Liveblogging Klionsky and McElhaney v. The Student Union

I’m waiting for another UJ trial to begin, only this time we’re in the Shapiro Art Gallery and have a magnificently grey view of the rain and the science complex. Nobody is here yet, but I have a feeling it’ll be way too crowded about ten minutes from now.

As we’ve done before, I’m doing the “official” liveblog in this post where I’m supposed to be accurate, and a group of snarky livebloggers will be hilarious in another post, specifically this one.

If you haven’t heard already, Gideon Klionsky and Ryan McElhaney are challenging the constitutionality of the Racial Minority Senator position; they claim that it is inherently discriminatory because, according to the order granting cert,  it “violates sections of both the Student Union Constitution and the University’s policies as laid out in the Rights and Responsibilities Handbook.” McElhaney will be the petitioners’ attourney. The opposing council consists of Jamie Ansorge, Nathan Robinson, and Matthew Kipnis.

Now for the trial.

8:05: Kagan wants people to e-mail the Justices about what they have to say, especially on legal issues, since they want to hear as many voices as possible. NOW IT’S OVER! At 8:06. The Justices will decide in a meeting on another day.

8:04: Sahar: “It’s over!” But it’s not. Ansorge talks about how Rothman should recuse himself based on how he left, but Kagan mention’s Julia’s lateness and says it shouldn’t be required.

8:02: Robinson says that their educational ability was not interfered, since he has five other positions to run for, and that the standard is for an unreasonable interference, which this case does not include. He also says that it’s not unreasonable to make distinctions between white and other discrimination due to history. He thinks that if there’s a constitutional contradiction, it’s holistic. The constitution includes the RMS, therefore it’s constitutional, and that a new constitution must be enacted to determine it. Robinson says this is something that EVERYONE should discuss.

7:59: Nathan Robinson is up. He says the decision hinges on whether there is discrimination in the R and R, and says that the only way to determine this is through the UBSC; it’s their perview, it’s what they do. Jason Gray, Robinson says, is not in charge of this, either, since he deals with enforcing the constitutions. He also says there is a jurisdictional question, but if the UJ can, McElhaney and Klionsky are not being discriminated against. Klionsky, he says, could run for the position, and that the issue if they were denied a certain status is with the university.

7:53: McElhaney says that the RMS position denying white people to run is harrassment, and that lower courts can interpret higher courts and discuss rights and responsibilities. He says that the position adversely affect their educational opportunities. He says that the UJ can take action and should, since he’s claiming that the position creates an adverse environment, because it’s making him feel uncomfortable, and that as long as some white people’ feel their rights are being usurped, something should be done. He suggests suspending the position on investigation of what the community wants. He says the race issue is not compelling enough to violate the rights of specific people. He says the requirement to represent minorities has not been met, and that other senators can understand racial issues. He says racism can occur both ways. He says it’s wrong even “when the opressed becomes the opressor, and the opressor becomes the opressed,” he says, “even in theory”. “ALL PEOPLE” have the same rights, he yells. The audience was giggling at him as he sat down.

7:50: More final statements? Five minutes for each McElhaney and Klionsky.

7:50 Kagan thanks the audience.

7:46: Noam Shushter is up: “Hello again UJ”. She represents the entire community as the Senator-at-Large, she apoligizes to the racial minority community for the existence of the trial. She says that this position is needed, regardless of how good it’s functioning right now. She says there’s another choice here: they’re causing more damage and isolating more people than building someone’s… pause. She thinks it’s destroying more than it can build. She talks about everyone in the room, “and then these two…” pointing at Klionsky and McElhaney. She wants the Justices to consider the people in the room other than bylaws, etc.

7:42: Kay Cook, who identifies herself as white, is up. She supports the RMS seat. She says she feels underrepresented even as a white student… he says she heard some comments that she would deem racists. She says that she couldn’t imagine how hard it would be to relate to the senate as a racial minority given the tension… she feels it’s important to garuntee minority representation. She says she recognizes the existence of white privelage and wouldn’t feel underrepresented with the existence of the RMS. She says the position does not make white people feel inferior. She says she would never seek to vote for the position, she says if she did not accept her white privalege and could change her race on SAGE is alienating to the racial minority community. She thinks any alterations to the position could be voted on by students. Another big applause.

