The Associated Student Body student senate is dealing with confusion surrounding a lawsuit being considered by the schools newspaper for violation of the Brown Act.
Co-Editor-in-Chief of The Current, Jeff Gonzales informed the board of the possible legal action that would be taken against the ASB during the public portion of the Nov. 7 student senate meeting.
Gonzales told the audience, that because he was not allowed to attend a class in which a quorum (minimum number of members required to make decisions) was met and discusses ASB matters, he is “pursuing litigation against the Associated Student Body in regards to a Brown Act violation.”
The class at question is a student government class taught by the ASB adviser Tanika Byrd, held on Mondays with student lab hours defined as attending the student senate meetings on Thursdays.
Currently in the class, as Senator Daniela Vargas said, are five senators and two members of the Club and Events Board.
In an email conversation Dean of Student Development, Manuel Perez admitted that, “technically quorum is met in the class.”
Gonzales is requesting that The Current be allowed in the class and cover it, and “be treated as an open meeting per the Brown Act.”
Walter Hammerwold, adviser to The Current declined to comment.
What raised a flag for Gonzales was that Byrd told him she was not comfortable with Gonzales’ sitting in on the class because ASB matters are discussed.
“The board has told me many times that they value transparency and this would be a great way to hold true to the value,” said Gonzales.
Jeremy Diefenbacher, president of the Clubs and Events Board who chaired the student senate meeting said. “I feel like what you’re asking is a little unrealistic, because it is, you’re stripping it of its educational value.”
Some suggestions Gonzales offered were to split the class up into multiple classes, so that the classes would not meet quorum requirements and therefore not be a violation of the Brown Act.
“I don’t want to sue you guys, but I want to make sure you’re aware of (the violation), however, we have exhausted the time frame before I have to take legal action.” Gonzales said to the board.
Gonzales offered to do a presentation to the class regarding the Brown Act “We could use this as, instead of legal action, a learning opportunity for all of us.”