ASLCC suspended the bylaws regarding students running for office last week during a meeting on Tuesday, April 19. This has opened a rift between student government officials, and caused them to take sides arguing for or against the suspension.
The recent Lane election cycle has been contested by the only candidates running for student government president — Mariana Paredones and Bobby Kirkpatrick. Both candidates currently hold positions in ASLCC, with Paredones being the State Affairs Director and Kirkpatrick the Sustainability Coordinator.
Paredones appealed to suspend the ASLCC bylaws because she currently does not have the required GPA to run, which is a 2.5. Suspending the bylaws lowered the minimum to the constitutionally required GPA of a 2.0, something that Paredones believes would allow more people to run.
“I really wanted to make a case about the whole GPA requirements, because it’s a 2.46. It’s a 0.04 difference, and it’s a difference in having an uncontested race and having an actual contested race.”
Kirkpatrick is against suspending the bylaws, and believes that students should prioritize their studies over other endeavours.
“I know Mariana wants this position,” Kirkpatrick said. “I know they work really hard, but the bottom line is there is a lot of work to be done and if you’re already struggling GPA-wise, your focus should be on education while you’re at Lane.”
The senate has been accused of playing favorites by other ASLCC members for suspending the bylaws to allow Paredones to run. In response, Paredones pointed out the need to be aware of favoritism on all sides.
“If you really want to draw out the favoritism, we have to be critical of everyone involved,” Paredones said. “I honestly don’t think that the senators would have done anything that would have seemed too favorable.”
Rick Williams, Paredones’ running mate as vice president, said that favoritism was not apparent in the senate regarding the suspension of the bylaws.
“I am not aware of anyone on senate playing favorites,” Williams said.
Anastasia Vail, communications director and candidate for vice president, spoke about their thoughts regarding the suspension of the bylaws.
“As far as being a candidate I think this all kind of sucks,” Vail said. “As far as ASLCC goes, I think that it is a very grey area, but the students who are fighting for this have a right to fight for this. They didn’t break any rules and if they feel they should and they can win this then, by all means.”
Maria Dresser, ASLCC Vice President, spoke about the legality of the suspension and the reasons behind why the Senate suspended them.
“A democracy is stronger when we have more people to choose from,” Dresser said. “I think that favoritism is not allowing students to run based on GPA. I believe that GPA does not define someone’s merit as a human being or a leader.”
Dresser also spoke on the legality of the bylaws’ suspension.
“The student who brought the complaint to me contacted Access the Law and spoke with the legal secretary who said it was absolutely fine.”
There are hopes that with the suspension of the bylaws and the extension of the deadlines for students to run for office, that more students will take part in the governing process. Once the election’s committee reopens the application process for students to run, ASLCC has planned to email, table and get the word out so that more students can participate. Paredones believes that getting new students involved in ASLCC will be good for the Lane community.
“There’s usually the same people in power, or they already know who they want next,” Paredones said. “I feel like it’s time that we break that cycle, and we let more students decide. But I feel like we can’t do that if the same people are making those pushes out, and not letting students decide how they want to see their stuff run.”