7:35: Brooks steps down. Taisha Sturdivant is up: she says that it’s irresponsible to separate the racial minority senator’s identity with the purpose of the position. She says it’s not just a constitutional issue… that race is not simple, and that the arguments would involve contradictory statements and thus and a matter of the constitutional review board, not the UJ. She says the racial minority senator is important for minority voices in the senate, and won’t say anything about whether the position can be represented by a white student or not. She got laughs from,”My race… yes, I’m black”. She says her fight to keep the position is not that it’s the easiest to hold, but that the needs of minorities need to be met. She says she stands there as an outcast… and that these racial events that coincidentally happen around finals have altered her perception of how their senators don’t have her best interest at hand. BIG applause when she steps down.

7:33: He says that senators should be involved with all of their constituents, and that constituents have an obligation to go to their senators, and encourages racial minorities to run, because they have a high winning rate.

7:28: Kagan’s sick, awww… I think “friends of the court” are speaking now. Andrew Brooks, Executive Senator, is up. He believes that the court has the right to comment on Rights and Responsibilities. He says that lower courts, in the federal government, are obligated to interpret laws, he says the court does, because of the supremacy clause, can interpret federal and local laws, and have the obligation to. He also believes this case is about feelings and shouldn’t be, and should be judged on the law. He finds the view that non-racial minorities cannot be interested in racial issues “repugnant” and untrue.

7:27: I believe Jordan Rothman left for A Capella Fest.

7:24: My bad; it’s been break time for a few minutes.

7:19: Hey, he spoke about ten minutes.

7:19: Even if the court agrees with everything McElhaney says, they must agree that the end decision should be left up to the student body. And sits down. “Sorry if I was yelling,” he says.

7:17: Ansorge continues that Klionsky and McElhaney are not victims of harassment, since they are not racial minorities, since they have the opportunity to register if they so see it. He says there’s a compelling interest to not dismantle RMS. He says his 1990 document addresses the need for the position to represent the needs of racial minorities on campus… and that diverse opinions are vital for a democratic dialogue.

7:15: He says that a senator by definition represents a majority because it represents a majority vote, and that they don’t have a case since the Senators are elected by majority vote. He says there’s a reason that the RMS position only allows racial minorities to run… he says that Klionsky could have run and should have taken his issue up with the university… and says there are five other positions for with both Klionsky and McElhaney to run.

7:11: Ansorge is getting up. He’s saying the main legal issue is the interpretation of the supremacy clause, which says that the Union is not responsible of enforcing university and local/national laws. Ansorge also says that the enforcement lays in the executive, not in the judiciary. He says this violates university policy; also, these allogations need to be made by university, federal, or local forces. Ansorge continues that the interpretation of discrimination is not under the juristiction of the Union. He’s also arguing over the definition of discrimination… there is no hostility or aversion towards white people within the RMS position. He says they could contest it in the UBSC.

7:10: He’s repeating the “it’s not fair” argument. He sits down.

7:07: He’s been talking for more than 20 minutes, you guys. He’s saying this is a slippery slope. He says that anyone has the right to be uncomfortable despite their race. He says the position violates every principle of democratic values….I didn’t get what he said before he yelled, “UNJUST!”. He’s talking directly to the audience right now, and kind of yelling. “How is this fair to anyone?”

7:04: He wants the Justices to consider the non-discrimination policy. He says that the UJ has a responsibility to get rid of policies that contradict other parts of the constitution. He also says the UJ has the right to view this case because they granted it cert, and because it deals with constitutionality.

7:00: He says that these positions raise pigeonholing concerns, especially with racial relations. He says that there is also the problem of tokenization, and should be treated with concern. He also wants to speak about the limitations of the UJ… he says the appropriate bodies of law and responsibility are the Union and the Rights and Responsibilities. He says that the Student Union government doesn’t have to punish people for pot but do have a responsibility for this… he says to invoke the Union’s ability to not enforce certain laws is “dispicable”.

6:56: He says that a member of the student body who is white could register as an “other” in the university. He says the position allows for gaps in definitions, and that the def in the constitution is underly specific, in that it lumps groups together. He also says it is the least restrictive possible- he  recommends town halls; he also says that there can be a special interest senator that can deal with special interest groups. He says the latter  is problematic.

