Caserio to assume role of ASLMU president

Photo Credit: Liana Bandziulis

Photo Credit: Liana Bandziulis

Originally published in the Los Angeles Loyolan and co-written with Allison Croley. For original, please refer to: Caserio to assume role of ASLMU president – Los Angeles Loyolan.

As senior marketing major Bryan Ruiz’s era as ASLMU president ends, the LMU student body will have to look to former ASLMU Vice President and senior sociology major Vinnie Caserio, the new ASLMU president, as ASLMU pushes forward.

“There will be a lot of people with a lot of questions,” said Dan Faill, assistant director of Student Leadership and Development (SLD) and Greek Life adviser. “And my sincere hope is that Vinnie will be up to the task of conducting himself and [ASLMU] to the best of his ability.”

One of Caserio’s first tasks will be to refocus ASLMU as the voice of LMU’s student body. The impeachment complaint and subsequent unrelated removal of Ruiz has brought dispute not only between members of the organizations involved, but between other students as well. Status updates on both the ASLMU and Loyolan Facebook pages quickly filled with comments ranging from students arguing the validity of the impeachment complaint to whether the University should have removed Ruiz.

Senior political science major Sarah Palacios, ASLMU’s attorney general, told the Loyolan that Caserio’s ability to bring students together will be vital during this period of transition. “Vinnie was elected for a reason. He has this strength to unite people. It’s unparalleled,” she said.

Caserio’s time to unite is short, however. According to the ASLMU website, campaigns for the 2013-14 election are already undergoing approval, and platforms will be posted this Thursday, Feb. 28. Elections will be held from March 19-21, and results will be posted at 8 p.m. on Thursday, March 21. Though the ASLMU president and vice president don’t officially transition until commencement, according to Director of SLD Andrea Niemi, this still only leaves Caserio with a few weeks before elections to seize the spotlight.

Still, according to Assistant Director of SLD and ASLMU Adviser Alexandra Froehlich, Caserio will make the most of the time he has. “One thing I’ve learned about Vinnie this entire year is that he will step up to the plate and try everything,” Froelich said.

Palacios was optimistic, saying, “[This] is about moving forward and about what Vinnie will continue to do.”

ASLMU Treasurer and junior mathematics major Anna Keathley agreed, saying, “Vinnie has a spirit that lights up a room, and Vinnie is the perfect person to support ASLMU and the rest of the student body through this process.”

The spring semester of ASLMU’s schedule is notable for March’s Collegefest, the annual spring concert that has in the past brought acts like The Bravery and Gym Class Heroes to LMU. Though ASLMU may be transitioning leaders as Collegefest rapidly approaches, Froehlich said she has faith the planning would proceed properly.

“One thing I’ve learned about ASLMU is while I’d love to pretend that the president and vice president do everything, that’s not the case,” Froehlich said. “Collegefest will still happen.”

Though a change in leadership at a crucial time can be intimidating, members of ASLMU have faith that things will progress as they should.“We’re a team, and we look forward to providing the students with great memories,” Palacios said of ASLMU going forward. “That’s really what we’re looking forward to.”

“You know, we might lose people here and there, I won’t lie,” Froehlich admitted. “But for the most part, they are an amazing group of people. They will keep going.”

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Former ASLMU president ‘no longer eligible’

Graphic Credit: Stephanie Schiller

Graphic Credit: Stephanie Schiller

Originally published in the Los Angeles Loyolan. For original, please refer to: Former ASLMU president ‘no longer eligible’ – Los Angeles Loyolan.

[UPDATED: In a statement released on his personal blog this morning, senior marketing major Bryan Ruiz stated that the Judicial Affairs issue that removed him from his role as ASLMU president was due to sanctions received stemming from an on-campus Sigma Alpha Epsilon (SAE) meeting. This story has been updated to reflect his statement.]

Senior marketing major and former ASLMU president Bryan Ruiz was deemed “no longer eligible” to continue as head of the student body because of a Judicial Affairs issue, multiple sources confirmed last week.

According to a statement posted on Ruiz’s personal blog, the issue was related to sanctions received after a Feb. 5 SAE meeting on campus – a meeting brought to public light in junior entrepreneurship major and Greek Council President Lauren Coons’ impeachment complaint against Ruiz.

A letter released Thursday evening on the ASLMU Facebook page announced that Ruiz was no longer serving in his position and would be replaced by vice president Vinnie Caserio, in accordance with the ASLMU bylaws.

Assistant Director of Student Leadership and Development (SLD) and ASLMU Adviser Alexandra 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. ASLMU Attorney General and senior political science major Sarah Palacios confirmed to the Loyolan that these removal efforts were the same as the Judicial Affairs issue that resulted in Ruiz’s removal from office.

However, official notification of Ruiz’s removal was not sent from the University to the ASLMU management team until Thursday afternoon, according to Director of Student Leadership and Development (SLD) Andrea Niemi. The management team – made up of Caserio, Rangel-Garcia, Palacios and junior mathematics major and ASLMU Treasurer Anna Keathley – then informed the rest of ASLMU.

“It was certainly an emotional day for ASLMU,” said Niemi of the notification. “To have notice that the person the student body had elected as president would no longer be serving as president certainly was emotional, and they had to work through all of that and figure out how they would continue working for the student body.”

Though certain members had knowledge of Ruiz’s potential ineligibility ahead of time – including Palacios and former ASLMU senator and sophomore finance major Roy Dilekoglu – nothing was finalized until Thursday, according to Niemi and Palacios.

Because Ruiz is no longer president, the Senate impeachment hearing reported in the Feb. 21 Loyolan article “ASLMU president faces impeachment hearing” will not take place.

Several sources, including Palacios, Rangel-Garcia and Keathley, stressed that both Greek Life and ASLMU had nothing to do with this removal, but that it was a University decision.

Dilekoglu, whose resignation of his position in ASLMU senate was reported by the Loyolan online on Friday (“ASLMU Senator Dilekoglu resigns”), characterized the University’s treatment of Ruiz as similar to that of a criminal.

“At LMU, where they feed you these pillars of this ‘Catholic institution,’ this ‘Catholic education,’ this ‘holistic service and education,’ ‘being men and women for others,’ but then you see all this stuff going on and you have to question, ‘Where are we?’” Dilekoglu said.

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, Froehlich called Caserio “ready and willing” to take on the presidency.

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.

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

bryanvinnie

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.

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.