Students First “Guide to Winning UCSD AS Elections” – Disqualify Your Opponents

Alec Weisman, Editor-in-Chief

An extremist political party known as Students First has attempted to hijack campus politics by trying to disqualify all other candidates.

Last week the student body at UCSD voted in an open election for their student representatives for the upcoming academic year. Results were scheduled be announced the evening of Friday April 8th, but were delayed because of Students First. Using a bureaucratic technique known as “grievances,” Students First filed 54 of these “grievances” against opposing parties and candidates (Tritons First and Board the Wing) in an attempt to get them disqualified. It was at this point that elections at UCSD took a more interesting turn.

Current Associated Students (AS) President, Wafa Ben Hassine, ran on the Students First slate in the 2009-2010 elections, and is an active supporter of Students First. Nevertheless, as AS President her duty is to represent the student body as a whole and ensure that a fair and open process exists for AS elections.

AS President Wafa cheerleading for Students First

One of the powers of the AS President is to appoint students to serve on the AS Judicial Board (“J-Board”) to settle disputes for the Associated Students. At the end of March, Wafa selected her preferred candidates and appointed them to the Judicial Board. After a review of the membership of the Judicial Board, her conflict of interest is apparent.

The seven current members of the “J-Board” are: Polina Tsvetikova (Chair), Shounak Ghosh, Kevin Hsaio, Arianna Peregretti, Sarmad Bokhari, Sarah Montgomery, and Tanner Smith. Although the Judicial Board is supposed to remain unbiased during election proceedings, the clear violations by Sarmad Bokhari due to his support of Students First poses a dangerous conflict of interests in reviewing the election results. His Facebook prominently features Sarmad’s support for the Students First candidates and he has devoted his profile picture in their support. He has also refused to recuse himself from the Judicial Board hearings, citing that “I do not have any ties to Students First.” This contradiction is self-evident and reveals the lack of integrity by Sarmad Bokhari in regards to the fairness of UCSD Associated Students judicial board.

The hostile nature of Students First toward fair and open elections shows the full extent of their corruption and manipulation. By arrogantly and deliberately seeking to disqualify their opposition, they have shown their conviction that UCSD students are incapable of making decisions free from their coercion. By violating students rights Students First have revealed their unethical nature.

Correction: Students First filed 15 (out of 18 total) grievances in writing. The additional 40 charges had been submitted incorrectly (via internet) and were invalidated



  1. Alec, your investigative journalism never ceases to impress me. Good job finding this shit out.

  2. The Truth · ·

    Careful Alec, you’ll be first on Mistress Jasmine’s hit list (along with UCSD FML where it basically sounds like a pre-emptive revolution’s being planned).

    You don’t suppose you could liveblog the appeals going on right now?

  3. The California Review · ·

    @ The Truth: I would but the appeals are all “closed session”

    – Alec

  4. A Candidate · ·

    @The Truth,

    I was there when they decided on closed hearings, it was a request by Students First and legitimized under the j-board due to “The safety of the students”

  5. embarrassed · ·

    I am so embarrassed that Students First! is supposed to represent the student of color community. Not everyone in SAAC even supports that slate, both individuals and student orgs. It is really a shame how they are acting

  6. The Truth · ·

    Sources tell me they’re currently on appeal #2 out of 7. It’s gonna be a long night.

    Thanks for trying Alec, but going into a “secret” session practically begs the question of what the hell are they trying to hide?

  7. Secret Meeting = Secret Gov · ·

    Secret Meeting = Secret Gov

  8. allllaaahh akbarrrr · ·

    I can’t help but think that your grievances with Sarmad also lie with the fact that (according to your screen shot) he is an active suporter of Islam and Palestine. 🙂

    But I mean that screen shot is priceless. Must make your blood boil. 🙂

  9. rational · ·

    @allllaaahh akbarrrr, i feel like this goes without saying, but there are PLENTY of non Jews who share Alec’s view. A fact is a fact; can’t argue with that.

  10. Clark Fobes · ·

    Thanks for the information, but can you tell us why Students First is filing these grievances? Obviously it was because the other slates must have violated the election rules such as hovering over voters (which is illegal) and pressuring them to vote for them right on the spot. Please tell us the whole story before writing this biased post.