6:52: McElhaney is saying that equity is impossible because the RMS position would require a bunch more senators, including a queer senator, international senator, etc, and wants to make clear that he doesn’t approve of a white senator… he thinks it’s “dispicable”, just as dispicable as any other position that would discriminate, which he says includes RMS. He says that there is no necessity for the Union to take this into its own hands; he also says there should be a compelling government interest to continue it. Secondly, he says the policy is not specific of what constitutes a racial minority.

6:50: He discusses the Communications Representative position made in ’94, which was created to represent racial minority issues… any member of the Senate could be elected to serve in that position. He says that preventing anyone from running or voting for any position is unconstitutional.

6:46: He also wants to talk about why voting is important. He says that the note in the constitution that everyone should be able to vote is one of the most important cornerstones of democracy… he says that other senators have the capacity to deal with racial issues. He says he thinks his voice is not invalid in these issues. He says his skin should never keep him from having his voice heard. He says that participation in elections is just as important.

6:45: He’s asking what the spirit of the bylaw against discrimination means, and says that the eligibility to vote or run based on race is beyond the bounds of the constitution and a form of discrimination and will not be tolerated. “Any harassment is intolerable”. He says this is “intimidating and hostile as a white person.”

6:41: McElhaney says his final speech will go longer than 10 minutes. Five questions to ask: First, whether the position violates the Union constitution and university policy. He says the constitution should inherently ensure these laws are delt with. He says that the UBSC doesn’t have the scope to deal with the Union or the Union constitution; that is only possible under the UJ. Second, he’s arguing that the Union is discriminating based on race, since race is a protected class. Third, he wants to make sure that ALL people should be respected and free despite race, and that since the RMS position does so it should be eliminated.

6:38: Should we call Andy Hogan, president elect, to the stand? Let’s argue about it. We’re not calling him to the stand, since- I think- next year doesn’t matter as much in everyone’s argumentation.

6:36: One last question. The audience sighs, and Kagan tells them that McElhaney has the right to ask questions. Silverstein-Tapp says that being a part of a community and not having a vote within that community doesn’t mean you don’t have a stake in it, in terms of her relationship with the Racial Minority Senator position.

6:32: Pause. mcElhaney is thinking of a good phrasing for this question: “Do you think it’s essentially just to discriminate based on race no matter what?” He clarified what he meant and Silverstein-Tapp says, “Yes”. “Is this a good thing for this university?” She says that institutional racism should be addressed. She goes through her definition of racism, which involves systematic privalege and power. McElhaney: “But what about Brandeis?” The audience reacts negatively. Silverstein-Tapp says that Brandeis is the real world.

6:31: Silverstein-Tapp says you shouldn’t be able to vote if something doesn’t represent you. She says the position is supposed to be a support system to address the history and realities of racial discrimination on campus. “McElhaney asks her if she thinks this overrides the democratic system on campus.” She does.

6:29: McElhaney asks it’s okay if something’s offending the largest group of students. The audience boos.

6:26: McElhaney is asking questions now. “Who represents your racial beliefs to the Senate?” She says the only position designed to do that is the RMS position. McElhaney asks her if it’s unfair if she’s not allowed to vote even if she’s passionate, she says, “…because I’m genuinely invested, I’m able to communicate my concerns in other ways.”

6:23: New witness! Ariel Silverstein-Tapp , says she’s white and that the majority of her friends identify themselves as a racial minorities, and that she’s involved in the TYP program. She says she feels like she is not being discriminated against in the RMS position. She says knowledge of experience is different than lived experience. She does not feel as if she’s systematically discriminated against in the RMS position.

6:22: McElhaney’s argument is that he disagrees with the concept of privilege… he establishes that there are different standards at work here.

6:18: McElhaney says the scholarship doesn’t specify criteria for racial/ethnic minorities. Mohamed doesn’t know. McElhaney’s asking her if there’s a position that racial minority students could not vote for, if this would be racism. Mohamed says yes, but that” race isn’t equitable between whites and non-whites.” She says the same argument can’t be used due to white privelage. She repeats to McElhaney after another question that discrimination between whites and non-whites are not parallel. Mohamed: “Race does matter, and taking a colorblind approach” wouldn’t work.
6:16: Robinson asked a couple questions, and sat down. Kagan says the Women’s Research Center is separate from the university, but associated with it, and I believe she’s saying it’s therefore not reflective of university policy.

