Ruiz ‘no longer eligible’ to serve as ASLMU president, Caserio assumes role


Photo Credit: Abbey Nelson

Originally published in the Los Angeles Loyolan. For original, please refer to: Ruiz ‘no longer eligible’ to serve as ASLMU president, Caserio assumes role – Los Angeles Loyolan.

A statement released at approximately 9:24 p.m. on the ASLMU Facebook page announced that senior marketing major Bryan Ruiz is no longer eligible to serve as the ASLMU president. According to sophomore psychology major and Speaker of the Senate Ceci Rangel-Garcia and senior political science major and Attorney General Sarah Palacios, Ruiz was deemed no longer eligible for the ASLMU presidency because of a judicial affairs issue.

Director of Student Leadership and Development Andrea Niemi clarified that Ruiz did not resign his post. This was confirmed by sophomore finance major Roy Dilekoglu, a former ASLMU senator who resigned Friday.

Effective immediately, senior sociology major Vinnie Caserio will take his place as ASLMU president, in accordance with the ASLMU bylaws.

An impeachment complaint was brought forth by junior entrepreneurship major and Greek Council President Lauren Coons on behalf of the Greek community at Wednesday’s ASLMU Senate meeting. As reported in the Feb. 21 Loyolan article “ASLMU president faces impeachment hearing,” the Senate accepted the complaint and was prepared to hold an impeachment hearing next Wednesday. Because Ruiz is no longer president, the hearing will not take place.

Caserio, who served as Ruiz’s vice president, assumes the presidency mere weeks before ASLMU’s next elections. In an interview with the Loyolan last Monday, Assistant Director of Student Leadership and Development (SLD) and ASLMU Adviser Alexandra Froehlich called Caserio “ready and willing” to take on the presidency.

“One thing I’ve learned about Vinnie this entire year is that he will step up to the plate and try everything,” Froehlich said. “I know he’ll need some coaching along the way.”

In a similar interview on Monday, Assistant Director of SLD and Greek Adviser Dan Faill said he hoped Caserio would focus on “mending” the relationship between ASLMU and Greek Life, as well as to bring “integrity back to the office.”

At the beginning of the academic year, Caserio spoke to the Loyolan about his goals for his vice presidency. The Sept. 6 Loyolan article “Ruiz, ASLMU stay true to goals,” reported that both Caserio and Ruiz would strive for “greater transparency.”

“We just want to make sure everyone’s voice is heard,” he said.

In an interview for the same story, Ruiz called Caserio “the heart of ASLMU,” saying, “He’s very warm; he’s very extroverted.”

According to the statement on ASLMU’s Facebook on Thursday, Caserio will present a vice presidential nominee for approval at next Wednesday’s weekly Senate meeting.

Froehlich told the Loyolan on Monday that there were “possibly” removal efforts in motion internally that were unrelated to the Greek Council’s impeachment complaint. Froehlich said that Ruiz had not yet talked to Caserio about those efforts.

“At that point in time, based on the other wheels in motion, [he] wanted to tell Vinnie himself,” he said. “So I was allowing him the opportunity to do that.”

Calls to Caserio and Ruiz were not returned.

Burning Questions with the outgoing Editor in Chief

Photo Credit: Liana Bandziulis

Photo Credit: Liana Bandziulis

Originally published in the Los Angeles Loyolan. For original, please refer to: 11 Burning Questions with the outgoing Editor in Chief – Los Angeles Loyolan.

1. What emotions are you feeling as you transition out of the Editor in Chief (EIC) role?
It’s bittersweet. That’s the word that I have been using to describe it. Nothing could be more true. It’s really nice to get the chance to enjoy the end of senior year, but I will really miss having this job.

2. What first drew you to apply for the position?
It was actually inspired by people telling me that I should think about it, and that really made me decide to go for it.

3. What are you proudest of from your tenure?
It’s hard, because there are so many things that I’m proud of. I’m really proud of the way that we have worked on our Web presence. I think that we have done a better job of being in tune with the campus by covering more and getting more of the breaking news. I’m proud of the ways that we have grown as a paper.

4. What is your biggest hope for the Loyolan in the coming year?
Really working on the Web and finding ways to keep the student body interested. It’s a new crop every year. A fourth of the school changes every year and it’s really important to think about that when you plan out what direction the paper should go in.