  11. To whom it may concern:

    It has been wrongly alleged that in the 2011 Associated Students (AS) elections, the slate known as “Students First” sought to disqualify other slates on trivial grounds. In this letter, Students First will present facts demonstrating that such accusations are false and that Board the Wing and Tritons First have egregiously violated the election bylaws. We are not attempting to target slates to gain an unfair advantage – rather, we are following due process to ensure that student government elections prioritize true democratic values, unaffected by actions that clearly disregard the rules established to protect the rights of voters.

    Students First UCSD has existed since 1992. In the 2003 elections, Students First was disqualified after alleged cheating. These allegations included repeated breaches of bylaws. This instance of slate disqualification presents an indisputable standing precedent: violating the same rules repeatedly will result in severe consequences.

    We had hoped that Board the Wing and Tritons First would conduct their campaign in a manner conducive to a fair election. We have existing friendships and working relationships with people from those slates, and thus we are not seeking to create tension. Yet, friendships must exist outside of the council floor in order to promote the imperative of representative democracy. Unfortunately, what we repeatedly witnessed in this year’s election were actions that breached the bylaws, reflecting unethical behavior that undermined the democratic process. The following are violations committed by the aforementioned slates:

    Telling people while they are at a voting booth how to vote on specific candidates: essentially disempowering voters through coercive tactics, which prevents constituents from making their own informed decisions
    Illegal soliciting in private residence hall space: disrupting other students in res halls without RA/HA permission; numerous witnesses, including residents and RA/HAs, testified about such disruptions
    Failure to place “Vote at” on all election posters: a repeated violation in which Tritons First disregarded warnings from the election manager that if repeated, this violation would result in severe consequences

    These actions unduly alter voters’ choice while giving some slates unfair advantages. Elected AS council leaders are responsible for making important decisions as representatives of student interests. Student leaders cannot be trusted to make informed decisions about a multimillion dollar budget if they cannot, even under the duress of campaigning, follow clearly delineated bylaws. How can we expect these leaders to be able to ensure transparency and accountability in Council when they refuse to hold themselves accountable? There is a reason why such regulations exist: to ensure fairness and equity for all students so that their voices are heard in all aspects of student governance.

    To this end we strongly believe that it is necessary to hold all candidates to a higher standard. We have filed grievances to uphold the people’s choice so that it is unfettered by undemocratic actions and behavior. We encourage other students to take a critical look at slates’ campaign actions to ensure that ethical leaders represent their constituents’ needs, not subvert them. The voting procedure, and especially the will of the students themselves, must be respected. We would also like to explain the reason why said grievences were filed on the last day. This is due to the lack of knowledge of the grienvance filing process.

    We would like to let all slates know that the grievances were intended to be filed on Wednesday of voting week. Some members of our slate thought that grievances could be filed electronically through email. That proved to not be the case. Being that all slate members are busy with academic life, work and campaigning during this time, the soonest we could file the grievances was the day polls closed. We DID NOT file the grievances with the intent on disqualifying anyone. We did not know that was the option .


    Students First

  12. Concerned Person · ·

    It is interesting to notice your focus on the obviously Muslim members of a very diverse slate. I think it is important for you to focus at the slate alone, rather than attaching a religious affiliation to a clearly, non-religion specific group of individuals.

  13. Who else would this be · ·

    From StudentsFirst post: “Student leaders cannot be trusted to make informed decisions about a multimillion dollar budget if they cannot, even under the duress of campaigning, follow clearly delineated bylaws.”

    Also from StudentsFirst post: “Some members of our slate thought that grievances could be filed electronically through email. That proved to not be the case.”

    Well, by your own logic, then your slate is ill-equiped to serve on student government, correct? Or is the process for filing a grievance substantially more complicated that the other restrictions that govern the conduct of candidates in the election?

    Oh, and just to correct your supposed “institutional knowledge” on what happened in 2003: Students First violated the bylaws, j-board punished them by restricting their campaign efforts for the remainder of the voting week, and they directly disregarded the j-board decision. It was that disregard for the ruling of the j-board that, upon the second grievance, really compelled their disqualification. So your “there’s precedence for this” argument is horrifically misrepresenting what happened in 2003 and the analogy to the present situation is beyond fallacious.