6:14: Document time. It’s a scholarship, so McElhaney objects. Ansorge says it’s a document reflecting university policy that allows benefits for racial minority students specifically. We’re discussing it.

6:11: Mohamed was a senator last year, founded the Mixed Heritage club, and a member of pretty much every racial minority group ever. She says she’s actively involved in these issues, which interest her. Mohamed says people feel that the RMS position represents them, they want to have it in the government, and they want it in how decisions are made.

6:10: Kaamila Mohamed to the stand. McElhaney objects because he thinks the witness will make points that have already been made. She’s allowed up.

6:08: Ansorge says there’s a difference between “must get rid of the position” and “should” get rid of the position. Justices say they’ll consider it.

6:07: Kagan says she’s aware that there are better ways to deal with this, but that that’s not what the case is about. Ansorge says it’s important for the UJ to consider their power in this case, and considers this argument to be a compelling interest.

6:05: Justice Judah says “I don’t want to turn this into a public spectacle.” It already is, though, sadly. A Justice suggests that there might be a post-trial to get out frustrations.

6:02: Judah asks Souffrage if he would feel comfortable if a non-racial minority changed his status with the registrar to run. Souffrage says that if he truly believes that he can…. he says he’s very frustrated. Justices are apologizing to the courtroom for all the bullshit going on. The “bullshit” part is not all that unbiased, but… yeah, people are upset. comments making people upset.

6:00: Souffrage is talking about racial privelage- skin color, as opposed to other kinds of privilege. He’s trying to explain privilege to McElhaney… McElhaney still doesn’t get it (“does that mean we can have a white senator?”), and the audience keeps talking. McElhaney is saying that discrimination works both ways.

5:56: McElhaney’s questioning. Souffrage says he probably wouldn’t feel uncomfortable if no African American students were on the Senate as long as someone could understand. McElhaney is asking what he means- he says he might be more qualified for the RMS position since he grew up in the inner-city and poor. Someone in the audience says, “No you’re not.” Kagan bangs the gavel.

5:54: Ansorge question about why the RMS position was instated and what would happen if it’s taken away based on the document’s reasoning is deemed speculative. Now he’s asking Souffrage would feel if the position would remove. He says he “ran for this position because… I wanted to make a change in this community.”  So he wouldn’t feel too good about it. People snap their fingers.

5:52: The document deals with the Union’s official statement regarding the position of racial minorities on campus; McElhaney says it’s too admissions oriented, and Klionsky says it’s about restructuring and not about the Union. Kagan says go on.

5:48: Ansorge is asking questions. There’s a large pause, I don’t know WHAT for. The document up for review is from the archives; it’s a Blueprint for Renewal… a really long title. From the 70’s, I think ’72 to ’77? Authors are a bunch of senators, unanimously approved by the student body, I think? So it’s a Student Union document. Oh, okay. Could have just said.

5:46: One senator is African American at the moment, and that if the RMS position is eliminated there will be no more African American students in the Senate. Souffrage says that he feels he has “no way to get his voice out there,” if the position is eliminated.

5:44: McElhaney is arguing that racial diversity can occur without the position, I think? We’re moving on! Good, I got lost.

5:44: Robinson says this objection is untimely because the racial/ethnic makeup of the Senate was discussed earlier.

5:39: Robinson is back up. The Justices discussed how the ethnicity makeup of the Senate can change every year; and one (is it Julia?) says it’s beyond the scope of what UJ can deal with in this trial. She says that race does not determine what someone’s purpose on the Senate is. Robinson says that if the RMS position does not exist, African American students would not be adequately represented on the Senate, and resentment…. McElhaney says they can be represented by anyone.

5:36: McElhaney: “Do you think white people have an opinion on racial issues?” Souffrant: “Yes.” Uh, I don’t think McElhaney understands what privilege is. Souffrant repeats that the racial minority senator is needed for a particular reason. McElhaney: “Do you think it’s fair that racial minority senators get extra representation…. purely based on race? Do you think that’s fair?” (there was info in there about the senators racial minority students have available that I wasn’t able to transcribe)Souffrant: “They deserve more.”