5. Which of your articles is your personal favorite?
I have two. My first would be my coverage of when The Loft stuff was going on my sophomore year, about not having a liquor license, because that was the first time I got really involved with a story (in the Feb. 24, 2011 article of the Loyolan titled “Loft adopts new procedures”). My other favorite was the piece that I wrote on addiction last year. It was a favorite in terms of getting to know those people, learning about it and getting to write about it feature style (in the March 29, 2012 article of the Loyolan titled “Addiction: roads to recovery”).

6. What are your post-graduation plans?
You know, I wish I had an answer. I know that Kenzie [O’Keefe], the 2011-12 Editor in Chief, did last year. My biggest goal is just to find something that I enjoy as much as I enjoy working here, and just being comfortable with it, whatever that might be. If anyone has any suggestions…

7. How do you plan on filling your time that used to be devoted to the Loyolan for the next couple months?
That’s a tough question. I’m going to try to really take advantage of my last semester here.

8. You are known in the office for your guilty television pleasures. Out of “Army Wives,” “Revenge” and “Chicago Fire,” which is your favorite and why?
To be honest, once First Amendment Week ended, I watched eight episodes of “Army Wives” in a row and I am just right back in it. It is so good.

9. You’re also known for your love of your cat, Charlie. What do you think Charlie would say about your tenure as EIC?
He would ask me if this meant that I was going back to Boston. He’s my best friend! We’ve been apart for four years, and it’s been hard.

10. You’ve gotten to travel a lot during your time at the Loyolan. What was your favorite trip and why?
That’s hard, because each trip has been great. I think that Chicago for the Loyolan was an incredible trip because it was a great chance to bond with staff members, expand journalism knowledge and experience really being in a city with a downtown and a subway.

11. Which film do you hope will win Best Picture at the Oscars this weekend?
Most of my favorite movies don’t get nominated. I’m not super passionate about any of them. I honestly probably like “Zero Dark Thirty” the most, and I’m biased because I love [screenwriter] Mark Boal because he came here, but I think that movie is a great example of what a movie should be. “Zero Dark Thirty” was great because it happened within our lifetimes and it is already filmed and it’s factual. “Argo” and “Silver Linings Playbook” were also great.

12. Describe what the Loyolan means to you in one sentence.

13. What is your funniest story from working at the Loyolan?
In a lot of ways the funniest ones are what was the worst. Like when the power went out and we literally couldn’t make a paper, or when the printer self-combusted. We once had to print stuff at the library and run it back, and I almost got my printer from my room. LMU has actually marked me as spam because I emailed everyone in ITS asking them to fix the broken printer after hours because I needed help. You know what? Someone called us and it got fixed, but until this day I cannot email someone without it possibly popping up as potential spam, so check your spam folders for me!

ASLMU president faces impeachment hearing

Photo and Design Credit: Liana Bandziulis

Photo and Design Credit: Liana Bandziulis

Originally published in the Los Angeles Loyolan. For original, please refer to: ASLMU president faces impeachment hearing – Los Angeles Loyolan.

ASLMU Senate has accepted an impeachment complaint against ASLMU president and senior marketing major Bryan Ruiz submitted by Greek Council president and junior entrepreneurship major Lauren Coons on behalf of the Greek community. The Senate will move forward with a formal impeachment hearing next week.

During the regularly scheduled weekly Senate meeting, more than 100 students filled The Hill on the fourth floor of Malone Student Center to listen as Coons read the complaint. Coons detailed the multiple reasons why the Greek community felt Ruiz had violated his position, broken up into three separate grounds for impeachment.

The crux of the complaint concerned Ruiz’s attendance at an alleged Sigma Alpha Epsilon (SAE) recruitment event held on campus. SAE is an unrecognized fraternity based off campus, as first reported in the Nov. 12 Loyolan article “Unofficial fraternity colonizes off campus.” Ruiz’s presidency of the organization became a point of contention last fall, though no action was taken beyond a Senate meeting discussion.

According to the complaint, an anonymous statement from a new member of one of LMU’s registered fraternities claimed that those participating in recruitment for SAE were taken to a Foley Annex classroom for an alumni night – and that Ruiz was in attendance. During that meeting, according to Coons’ statement, Ruiz was expected to be at the First Amendment Week (FAW) keynote speech, an event co-sponsored by the Loyolan and ASLMU.

“I think when I heard it, I couldn’t believe it,” said Greek Adviser and Assistant Director of Student Leadership and Development (SLD) Dan Faill of the allegations. “Because that’s blatantly violating University policies.”

ASLMU Adviser and Assistant Director of SLD Alexandra Froehlich also mentioned the conflict in an interview with the Loyolan, saying, “I was disappointed, because that [FAW speech] is definitely an event that we all should have been supporting.”

