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Judicial Board to Hear Tech Appeal of ASA Sanction

By Harold Fox


A joint Undergraduate Association/ Graduate Student Council judicial board will hear The Tech’s appeal of the Association of Student Activities’ decision to revoke part of The Tech’s office space.

In late August, the ASA Executive Board sanctioned The Tech for including repeated recruiting advertisements in its publications prior to the Activities Midway. The Tech has filed an appeal to the new Undergraduate Association/ Graduate Student Council judicial board.

“Basically, The Tech continued to violate the rush rules,” said ASA President Alvar Saenz-Otero G. “We had to do something. Violations just can’t go without the enforcement of the rules.” ASA regulations stipulate that member student organizations cannot recruit new members between August 15 and the Activities Midway.

The Tech has appealed to the UA/ GSC judicial board, which was recently created for the express purpose of hearing appeals of ASA decisions.

“The ASA has these rules,” said UA President Jaime E. Devereaux ’02. “When there is one body that sets the rules and has the ability to determine the sanction, it becomes a problem.”

Jordan Rubin ’02, chairman of The Tech, agrees that the judicial board is strongly needed. “We were tried without even knowing there was a trial,” Rubin said. “They are supposed to aid student groups. In this situation, they are singling out The Tech to try to prove that their rules have an enforcement mechanism behind them.”

Judicial board hastily assembled

The heavy sanction against The Tech was unprecedented, and it catalyzed the formation of the joint judicial board.

“We were planning to create an appeals process ... toward the end of last year,” Devereaux said. However, nothing had yet materialized by the time of the contested ASA ruling.

“Because we weren’t prepared to handle the case, we had to delay [the appeal process], because we wanted to do it right,” Devereaux said.

“The appeals process is in its infancy,” Rubin said. “There are aspects of the appeals process which are unclear. For example, The Tech is supposed to provide the [judicial] board with a list of witnesses, but we don’t have a date for the hearing. It’s difficult to get witnesses for a date that doesn’t exist.”

The board consists of three members of the UA’s judicial committee and three from the GSC’s. The Tech and the ASA have each submitted all the evidence they want considered. The board has yet to review the evidence and to make a final decision.

“I hope that we can resolve this as quickly as possible,” said judicial board member H. Sanith Wijesinghe G. “I hope that it will be finished by IAP, but I can’t really give a time frame.”

Meanwhile, Rubin is confident The Tech will win the appeal. “I think our likelihood of success is high, mainly because the evidence is really against the ASA,” he said.

Advertisements lead to sanctions

On August 21, The Tech placed a full page ad on its back page that encouraged students to join. On Wednesday, August 22, Saenz-Otero told Rubin to cease publishing ads encouraging students to join The Tech. This warning was formally presented in an e-mail on Friday, August 24.

In the e-mail, the ASA said that The Tech could run recruiting ads on its inside pages during orientation in order to fill space. It explicitly forbade The Tech from running ads on the front and back pages, and also prohibited full-page and full-color ads. By the time Saenz-Otero sent the e-mail, The Tech had gone to press with a half-page recruitment ad on its back page.

“We never ran a full-page ad after Wednesday,” Rubin said.

The ASA Executive Committee then met, and decided to impose sanctions immediately.

The initial ruling was to ban The Tech from the Activities Midway. The newspaper appealed this penalty, and the board instead decided to reallocate a portion of The Tech’s office space on the fourth floor of the Student Center. If the appeal is denied, The Tech will lose room 477, currently its business office, after the Independent Activities Period.