Letter to the editor: Grievance regarding ASUCD Elections Committee

On Tuesday, Feb. 5, Migz Espinoza and Lane Lewis, two transgender students running for the ASUCD executive office, were publicly outed as transgender when the ASUCD Elections Committee released their legal names on the ASUCD elections website.

Before being outed, Espinoza and Lewis had repeatedly asked the elections committee chair, Aaron Hsu, to use their preferred names on all publicity and elections material. Hsu responded that he could not because of ASUCD bylaw 405E which states that a student’s “name on the ballot must be that which appears on the student’s UC Davis Student ID card.”

When the official list of candidates was posted on the elections website with Espinoza’s and Lewis’ legal names — despite the fact that they had appealed to Hsu multiple times stating that their preferred names are not simply nicknames, they are their identities, the importance of a bylaw was placed before that of the safety of these two students.

Transgender people often face mental, physical and emotional harassment or abuse on account of their gender identities. Outing a transgender person, disclosing their transgender identity, puts them at further risk of this danger.

Espinoza and Lewis were able to have their names corrected on the elections website over the next 48 hours, after contacting the ASUCD business manager, president and vice president, as well as the director of the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Resource Center and the director of the Cross Cultural Center.

On Thursday, Feb. 7, the ASUCD Gender and Sexuality Commission presented to the senate about the transphobic nature of the bylaw and Hsu’s communication with Espinoza and Lewis. The senate suspended bylaw 405E and, after one failed vote and much advocating by Espinoza, Lewis, the Gender and Sexuality Commission and other members of the public, passed the motion to close session Hsu.

This means the Senate will have a closed meeting where they will discuss the serious nature of these actions.

This is one just example of the many times ASUCD officials, senators and policies have discriminated against marginalized and underrepresented communities. Past examples include challenging the funding for the ethnic and lavender graduation programs, the annual ASUCD sponsored “Singles Awareness” event at which people are auctioned and sold, and the ASUCD sponsorship of events which upheld discriminatory federal policies pertaining to blood drive.

ASUCD has repeatedly, willfully misrepresented the undergraduate student community. By failing to attend mandatory SafeZone and PEACE trainings as well as spend time in outside student spaces, they lack the knowledge and experience to represent the student body.

Migz Espinoza, fourth-year women and gender studies major
Kriti Garg, second-year international relations, and community and regional development double major
Iris Xie, third-year English major
Lane Lewis, fourth-year international relations major

One Comment

  • rgomez1911
    February 21, 2013

    The SMART slate has demonstrated that they are ill-suited for a position of office. They’ve taken on a victimized identity and has let that be their sole viewpoint.

    It scares me that these people would run for office when they point to examples like a blood drive as evidence of discrimination. The policies enacted are outdated and should be changed, yes, but that doesn’t mean UC Davis and universities around the world should not hold events such as these. In the end they still save lives. Espinoza, Garg, Xie, and Lewis are simply demonstrating how inept they are for public office.

    I highly suggest to the members of the SMART Slate to grow up. Discrimination exists, but when that’s all you can see and when that makes up the bulk of your political platform, you’re literally throwing lives away just to appease your victim complex.

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