Coons also pointed out that the funds used to co-sponsor the speaker were from Ruiz’s discretionary budget, information she said she obtained from the Feb. 6 ASLMU Senate meeting minutes. Froehlich verified this, saying, “[The money] came out of Bryan’s budget.”

The complaint accuses Ruiz of “conduct that violates the mission of ASLMU or the University,” identified in the ASLMU bylaws as grounds for impeachment. Froehlich said before the hearing that this charge could indeed be called an infraction of Ruiz’s position.

Ruiz, a member and former president of SAE, addressed the accusation preemptively in a statement about the impeachment complaint that was released on ASLMU’s Facebook page at approximately noon on Tuesday, then later taken down and reposted on Ruiz’s personal Facebook page. In the statement, Ruiz claimed that he was no longer SAE president at the time of the alumni night, saying, “The planning of the SAE event was an executive decision under the newly instilled president, [former SAE Vice President and senior accounting major] Nick Mecham.”

Though both Froehlich and Faill talked in interviews about SAE’s alleged illicit recruitment practices, including early bids, none of these issues beyond the alumni night were referenced in the complaint.

According to the ASLMU bylaws, any undergraduate student can file an impeachment complaint against a member of ASLMU. The complaint must be presented to the Senate with a list of possible witnesses, as well as a description of potential transgressions and the grounds for impeachment.

Senate must approve an impeachment complaint before it moves to the hearing stage. Despite his status as a member of SAE, Senator and sophomore accounting major Roy Dilekoglu was the first to motion to approve the complaint.

“I wasn’t surprised,” said sophomore psychology major and Speaker of the Senate Ceci Rangel-Garcia of Dilekoglu’s motion. “Because as Senate, we are here to hear any student concerns. It’s our job to hear everything, and that’s what the next meeting will be. He’s been a senator for two years, so he knows our regulations.”

The Senate motioned to commence impeachment proceedings before adjourning yesterday’s meeting. The impeachment hearing will be held during the next Senate meeting, during which the senators will hear testimony from witnesses called both by ASLMU and from a list crafted by Greek Council. As Speaker of the Senate, Rangel-Garcia will act as chair of the hearing.

“Everybody really needs to separate themselves from being really close with Bryan,” Rangel-Garcia said of any potential tension or bias between senators and Ruiz. “We just are really stressing to be as objective as possible. … We all respect each other, and we respect each others’ decisions.”

Two days before the meeting, in an interview with the Loyolan, Froehlich indicated that there were other “wheels in motion” that might’ve had an impact on the impeawchment efforts. Though she indicated that said wheels were not other impeachment or resignation efforts, she did indicate that they were “possibly” removal efforts. However, these efforts seemingly did not come to pass.

Ruiz declined to comment for this story any further beyond his statement. Mecham also declined to comment, either personally or on behalf of SAE.

Greek Life preparing impeachment complaint against ASLMU president

Originally published in the Los Angeles Loyolan. For original, please refer to: Greek Life preparing impeachment complaint against ASLMU president – Los Angeles Loyolan.

Information is currently being compiled for the purpose of filing an impeachment complaint against current ASLMU President Bryan Ruiz, according to Greek Council President Lauren Coons.

Coons said that the decision was made in the last 10 days, and the complaint will be made on behalf of everyone in Greek Life. She referred to Ruiz’s presidency of the off-campus chapter of Sigma Alpha Epsilon (SAE), colonized last semester, as the reasoning behind the complaint.

“SAE has been on Greek Life’s radar for a long time,” Coons said.

Members of Pi Beta Phi sorority were informed of the potential complaint during their chapter meeting on Sunday, Chapter President Ellen Zirkelbach said. According to Zirkelbach, the chapter’s Greek Council delegate, junior business administration major Deanna Walker, also sent out an email to members with more information on the complaint.

Though she couldn’t place an exact time frame for the filing of the complaint, Coons said it would likely be filed sometime in the next two weeks. However, Zirkelbach said that according to Walker’s email, Greek Council’s executive board would be attending this Wednesday’s ASLMU Senate meeting to file the complaint.

According to the ASLMU bylaws, an impeachment complaint can be filed by any undergraduate student. The complaint must be presented to the Senate with a list of possible witnesses, as well as “a description of the alleged improper conduct and the grounds for impeachment.” Should the Senate motion to commence the impeachment proceedings, a hearing would be held during the next weekly Senate meeting “to determine the validity of the complaint.”

