EDITORIAL: DASB SENATE FAILS TO LEAD HONORABLY3 min read

La Voz Editorial Board

As a majority opinion of the editorial staff of La Voz Weekly, we express our disappointment in some DASB senators for their attempt to censor information from students, but also for refusing to speak about the issue on record, and most importantly, not addressing the student body.

To treat the issue as a matter of personal attack rather than the senators inability to govern in a responsible and ethical matter does nothing to ensure the student body that the DASB Senate is handling the controversy seriously.

La Voz Weekly reported on May 6 that at least two DASB senators removed nearly 500 newspapers from their stands.

One senator, Ryan Royster, who is running for re-election to DASB Senate, admitted to taking a stack of papers “for distribution purposes.” DASB chair of marketing Tatyana Grinenko has not spoken to La Voz on the record but had been planning to run for president; she is no longer running for re-election, according to the most recent ballot order.

Taking more than 25 free newspapers is an infraction under California Law and is tantamount to censorship.

We at La Voz condemn the theft, but not simply on First Amendment grounds.

The egregious actions of the two senators express a direct repudiation of trust between the student body and government, by removing the central medium that informs the two.

According to DASB bylaws, the purpose of the senate is “to foster a spirit of democracy.” That ideal sustained a major blow and calls into question the leadership capabilities of our current student senate to regulate its own behavior.

Grinenko’s claim that she confiscated the newspapers because of gross inaccuracies is rather convenient and self-serving. If the involved senators took issue with an article on factual grounds, they could have contacted La Voz and petitioned for corrections at every level of hierarchy. Integrity is foundational to journalism; we at La Voz will always make every effort to correct an inaccuracy.

Despite witness testimony of the theft, La Voz has heard no expression of remorse from the senate or an official reprimand from college officials.

We understand the need for confidentiality during the investigation, but the administration’s desire to keep the allegations veiled in secrecy completely upends the notion of transparency, which the De Anza student body is entitled to under student-elected governance.

A related DASB senate scandal resulted in similar silence. Daniel Kim, chairman of the environmental sustainability committee, alleged that a few specific senators violated student policies and engaged in dishonorable yet legal activities in senate offices.

No one has denied the allegations of alcohol and sex in the senate offices. We also reported on May 6 that college administrators and John Cognetta, the DASB senate advisor, deflected questions about possible repercussions. Kim and Royster told La Voz that a majority of the senate will not publicly discuss
the allegations.

We will not identify the accused senators until we have sufficient evidence for these claims. The allegations involve only a cadre of senators, and we acknowledge that most members of the senate assembly conduct themselves professionally.

But integrity and admirable leadership demand  the complicit senators admit to their improprieties, so that the De Anza community can move forward and the student body can once again trust its senate.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email