The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

ASG president retains legal counsel

ASG President Steve Macias. Photo by || Cecilio Padilla || [email protected] ||

Editor’s Note: Since the beginning of the semester there has been controversy surrounding our ASG president. In an effort to clarify the issues, the Express offers this article as a rough timeline.

Recently reinstated after a failed recall effort and brief suspension, Associated Student Government President Steve Macias now faces impeachment and has refused to directly comment on the situation, instead referring all questions to his attorney.

“An application form to impeach Macias was submitted on November 2, 2009, to the judicial branch of the ASG Board. This process runs only through the ASG and is not a college or district process,” City College Public Information Officer Amanda Hamilton said.

Macias in an Oct. 27 Express interview said the recall election, which resulted from the anti-abortion display held during Constitution Day Sept. 16, infringed upon his freedom of speech. But according to Kathryn Jeffery, president of City College, freedom of speech is not the issue.

Macias has chosen to forward all media inquiries, including questions from the Express, to his attorney, David Hacker of the Alliance Defense Fund. ADF is described on its Web site as “a legal alliance of Christian attorneys and like-minded organizations defending the right of people to freely live out their faith.”

The ADF Web site states Macias “informed ADF attorneys that he refused to censor a pro-life group’s display on the grounds that ASG had already approved the group to participate in the school’s Constitution Day and that censoring them would violate the group’s First Amendment rights. ASG then subjected him to a recall election.”

The recall process was initiated when a petition circulated by students was submitted to ASG. According to Jeffery, the pro-life group was never censored.

“The Constitution Day activities of ASG were conducted with no wrongdoing on the part of the ASG or any college personnel. The college was fair and objective in its treatment of all vendors present at Constitution Day and the day before,” Jeffery explained. “There was no attempt to silence any student points of view or those of participating vendors. Freedom of speech at our college means everyone’s voice is important, not just the voices of those who talk the loudest or who enlist others to carry their message.”

The anti-abortion display, brought by representatives of the Genocide Awareness Project, was on campus for two days, while Constitution Day was only scheduled for one. The GAP was never asked to shut down the display, according to Jeffery. The display’s graphic presentation of aborted fetuses compared abortion to the Holocaust and African Americans being lynched. It sparked strong debate among students, staff and faculty.

“If we had known in a forthright way that the display was going to be on campus for Constitution Day, we could have prepared for their arrival,” Jeffery said. “It could have allowed us to communicate to the faculty that this particular display had graphic representations, so that when they brought their students out for Constitution Day they could have prepared them for what they were going to see.”

The campus did not settle down once the display was gone. A petition for a recall election began against Macias and Student Affairs Commissioner Monica Guzman Sept. 17.

ASG Commissioner of Public Relations Justin Turner summed up why Macias and Guzman were being recalled in an earlier interview with the Express.

“President Steve Macias has broken constitutional bylaws such as not posting the agenda and not being present at meetings, even prior to the recall,” he said.

“She had too many unexcused absences before the recall election hit,” he said of Guzman. “We just removed her and appointed someone new.”

More than 600 votes were placed in the recall election, and more than half of those were in favor of recalling Macias, according to ASG Vice President Debby Dixon. Violations of an open-meeting law known as the Brown Act, however, led to the results being nullified.

Express staffer and former online news editor Luke Otterstad brought the first Brown Act violation to Jeffery’s attention Oct. 28.

“He [Otterstad] … had a photo of the announcement for the meeting where ASG would discuss whether or not to recall,” Jeffery explained. “On the flier he pointed out that the time was missing and that was a violation of the Brown Act.”

Otterstad said he found out about the violation from Macias.

According to Christopher Fiala, the online Express editor-in-chief, Otterstad was not assigned to the recall coverage.

“Mr. Otterstad was not on Express business when he talked to Dr. Jeffery on Oct. 28,” Fiala said. “The advisers and myself were not aware he had set up the meeting and he was not assigned to write any such story.”

Otterstad, who made national headlines in 2004 for his part in a Minnesota Supreme Court ruling related to his part in an anti-abortion display similar to the one presented by GAP, was later asked to resign his editorial position by a unanimous decision of the Express editorial staff due to an apparent conflict of interest in coverage of the topic.
“I realize there’s some apparent controversy about whether or not I was going beyond my role as editor,” Otterstad explained, referring to his actions during the recall election. “If I don’t know anything on my own, how can I even do an adequate role as an editor on that story?”

