AS election misinformed

On the brink of confirming Associated Student election candidates for next semester, there has been recent confusion about the role the 2013 election code plays in relationship to the AS constitution.

A discrepancy in the language between the election code and the constitution left a student's right to run for AS presidency disputable.

As Santa Monica College student Noke Taumalolo pursued a spot on the election ballot, he noticed a difference in the two official documents that would prevent him from running.

Article 2, section 4, of the constitution states that, "in order to assume office, the AS president and vice president [candidates] must have completed a minimum of 20 units at SMC" and "have completed eight units with a minimum of 2.0 GPA at SMC in the fall semester immediately preceding the semester in which they are elected or currently serve as an AS director, commissioner, or as an active member of the Inter-Club Council as a representative or an officer in the semester in which they are elected."

The election code, which was approved in February, replaces "or" with "and," effectively doubling the requirements to run for office, according to section 2.A, point 2C of the AS constitution.

Since Taumalolo has neither been active in the AS nor in the ICC, he would not be able to run for office, based on the election code of 2013.

According to Taumalolo, he was told by an ICC adviser that the election code superseded the constitution, depriving him of his eligibility for presidency.

“It feels like they're taking my rights to bear arms, my right to vote, my freedom of speech,” said Taumalolo. "Nothing overrides the constitution."

During the AS board meeting on Monday, where Taumalolo contested his ineligibility, ICC adviser Deyna Hearn referred to the difference in language as a "typo in the constitution."

"I have no idea how 'and' was changed to 'or.' It should be 'and' in there," said Hearn.

However, ICC chair Spincer Tudor Versele recognized that the previous election code of 2012 read 'or,' and had been changed to 'and' for the 2013 election code.

“I take responsibility for changing the 'or' to an 'and,'" said Versele. "To me, that was the correct decision. We are looking for somebody who is in good standing, academically wise and has the foundation in leadership. To me the 'or' never made sense. I saw it as a typo."

Versele said in e-mail after the AS board meeting Monday evening that Taumalolo will be allowed to run.

But he admitted to have underestimated the discrepancy in wording.

“I saw in the constitution the 'or' what should have been an 'and' for me, but didn't think that it was much of a big deal, until it comes around and bites you in the backside,” he said. "I thought it would be one of the quick fixes."

The "various boards" will meet over the next two weeks in order "to attempt to sort a problem in the language that had persisted since 1991," said Versele.