5:31: McElhaney’s asking questions. Souffrant says that it’s possible for students to consult their quad senator for issues, and explains that he would feel comfortable talking to Kamerin about his issues because he can understand them more. McElhaney is asking if a white student could ask questions that concern them to a racial minority senator, and if there should be a “white senator”. Souffrant says no, of course, because if you look through history, racial minorities have been discriminated against. He’s talking about Ford Hall and the reasons the RMS position was created.

5:27: JV Souffrant is up, Robinson’s asking him why he’s running for the RMS. He wants to prove why the RMS position is valuable in itself, enough to reasonably violate Klionsky’s ability to run for RMS. JV Souffrant says that he’s running because it’s important to the minority community, who feel they don’t get as much exposure as people in minority groups. He does not feel that racial minority students are not well represented in the Senate. Souffrant says that the RMS must serve his constituency.

5:24: The choir is making this break feel EPIC.

5:20: Break! There’s a loud choir in the atrium. We’ll be back in three minutes or so.

5:17: Judah asks if we should establish a sexual orientation senator, Gray says it’s a really good question to ask (it really is), and says he would approve of finding a better way to establish a process to see how the GLBT community could be better represented.

5:16: Ansorge will ask a question based on racial representation, which he objected about, BUT it asks how many African American students are on the Senate, and there is one: Kamerin, the Racial Minority Senator.

5:14: Gray says that the only thing that can override the constitution is public opinion. Also that he can bring a group of officials together for change to the constitution, and he would be happy to start discussion for Klionsky and McElhaney.

5:11: McElhaney: “It isn’t as if racial minorities are not given adequate representation in the Senate.”  Also, “As a white person here, am I secured that I am given adequate representation in the Senate?” Gray thinks so. And he also thinks that there’s a difference between representation for a minority and a majority. Gray says racial minorities “don’t feel they get what the university could provide for them.”

5:08: Gray is explaining why the Senate positions are most often filled by non-racial minorities is a structural problem, he says it’s institutional before Ansorge objects again and his objection is sustained. McElhaney asks Gray what the RMS is for. Ansorge questions the Justices over Gray’s right as a witness. Kagan: “He’s required to answer questions”.

5:07: McElhaney: “Do you think that a white person can represent all white people?” Ansorge: “Objection, Jason isn’t an expert on racial representation!” Kagan turns McElhaney’s question down because it’s a legal argument, I think.

5:05: McElhaney is asking how many Senators are racial minorities. “Do you think that there is a problem with racial minorities being elected to the senate?” He clarifies, and Gray answers that he thinks there are structural barriers to elections… “just because there are South Asian students on the Senate” doesn’t mean that… I think it was that all racial minorites feel their voices heard.

5:03: Gray is reading the clause on clubs that says there can’t be discrimination of any kind… Gray says that RMS exclusion is not discriminatory due to the options available for everyone.

5:02: Gray says questions of constitutionality doesn’t deal with university, federal, or local policy; McElhaney says it it can be. Gray says all questions of constitutionality are referred to in the UJ… and Klionsky and McElhaney are challenging constitutionality.

4:59: Gray says that his actions must be in accordance to the constitution, but the R and R aren’t under his perview, which is the difference between enactment and enforcement. McElhaney is asking if Gray if there is an obligation of the Student Union to declare the RMS position unconstitutional. YES OR NO. Gray asks if he can give a nuanced answer, and he can: the Union can’t deal with the R and R, but can if they’re told to by someone with authority.

4:55: McElhaney: “Are we suing you, Jason?” Gray: “It’s unclear”. He’s also explaining the parts of the constitution that say Gray is not responsible for enforcing things in the R and R, only the constitution. McElhaney: “You’re not responsible for enforcement, but you are responsible for enactment?” OMG WHY DID THEY CHOOSE DIFFERENT WORDS? McElhaney asks Gray to stop explaining when he’s trying to explain the difference/similarity.

4:54: Ansorge has to prove that Gray is an expert of the constitution so the UJ can affim him as one, even though he’s required to enforce it.

4:52: Ansorge is asking Gray about the supremacy clause’s history (the supremacy clause deals with the idea that the Union follows laws but isn’t responsible for enforcing them); Gray says he can’t be held legally accountable by the attorney generals of both MA and the US. Everyone laughs.

