Fear and Loathing in De Anza College, pt. 2

Oh what a mess.

I hate activists. I don’t mind being called one, but I really fucking hate student activists. Their idea of a tactical or strategic attack can be summed up on one muleheaded phrase:

Headlong attack.

Forget about subtlety or nuance. I’m talking about being able to read your targeted audience and choose from multiple options in which to best approach and convince your opponents as to the wisdom of your memeset. Confrontation works for a PR move – but you’re not talking to the fucking media! You’re talking to the election committee’s board members! Instead of talking out of turn, instead of acting like a bunch of fucking immature apes, treat them with the same sort of respect you want to be treated! Give them the benefit of the doubt that the only reason they don’t currently agree with you is simply because they’re missing a crucial piece of the puzzle – they may very well be malicious towards you, but it is to your benefit to not provoke it, dammit.

As for the student council, for gods’ sake, you’re speaking to the public. Speak the hell up. But, frankly, though they were all dreadfully underprepared, often taking five minute breaks to look up paperwork they should have had on-hand already, and were still somehow half an hour late for the deliberations, all but one of the government representatives were at least respectable and willing to listen to public concerns and inquiries.

Terrell Sterling, however? His impatience was clearly shown by his behavior at the deliberations. His curtness with the questions of even the more subdued members of the public bordered on rudeness. His utter refusal to take questions during the discussion period of the parliamentary procedures stepped beyond borders and went into the outright rude.

We hired you to represent us, goddammit. If we have concerns, if we have questions, it is your duty to address them, as our primary representative. 

Alas, my own presence at the deliberations was probably unnecessary. Though Custodio’s candidacy is still under threat due to a technical issue with his vice president’s attendance of the last three De Anza Associated Student Body meetings (it boils down to whether or not Sterling wishes to adhere to the letter or spirit of the bylaws), actions were not taken against Custodio himself. Though I did give a rough summary of the speech I posted earlier (members of the public are allowed only two minutes to speak, and I timed the prior speech at 5:23 prior to the deliberations), the full argument was apparently already made by a former journalist and current faculty member via email to the DASB officers.

Of course, because his candidacy is still under threat, the entire Students United political party is in an uproar, and are still demonstrating in the designated freedom of speech stage on the campus quad, as I am writing. And I’m not done either. Just sent this out to all of the DASB officers and their advisor…

To the DASB Officers: 

Concerning the possible disqualification of the Students United candidate for Vice President, and the subsequent disqualification of Marlo Custodio, the group’s presidential candidate, it is of concern to me that the DASB may be following the letter of the law rather than the spirit of the law. The intent of the election bylaws is, blatantly, a measure of weeding out insincere candidates from the candidacy pool in order to present the highest-quality candidates of the year to the De Anza student body. However, the reason for the intent is, perhaps, more important.

I would advise the DASB to remember that the overarching purpose of the student election in the first place is to ascend to office representatives willing and able to represent student interests in the DASB. This was the mandate given to you, and this will be the mandate given to your replacements when you move on. The bylaws are only tools in which to facilitate this process – they have no inherent value unto themselves except in ensuring the quality of the representation.

In regards to Marlo Custodio and Josh Chou, it is near-indisputable that their popular influence amongst the student body will make or break this election. In the case of Chou’s attendance, it is questionable, in the first place, as to whether or not there was, in fact, any real violations of the bylaws – the fallibility of a human secretary, the lack of audiovisual archives, and the numerous eyewitnesses as to his appearance within the 20-minute cutoff, highly suggests that the best course of action from the DASB is, in fact, leniency.

It is, in fact, drastically important that the DASB choose leniency over strict adherence to the bylaws. Again, the bylaws are only there to ensure the quality of representation – but it is the representation that matters. There are only two parties in contention for the election – and only two sets of Presidents and Vice Presidents on the ballot. It is far from the De Anza student body’s best interest to have the ballot of the top offices uncontested.

It would, in fact, be the disenfranchisement of every single one of Custodio and Chou’s supporters – and a crushing blow to the legitimacy of the next student council.

When considering the continued qualification of the Custodio/Chou ticket, I hope that the DASB will opt for an optimally beneficial stance for the student body at large, as is its mandate, as opposed to unwarranted strictness.


James Chen

NOT writing as the La Voz Tech Editor


~ by Gonzo Mehum on May 14, 2009.

One Response to “Fear and Loathing in De Anza College, pt. 2”

  1. You’ve got quite a CF on your hands there. Keep us informed as to how it turns out.

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