By Juan Cavillo
The Associated Student Union elections results announcement was moved to Friday due, to the investigation and disqualification of Jose Pelaez, an ASU presidential candidate, on May 10. Adviser and Dean Sonia Lopez said that she had no comment but that the matter had been handed over to President Marvin Martinez’s office. Pelaez has appealed his disqualification by ASU.
His campaign is accused of using school equipent, which violates ASU election code CB/2. In an email informing Pelaez of his disqualification, ASU wrote that Emiliano Escobar was photographed using ELAC equipment for campaign purposes. ASU identified Escobar as a campaign volunteer, which Pelaez refutes.
“It is highly alarming that the committee and Dean Lopez stated that the person mentioned was a campaign volunteer even though I never included him in the list of campaign volunteers, provided by Anthony Dominguez,” Pelaez wrote in his appeal.
ASU Vice President of Advocacy, Anthony Dominguez said that any further information as it pertains to the election results would come directly from Martinez, and as of this writing, ASU does not know the results of the election.
After the investigation was concluded by ASU, their findings were sent to Martinez so he could render a verdict, but the candidate involved was told of the situation. Thus giving Pelaez time to file an appeal to the president’s office.
Pelaez has said that the violations his campaign has been accused of have no valid argument to them. “It seems that the committee was just trying to fit any argument with any material, without really having valid arguments or proof,” said Pelaez in his appeal to Martinez.
Pelaez said that Escobar was just one of the many students who approached him and showed support by not just voting for him but by doing something more. He said that these students supported him because they identified with him, not because they were volunteers in his campaign.
Pelaez is also accused of posting unauthorized flyers in his campaign. ASU requires that all campaign material be approved, which would put Pelaez in violation if the accusation is true. Pelaez said that the post was not even done on his account. He said it was a friend who was supporting his cause and posting pictures of support. “What I found absolutely incredible is that I provided actual flyers with the account name visible of other candidates, that were not approved,” he said.
Pelaez said that despite filing an appeal, he no longer cares what comes from the decision made by the administration. He said that since May 9, he had already noticed something was amiss. He saw, on ASU’s Instagram, a post that said that the election results were going to be held back until May 24. Minutes later he said that same post was deleted.
He said that he was later sent an email informing him that the results would be postponed until a future date. Dominguez said that he had hoped that the situation would be resolved so that the election results could be revealed the on May 17, but that was not the case. He said that due to the investigation, Pelaez was given time to file an appeal of the situation.
In his appeal to Martinez, Pelaez wrote how his opinion of ELAC, its ASU and the administration has taken a nosedive. He said that he feels isolated for speaking up about the racist things written on his campaign poster during the election.
One of Pelaez’ posters was vandalized during the election process. The poster had his campaign slogan and other information for his campaign. The vandalization said, “You need to speak english first.”
Dominguez said vandalization of the poster was looked into. With ASU asking the sheriff’s department to look into any footage nearby cameras may have captured. Dominguez said the IT department told ASU that only one of the cameras in the area is in working order.
Pelaez said that there was very little done in the form of investigating this very blatant campaign violation compared to the intense investigating that was done in his case of campaign violations.
Pelaez said the way people interact with him at ASU and on campus has changed as well. He feels that he is being seen as a troublemaker simply for bringing focus to the discrimination he felt when his election poster was vandalized.
Pelaez said he even thought the Dream Resource Center was told to no longer associate with him. Brian Henderson Barrick, a DRC student services specialist, had no comment on the matter.
Pelaez felt that him making something out of it has caused people to see him differently. He said the happy faces he saw at ASU before the election, were replaced with somber reactions to his presence.
Pelaez said that he thought the idea was if a student saw something they didn’t like they needed to speak out. He said that he once saw ELAC as his home, but now that has changed.
Pelaez said he will wait for the decision on his appeal but has lost faith in the current administration’s ability to handle situations like this one. He said the inaction of school leaders to the racist vandalization of his poster has left a bad taste in his mouth.
Pelaez said that he will not be returning to ELAC. He said that in the end he hopes that this process will remind people of the struggles undocumented people still go through. “This situation, it will be a reminder that life for undocumented people is not easy. And we need to struggle everyday, even in our own community. And it’s just a reminder, like to keep pushing everyday. I just don’t want to push anymore at ELAC,” Pelaez said.