Given that you’re a Jewish student and very active in the Jewish community […] how do you see yourself being able to maintain an unbiased view in your position?
– Fabienne Roth, Undergraduate Students Association Council (USAC) General Representative
Aside from the things you do have listed in your application and your resume, I was just wondering do you see yourself as having any certain specific political affiliations that might in anyway constitute that sort of conflict of interest?
– Morris Sarafian, Director of the Bruin Lobby Corps, UCSA Legislative Director
So my issue is, I’m going to be up front about it, I think she’s clearly great, she’s smart, she knows her stuff, she’s probably going to be a really great lawyer, but I’m not going to pretend and sit here that this isn’t about certain conflict of interest cases, when it think it is every time. I look at these appointments and I feel like we should be working on a way to make sure that we make things better at USAC, and leave a legacy that is not constantly being more divisive towards things, and like I just think this is a super political move, and that really bugs me, and that’s how I see it. I can’t separate that, I’m sorry. It’s not her fault, she’s [inaudible], but she’s got a community that’s very invested in USAC and in very specific outcomes that Judicial boards make decisions on every year, and I can’t separate those two from being, like, not together, and even though she is talented, even though she would be the right person for the job, i just don’t see it as a feasible thing to appoint someone who might take sides, that would, like, be mixed.
– Fabienne Roth
For some reason, I’m not 100% comfortable. I don’t know why. I’ll go through her application again — I’ve been going through it constantly, but I can see that she’s qualified for sure… but I just worry about her political affiliations obviously.
– Negeen Sadeghi-Movahed, USAC Transfer Student Representative
The issue isn’t that she’s Jewish, [inaudible], obviously that’s terrible, I would never deny someone something because they’re Jewish or because of antisemitism, but with this specific case, and these are cases we see every year, and this appointment is going to go for years, and I understand the significance of this [Judicial] Board position. I don’t want it to become like, “oh this is because she’s Jewish and you’re antisemitic!” that’s not what it is, at all.
– Fabienne Roth
The only thing for me is that this particular position, [inaudible] contentiousness around it, is just because of the fact that you are supposed to vote with [inaudible]. I think that, exactly, it has nothing to do with the fact that she’s Jewish, it’s just the fact that you have to somehow maintain a neutral stance. And naturally when you describe yourself as neutral [inaudible], especially if you don’t question this ever, [inaudible] I dunno.
– Manjot Singh, USAC General Representative
This is supposed to be an unbiased position making decisions on keeping us accountable, and us in check, and we are not good at keeping in check because clearly we keep being brought up for [Justice] Board cases for conflicts of interest, and I’d like to know that the people who are keeping the future councilors in check are gonna make sure we try and steer, get right bound, on the correct path of making [inaudible] try and leave a legacy that’s actually about trying to make UCLA better, and move away from constant state puppets. I can’t say that in a delicate way, I can’t.
– Fabienne Roth
[The Judicial] Board uses the USAC definition of conflict of interest, and in the bylaws, it has literally “divided loyalty” or “the appearance of divided loyalty.” Apparently there is an appearance of divided loyalty, people feel that a conflict of interest has been constituted. And I feel like also the fact that she kept giving vague answers when a simple legal analysis [inaudible] kinda shows me that maybe she hasn’t done the right homework. I feel like an “invested interest” [Beyda’s description] is not what USAC bylaw is. I would have just liked if she, I feel like it would have been much better if when asked these conflict of interest questions she gave us the definition that’s the honest truth, I’m not implying that she’s lying, I’m not implying anything i’m just saying she could have given a better answer to the conflict of interest questions.
– Morris Sarafian
The above quotes are all taken from a meeting of the UCLA USAC which occurred on 2/10/15. A full recording of the proceedings may be viewed here, with additional commentary from Ha’Am, UCLA’s Jewish news magazine.