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USAC General Representative 1 Jong Hyeon Lee resigns at council meeting

A student government general representative resigned at the Tuesday Undergraduate Students Association Council meeting, and said he will declare nonattendance because of personal reasons, which would make him ineligible for office. (Left to right: Courtesy of Jong Hyeon Lee, Kanishka Mehra/Photo editor)

By Genesis Qu

Jan. 12, 2021 8:43 p.m.

This post was updated Jan. 13 at 11:24 a.m.

An undergraduate student government representative resigned at a Tuesday council meeting.

Jong Hyeon Lee, the Undergraduate Students Association Council General Representative 1, said at the Tuesday USAC meeting he will declare nonattendance at UCLA because of financial and personal reasons. His nonattendance will make him ineligible for his office, Lee added.

Under USAC bylaws, only registered and enrolled undergraduate students can hold elected offices in council. 

Lee did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Since Lee resigned after the midpoint of his term, the council president must now nominate a candidate within 21 days under the USAC constitution. The council will then interview and appoint a candidate with a majority vote.

USAC President Naomi Riley said at the Tuesday meeting that her office will send out an application Wednesday to fill the seat. The application will close Jan. 19 at 11:59 p.m, she added.

Council should appoint the new general representative by Tuesday of week five at the latest, Riley said.

Aidan Arasasingham, the USAC external vice president, said his office will coordinate with Lee to transition the Office of the General Representative 1’s staff and resources to Lee’s successor. 

Riley added she would prefer a candidate who has a commitment to student welfare but would not use the position as a stepping stone to run next year.

“We should be very careful with playing with any elections dynamic,” Riley said.

Sachi Cooper, the USAC facilities commissioner, said at the Tuesday meeting that considering how much time is left in the general representative’s term, an ideal applicant should have a strong single-issue platform that they can successfully implement by the end of the year.

Emily Luong, the USAC internal vice president, said in an interview that because it will be difficult to take on the position in the middle of the school year, she would like to see a candidate who is truly passionate about the position.

Riley said in an interview with The Bruin that because of the short amount of time left in the council’s term, she wants a new representative who already understands UCLA bureaucracy and can implement ideas quickly.

USAC general representatives have a unique opportunity to bring outsider perspectives to the council and advocate on behalf of students because their mandates are not as restricted by USAC bylaws as other offices, Riley added.

“There are so many other discussions that are still to be had … (like) vaccine rollout,” Riley said. “(There are) so many issues that are going to be affecting students that we’ve been missing representation (for) for a year now.”

Bakur Madini, the USAC international student representative who ran with Lee as part of the Cost-Cutting Innovations slate, said in an emailed statement that he supports Lee’s decision to resign.

The pandemic is putting a strain on everyone and knowing when to step down when you no longer can serve the community who elected you in the way they deserve is brave and something to be respected,” Madini said in the statement.

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Genesis Qu | Assistant News editor
Qu is the 2020-2021 Assistant News editor for the Campus Politics beat. He was previously a reporter for the National News and Higher Education beat. Qu is a third-year statistics and political science student at UCLA.
Qu is the 2020-2021 Assistant News editor for the Campus Politics beat. He was previously a reporter for the National News and Higher Education beat. Qu is a third-year statistics and political science student at UCLA.
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