4:48: They’ve decided that the process doesn’t need to be explained in the court since it’s in the constitution. Ansorge moves on. Gray is an expert of the constitution! Ansorge can’t ask questions over who can hear violations of non-union law. Gray says that if the dean required him to do something, he “would have to listen to him”. In cases where something might violate the R and R, Sawyer would come directly to him and talk about it.

4:45: Ansorge argues that the UJ can force the president to do something…. I didn’t catch McElhaney’s argument (sorry sorry sorry), but Kagan is inclined to agree. Ansorge says it isn’t democratic for the UJ to hear the case. The UJ is deciding whether his question to Gray about altering the constitution is relevant or not.

4:44: Gray, after lots of debate over Ansorge’s questions and an awkward pause: “Should I just answer the question?”

4:41: Jason Gray is on the stand. Ansorge: “Are you the student union president, Jason?” His duty is to run the government as an orginization, and he might have said “guide” in there somewhere, too. Also, he’s supposed to uphold the constitution, according to the constitution. Ansorge asks him about the constitutional review process, presumably because Gray could have altered the constitution himself and the “public interest” could be aided if the decision could be made outside the UJ.

4:38: McElhaney’s asking questions. I wish he could stand up so I can see him. Registering as a racial minority requires the check of a box, according to Chattergee, and says “I guess” when McElhaney asks if somebody can just make something up. Ansorge: “Objection, she’s not an expert on the Union Constitution”. Kagan: “Your objection’s…. untimely.” His objection that Chattergee can’t answer questions on whether someone is a minority or not is sustained; somebody pats Ansorge on the back.

4:36: Kent has stepped down from the witness stand. Chattergee, Union Secretary is up. Ansorge asks her questions, providing the e-mail from her to Klionsky denying him the ability to run as evidence. The e-mail says that Klionsky couldn’t run for the RMS position because only members of a racial minority can do so. Also, it’s the university’s job to decide who runs for the position or not.

4:34: Kent says there are sanctions (requirements) and reccomendations, which are based on “what we hope”. She says that if legal information is needed, someone could question Sawyer, and….? I missed who people could contact, but it probably wasn’t the UJ.

4:31: Kent’s describing UBSC orientation due to Justice Kagan’s request. Kagan also asks if Jason Gray were guilty  (“responsible!”) in a trial through the UBSC, what they would do. They would determine after a trial with the general council; everyone would make suggestions for the sanction and discuss it… Kent says their range for the sanctions run from “no sanction” to “expulsion”.

4:26: Ansorge up. Kent reads a part of the R and R that the university should try to prevent harassment. McElhaney up.  Kent: “Aw, I thought I wasn’t an expert.” There’s confusion over his question, which is asking if the UBSC is the only orginization that can judge whether a violation of the Rights and Responsibilities has occurred. Kent says that it is.

4:23: McElhaney asking more questions. Kent repeats that individuals and series of individuals can hold cases. Over and over again, because she keeps getting asked the same question.

4:22: Kent says that the general council of the university deals with legal issues; the UBSC and the general council are seperate entities but often work concurrently.

4:20: Ansorge asking questions again. Kent says there is a tradition in the USBC to not allow people to hold a referral against an organization like the Student Union. Sawyer (the dean) and Lemar (??) review these cases. Kent says there’s nothing specific in the R and R that prevents people from holding a case against something like the Student Union.

4:18: There’s a dispute over where this case should be held, and against who. Kent says Tia Chattergee, who sent the e-mail to Klionsky that denied him from running for the RMS position, or anyone else involved in the Senate could have been listed in the case, but outside of the R and R, the USBC couldn’t deal with anything in the constitution.

4:15: Kent says that the UBSC find people regarding specific instances, and they also go through R and R to see if there are any changes they should make due to legal issues. She says she’s here to make it clear that the UJ is not hear to make claims based on the Rights and Responsibilities. If Klionsky felt personally victimized by an individual or several individuals, Kent says, he could go to the UBSC.