Otterstad’s find was the catalyst that led Jeffery to look deeper into the recall process, but it wasn’t the sole reason that the election was voided, according to Jeffery.
Thirdly, there is Developmental Psychology, which is the study of Dr. order cheap viagra Suffering from erectile dysfunction or male impotence? It is a condition, when a man does not receive proper sexual potency to get enjoyment of a physical viagra for women uk intimacy. So, if you want to buy different hookah sticks for yourself or to gift your friends or relatives, you can easily try over here orden viagra viagra buy it from this online store. Some forms of congenital heart disease might remain hidden and only cialis no rx the cause of this problem could be adulthood.
Jeffery also noticed that the meeting notice was not posted in an area where it could be visible for 24 hours, which was another Brown Act violation. Jeffery said she turned to Michael Poindexter, vice president of student services, to investigate Otterstad’s claim and to double-check the steps taken by the ASG.

On advice from the Los Rios Community College District’s attorney, the recall election was found in violation of the Brown Act and declared void.

“Our role is to only make sure students are following their policies and procedures,” Poindexter said. “We are a learning college, students are always learning, we’re always learning. When things became problematic, ASG corrected it. Our students always represent us well and I’m always proud of our students.”

Lee Weathers-Miguel, adviser to the ASG board, has been called out publicly through the media by Macias. In an interview with the Express on Oct. 27, Macias expressed that he felt Weathers-Miguel had a personal agenda against him and that the school was definitely working against him.

“I’ve talked to Lee a couple of times and he’s trying to help the student government get over this hurdle,” Jeffery said. “It’s unfortunate that he has become a target in all of this because I don’t think that’s right, to be very honest.”

Weathers-Miguel stated that from an adviser’s perspective, Macias’ actions and absence from his responsibilities as president shows the ASG Board his disinterest in representing the student body.

On Nov. 2, the ASG senate passed a resolution to suspend Macias from his duties as president, according to Hamilton.

“In the absence of his participation as president, the ASG senate voted to suspend his duties indefinitely so that ASG activities can continue,” Hamilton said.

Macias’s suspension was short-lived, however.

On Nov. 5, City College officials received a cease-and-desist letter from Hacker and the ADF containing a list of demands.

In the letter, ADF stated that Macias “has been singled out for discriminatory treatment by College officials simply because he is Christian” and demanded the recall results be voided because the ASG’s actions during the Oct. 21 meeting were null and void due to Brown Act violations.

Further demands included full reinstatement of Macias’ presidential duties and protection from “further retaliation by Lee Weathers-Miguel, Michael Poindexter and the ASG.”

The timing of the cease-and-desist letter may have prevented it from having any impact, however.

“The ASG recall election had already been determined invalid several days before the letter was received. Consequently, there was nothing to ‘cease or desist,’” Jeffery explained. “Further, the letter I received from the Alliance Defense Fund had no bearing on the decision of the ASG to rescind their suspension.”

Macias was reinstated in full on Nov. 5, but continues to remain absent, hindering ASG from moving forward, Jeffery said. Several attempts have been made to contact Macias, but her phone calls remain unreturned.

“I have learned that the meetings that they [ASG] normally have on a weekly basis have not been posted properly, which then means if they’re not posted, the student government can’t have a meeting,” Jeffery explained.

“He [Macias] has not met with the college president or regularly attended the executive council meetings, which is part of his responsibilities as ASG president. He’s not made the appointments for all of the college committees, which is one of the ASG president’s responsibilities. So in terms of conducting himself, I have to say those are some things I’m aware of that he has not done.”

“The board just wants to concentrate on the students,” Turner said. “As a board, we are trying to regroup in the right direction so we can better serve the students. I want to reassure the student body that we are working to get back on track.”

Jeffery said she believes that the ASG is trying to do the right thing, despite past events,

“I think it’s hard to be effective as an ASG when you have something like this interfering,” Jeffery said. “With all the distractions, Steve Macias has not been focused on many aspects of his role as ASG president during the first months of his term. As a result, students of Sacramento City College have started to question his leadership ability and his overall intentions. This lack of student leadership is very unfair to the students of the college. However, on a positive note, this has certainly been a learning opportunity for all involved.”

The Express has tried several times to contact Macias and his attorney for comment, but no response has been received.

Click to enlarge


Donate to The Express

Your donation will support the student journalists of Sacramento City College. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Express