SBCC Student Senate discusses removing senator after absences

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OTHMAN MECHKOR, Channels Staff

In an unusually tense meeting on Friday, the Associated Student Senate discussed the possibility of removing Sen. Ethan Bertrand, Isla Vista representative, for missing too many meetings.

Bertrand has served on the senate for over a year and has been an active member in improving Isla Vista’s image and giving it a voice.

The senate debated whether Bertrand is now in jeopardy of losing his position on the senate due to missing an excess of meetings.*

The student senate discussed instating the rule that five total absences will result in removal from one’s position.

Amy Collins, student program adviser, stated that Bertrand hasn’t been in attendance because of his responsibilities in Isla Vista.

But Sen. Isaac Eaves, student senate president, firmly disagreed.

“His main job isn’t to be in Isla Vista representing us, it’s half and half,” answered Eaves. “He’s supposed to be here representing Isla Vista so we can make decisions based on that information.”

Eaves stressed that he did not want to make a final decision without Bertrand being present.

“His reasons are always Isla Vista events, but there’s a fine line between his events and him supposed to be here,” Eaves said.

The senate hasn’t had to remove a senator so far this semester.

Sen. Dylan Raiman suggested that the executive committee practice its discretion in this matter, and not to be too strict with the consequences.

“The problem is, it should be discretionary, but up to a certain point” Eaves responded. “You’re missing one third of the meetings, it’s like come on, you’re on the senate.”

Eaves also acknowledged Bertrand’s busy schedule, but said there were still too many absences.

“There might be other problems that are completely excusable, but you’re still missing meetings,” Eaves said. “You should be focusing on other problems and not the senate at that point.”

Sen. Bryanna Siguenza, vice president of external affairs, said they’d had previous discussions about attendance.

“He knew that after two he would be under revision, pretty much four for removal,” Siguenza said. “He knew that he wasn’t supposed to miss that many, we talked about it.”

“We can’t do anything permanent,” said Sen. Lexi Valas, student senates clubs commissioner.

“Technically it is in our constitution, we can do whatever we want,” Siguenza replied. “After two he’ll be under revision, then he’ll go to the executive committee. We decided that up to five of them you’ll just absolutely be kicked off.”

Sen. Daniela Moreno wanted to make sure she had all of the facts before voting on taking disciplinary action against Bertrand.

“I love Ethan, it’s not like a personal thing, I’m trying to make it fair for everyone,” said Moreno.

Sen. Trevor Leung, who is typically quiet, spoke up to say, “I think he should get one more chance, but that’s me anyway.”

The senate voted to postpone the discussion item until next week.

Sens. Bryanna Siguenza, Josh Villanueva and Yeihoon Choi objected to waiting, and wanted to vote at that meeting. Sen. Jonathan Rodriguez abstained.

*A previous version of this article stated Bertrand is now in jeopardy of losing his position. While the student senate did discuss his removal at their meeting, at an Executive Board meeting held Monday, April 18, the senate executive board formally excused Bertrand of his absences and stated he was not up for removal.