A statement was released on ASLMU’s Facebook page at approximately noon today that was signed by Ruiz. In the statement, Ruiz preemptively responded to two issues he deemed likely to be brought up by the Greek community’s impeachment complaint. He also said that he had stepped down from his position as SAE president – former Vice President Nick Mecham has been named the new president. Ruiz also encouraged attendance at tomorrow’s Senate meeting.

The statement was soon pulled down – screenshots of the post can be found in the images of this story. Ruiz clarified with the Loyolan that the post was taken down because it was his personal opinion, not the opinion of ASLMU as an organization, and therefore would be reposting the statement on his personal Facebook page. At approximately 10:10 p.m. on Tuesday, Ruiz  slightly edited the statement and posted it to his personal Facebook page. Ruiz declined to comment any further beyond his statement.

The ASLMU bylaws can be found on the organization’s website. ASLMU Senate’s weekly meeting is held in the Hill on the fourth floor of Malone every Wednesday at 1:15 p.m.

Greek Week shifts focus to interfraternalism

Originally published in the Los Angeles Loyolan. For original, please refer to: Greek Week shifts focus to interfraternalism.

Greek Week

Photo Credit: Leslie Irwin | Loyolan

Before this year’s Greek Week commenced, community anticipation for the upcoming celebration of Greek Life was struggling to overcome mixed feelings regarding changes to the week’s structure.

“In the beginning, everybody was pretty concerned,” said senior psychology major Lisa Flanigan, president of Kappa Alpha Theta. “For a while, when we didn’t have anything figured out and we didn’t really have ideas of how to make Greek Week work … it was a subject that didn’t really go over well.”

Junior political science major Michael Hanover, president of Sigma Phi Epsilon, agreed, calling the community’s response “between negative and [mixed]” before the week began.

“The idea behind the changes … [was] building a certain level of respect that, according to some, has been absent in past years between organizations. I believe, wholly and truly, that the changes were motivated by the right sentiment,” said Hanover. “The reaction has fallen off from that complete level of positivity.”

“Change is never easy,” said Assistant Director of Student Leadership and Development and Greek Adviser Dan Faill. “But I truly feel it was the best move … and I was pleased at the overall reaction from chapters to combine into larger teams for Greek Week, an idea that was brought forward from chapter presidents at the fall Greek retreat.”

Said conglomeration has paired one fraternity, one sorority and one “multicultural chapter” in each team, according to Faill. This plan was met with enthusiasm from some individual organizations, especially Sigma Lambda Gamma, according to Chapter President Nina Garofalo, a senior English major.

“We felt we weren’t included in the camaraderie of Greek Week, and so [the new system] gives us an opportunity to make friends and not be so competitive about it,” Garofalo said. “We’re already so proud to wear our letters, so we don’t feel like we need to prove ourselves.”

This interfraternal pride was purposefully designed as one of the overarching goals of Greek Week, according to Co-Vice President of Greek Week Sean Daly, a senior communication studies and theatre arts double major.

In addition to the conglomerate teams, the other major change was the separation of Greek Week from Lip Sync and Stroll Off, according to Co-Vice President of Greek Week and junior psychology major Penney Azizi. Lip Sync and Stroll Off, once the culminating event of Greek Week, was moved to early September this year due to scheduling conflicts in booking Gersten Pavilion.

“Certainly, Lip Sync was a great way to cap it off, but was there anything that the Greek Week VPs could have done about that?” said Hanover. “According to what they’ve said, I don’t think so, and I trust them on that.”

Substituting for Lip Sync will be the All-Greek Masquerade Ball, a formal event on Saturday in Burns Back Court, where winners of the week will be announced.

Other changes included a redesigned football tournament with only one day instead of two, and a restructured obstacle course that involves more team members and a chariot race leg, according to multiple sources.

While final judgment on the week’s redesign has yet to be rendered, before it even began, individuals from within the community had disparate reactions to the week’s true meaning.

“I really appreciate all the work they’ve put into this Greek Week and making it more interfraternal, really trying to bridge those gaps,” Garofalo said.

“It’s all about being Greek, not necessarily about what letters you wear, and the community as a whole,” Azizi said, echoing Garofalo’s sentiments about inter-fraternalism.

Flanigan, however, emphasized personal chapters saying, “I think it’s positive, because you’ll still have your own pride for your own organization.” But, she added that through Greek Week, individual chapters would be “breaking down the barriers between different organizations.”

Hanover said in summary, “On the one hand, any … time of change brings about some strife from somewhere or another in the community. On the other side of it … to make big changes like that, you have to be bold to do that, and if you go there you’re gonna make some mistakes too. You can’t make big changes like that and expect that it’s gonna please everybody.”