4:12: Ryan’s asking questions now. Ansorge: “Objection, she’s not an expert of the constitution!” McElhaney: “Just answer my question.” Kent: “I thought that I was.” McElhaney is rephrasing the question a lot. “Do you have expert testimony on the constitutional issue in front of the issue?” Kent: “No.”

4:10: “The UJ has no jurisdiction over the rights and responsibilities…. and the UBSC has no jurisdiction over understanding the Student Union Constitution.” She says people can interpret it, though.

4:07: Jess Kent is on the stand, Ansorge asking questions. She’s involved in the UBSC, which hears cases regarding violations of the Student Rights and Responsibility. She says the UJ deals with the constitution and general council; the University Board of Student Conduct deals with rights violation. She says only the UBSC is able to make decisions on violations of the R+R; and that the UBSC creates their own sanction based on a trial and the dean approves it.

4:06: Klionsky says that it would be dishonest to lie about one’s minority to run, like “saying you’re Native American.” Ha. He both identifies as white and Ashkenazi.

4:02: McElhaney is asking questions again. Klionsky says that the position prevented him from participating fully in an extracurricular activity, which means discrimination. Ansorge gets up and asks him about his previous racial minority status… Klionsky says that “such things don’t stick in my head”, and that admits that if he had registered as a racial minority, which he can be registered as, he would be able to run.

3:59: Kipnis is asking questions now. Klionsky says he was registered as a racial minority, which surprised him. He didn’t go before the administration or student board of conduct, just student union process. He also didn’t go to any of the senators representing him to address this.

3:58: Klionsky says there are lots of options for people to ask their senators for help on racial issues, white or no. Also, he “comes from the land of Obama”.

3:56: Gideon Klionsky is our first witness; he’s attempting to run for the position. He put his name on the candidate’s list last year; several days afterward he sent an e-mail to the commissioner asking if he would be allowed to do so; he was not due to racial qualifications. So he filed the petition. He says he feels “there is racial tension on campus, but doesn’t understand the position of a racial minority senator… why race is a protected class, for example sexual orientation… why there isn’t one for all the other protected classes such as the example.”

3:51: Kipnis is up for the defense. Says the burden of the plaintiff that the position is contradictory to the constitution. He says that McElhaney and Klionsky’s rights are not violated by the constitution. I didn’t do this speech justice, so I’ll quote the snark blog, which I don’t completely endorse, you guys, even though I’m quoting it for info: “Is the RMS position discriminatory? No. This position is constitutionally mandated by some clause. The University Rights and Responsibilities are kindasorta not really applicable to this situation. So what do we do? Huh? Ryan is not being interfered with or prejudiced against, they could have run for other shit [my words, not his]. The RMS is intended to deal with racial issues at Brandeis. This type of advocacy is necessary. Cool people like Kaamila will talk about this later. Debate is good, but the UJ is not the proper forum for this, because the Union is not responsible for University policies. Deal with the UBSC for that shit. Someone from the UBSC will talk later, too.”

3:49: McElhaney says it’s prejudice for a Senator to walk down the street and think “constituent” “non-constituent” based on the color of their skin. He says it’s a big problem and sits down.

3:47: Ryan McElhaney is starting. He says he doesn’t think there’s any reason to “choose any person over any other person due to the color of their skin.” Sigh. “It’s not fair.” Three major points: 1.Exclusion=discrimination problem, 2. UJ can deal with this case, 3. Problem is systemic and rooted in greater problems at the university and Senate.

3:46: It’s been fifteen minutes, and Justice Julia isn’t here yet, but she’ll be here shortly, according to Justice Kagan. But we have quorum and we’re starting!


6 thoughts on “Liveblogging Klionsky and McElhaney v. The Student Union”

  1. Klionsky does realize that being ashkenazi at brandeis does not make you a racial minority, right?

  2. question:

    It seems to me that no one has discussed the origin of the RMS position and why it exists. Does anyone know the answer to this question?

  3. “4:31: Kent’s describing UBSC orientation due to Justice Kagan’s request. Kagan also asks if Jason were guilty (”responsible!”) in a trial through the UBSC, what they would do. They would determine after a trial with the general council; everyone would make suggestions for the sanction and discuss it… Kent says their range for the sanctions run from “no sanction” to “expulsion”.”

    Do you think the UBSC could expel the Student Union? Cause this gives me so great ideas…..

Comments are closed.