For more background on my tumultuous tenure as Attorney General of the ASUC, see the Daily Californian’s coverage here. This op-ed was originally published in a severely truncated and poorly edited form by the Daily Californian and can be found here.
The role of the Attorney General is one of neutrality, a position that is designed to be an impartial third-party within the ASUC that has the power to ensure that its Constitution and By-Laws are upheld (by pursuing possible violations of those documents). Since technically anyone can pursue violations, it is the role of the Attorney General to provide an adequate safeguard against abuses of that ability, abuses of our rules and regulations.
Throughout the year, I have done my best to fulfill the duties assigned to my position, to serve the ASUC faithfully, diligently, and fairly. ASUC President Roxanne Winston acknowledges that with her praiseful remarks delivered at the October 18 senate meeting, saying that she was “extremely impressed with Mr. Sinanian as AG, and [wants] to thank him for working in the ASUC.” The record speaks to that statement. Earlier this year, I was the one who brought to light the failure of the Senate committee delegated to select someone to run the annual elections (the ECC). Realizing the violations at hand and the problems at stake, I worked closely with the Senate, the committee members, and the Judicial Council to help select an ECC and prevent the Senate from losing any valuable time due to their failure to select one promptly. This work encouraged praise from Senator Kifah Shah who said at the November 12 senate meeting that she “…wanted to emphasize a ‘thank you’ to AG Sinanian for handling everything at the J-Council so well.” Clearly, such praise would not warrant my impeachment unless there were other more inconspicuous and unjustified reasons.
Those reasons stem from the unprecedented recall election that took place this year and my involvement with it. Shortly after the votes were tabulated, Mr. Moghtader screened a video of the events that took place on November 13, 2008 to both the Daily Californian and myself. In watching this video, I honestly came to believe that it proved that the recall took place on false pretenses and based on that, I attempted to invalidate the recall based on alleged violations of our By-Laws. As defeating as that might have been for the “hostage” student body, which had already put forth the painful amount of money to host this recall, it was more important that our Association respect its time-honored rules, especially the ones concerning fairness and justice. To the best of my abilities, I made an honest attempt to uphold that respect.
The recent attempt to impeach me was brought about by several Boalt Hall students who simply do not understand the ASUC and its rules and regulations. They allege that I single-handedly delayed the certification of the recall results, transgressing upon the rights of every student in the Association. In actuality, it is not in my hands to delay or expedite that certification. The Constitution and By-Laws explicitly delegate to me the task of pursuing any potential violations, so the actions I have taken these past several weeks are in fact clearly supported by our Association’s rules and regulations.
The truth is that certain members of the Senate who have long opposed Mr. Moghtader and sought to remove him began to see me as someone who had lost sight of his role, who took it upon himself to defend the estranged senator. In light of that, they harnessed the support of the misinformed Boalt Hall students to attempt to remove me as well. They are systematically moving to remove anyone in the path of their political agenda, anyone who disagrees, even if that includes a person whom they previously supported. Regrettably, the state of the Association and the integrity of the people who comprise it are such that an appointed official must align his best judgment to the political desires of powerful senators if he wishes to keep his position.
Let me assure the campus now that their ASUC Attorney General is a man committed to his responsibilities, committed to the institution that is one of the few fully independent student governments in the nation, and committed to ensuring that the rules and regulations of that government are followed. I hope that come Wednesday, I will not be impeached, for I hope that there is still a large contingent in the Senate that knows of my integrity and my dedication, both to this Association and to the higher universal laws of justice that prevail within and without it.