to include his name on the petition because he felt it would be best, given his background in law, if it was not known he was litigating on behalf of the petitioners.
The Social Justice Referendum funds a variety of student-run retention and outreach programs, and will raise student fees by $24.99 per student per quarter beginning fall 2016. The referendum passed with 54.8 percent of the vote.
Jacobson said independent and LET’S ACT!-affiliated former council members formed an alliance to vote against confirming the election results. Jacobson said members of the alliance were dissatisfied because the election board failed to properly sanction the Social Justice Referendum and the Bruins United.
Before election results become official, USAC council members must vote to approve them at their meeting, which for this year was May 10.
Council members withdrew from the alliance May 10 after they heard Social Justice Referendum representatives were aware of the petition and after dozens of supporters of the referendum showed up to the meeting, according to text messages between members of the alliance.
The election results were confirmed, with many council members abstaining. No council members voted against approving the results.
Even before the alliance broke, a different group of students submitted the petition to the USAC Judicial Board about 4:50 p.m. May 10, said Jacobson, a third-year economics and political science student.
Kiang said the referendum’s representatives did not hear about the petition until they were reached out to by the Daily Bruin for comment Friday.
Some of the petitioners said they were disappointed the petition was rejected.
Goel, who said he acted as the face of the petition but was not actively involved in creating it, said he wanted to be a part of the petition to reveal dishonesty in the undergraduate student government.
“It doesn’t matter that the petition was rejected,” Goel said. “I’m glad we got the message of corruption in USAC out there.”
Jack Price, a second-year history student and one of the petitioners, said he supported the petition because he believed the election was not properly conducted.
“I just wanted to get a second opinion on whether the election was fair or not,” he said. “I wanted the judicial board to bring confidence into the system.”
Contributing reports from Jeong Park, Daily Bruin senior staff.