  14. The Truth · ·

    You contradict yourselves here several times:

    “We DID NOT file the grievances with the intent on disqualifying anyone. We did not know that was the option .” Yet earlier you refer to your own party’s previous disqualifications as precedent. This is a contradiction.

    “We have filed grievances to uphold the people’s choice so that it is unfettered by undemocratic actions and behavior. ” Except you haven’t. You’re trying to throw out the votes of hundreds of UCSD students because they didn’t vote for you. Your claims boil down to fine-print nitpicking- a certain website wasn’t listed on every campaign piece? Give us a break- and show us how that’s “undemocratic” in any form.

    “We would also like to explain the reason why said grievences were filed on the last day. This is due to the lack of knowledge of the grienvance filing process.” Well, that’s a relief considering earlier you claim: “Elected AS council leaders are responsible for making important decisions as representatives of student interests. Student leaders cannot be trusted to make informed decisions about a multimillion dollar budget if they cannot, even under the duress of campaigning, follow clearly delineated bylaws. ” If you’re so competent and informed about election laws yourselves, how were you unable to file grievances on a timely basis? Clearly, only an incompetent party would “[think] that grievances could be filed electronically through email” as your candidates did.

    Your protestations aside, I believe you are competent. You are well aware that you have no shot at winning the election through a fair, democratic process. Instead, you chose to disregard the will of the students and attempted to throw the election towards a biased body of your cronies (as demonstrated by the original post here) that gives you the best chance to win. This is clever and I applaud you for your cheek, but it also shows unfathomable contempt for the UCSD student voter. If such a”by-any-means-necessary” mentality on your part is any indication of how you will govern if elected, then the UCSD student body is in for a long year of out-of-control governance by a party of radicals who will refuse to be constrained by the interests of students.

  15. mohammed · ·

    Mr. alex, isnt it racist on your part to take a screen shot of someone else’s facebook inferring that they are in fact supporters of radical islamic groups. sure they clearly support radical groups on their facebook profile page, but your a bigot for pointing out that sarmad bokhari supports radical islamic groups. like my people always tell me, kill the messenger not the message

  16. @allllaaahh akbarrrr @mohammed @concerned person

    Nobody here’s been discussing anything about religion or Islam until you started commenting. Before posting, please point out where Alec said anything about Sarmad’s religion. Stop trying to play some kind of race/religion card to distract people from Student First’s actions.

  17. SF Is Without Dignity and Morals · ·

    These grievances are ridiculous. So TF forgot to put “vote @ tritonlink” on a poster or two? How on Earth is that grounds for their disqualification? How is that even advantageous? Using the shotgun approach undermines the credibility of ALL of your grievances. Not that any of them had merit to begin with.

    We really appreciate you filing dozens of horrendously frivolous grievances and dragging out this election for SEVERAL DAYS, but please operate with a little more dignity next year. Sorry, but people will remember this. As you’re apparently unaware, in a democracy (Electoral College jokes aside), elections are determined by a contest of candidates to receive the most votes. You might be getting a couple fewer of them next year. As a politically progressive person, I hate to side with the California Review, but they hit the nail on the head with the title.

    We’re all hoping that ANYONE else wins. So I’m starting a new movement: WE ARE ON BOARD WITH TRITONS FIRST

  18. TheRevolutionBegins11/4 · ·

    Well when all else fails, there is always the petition for a vote of no confidence in AS and disband their asses.

  19. Kris Gregorian · ·

    Did any of you consider the possibility that Students First has already won the election already and they’re doing this because they have a right to file grievances on whatever the fuck they want? Since when is bitching and moaning “bureaucratic”? Oh right, when it’s someone else doing it, otherwise it’s “fighting for your rights.”

    The election manager deemed them to be violations of the bylaws and now you’re all butthurt because you have to defend yourselves? Jesus, no wonder AS always ends up being full of faggots, DEFENDING YOURSELF is now this insurmountable task? OH NOEZ.

    If you wanted to live outside the rules, you could’ve joined the Koala but instead you decided to be completely useless sycophants and join a student government no one gives a shit about other than a bunch of cocksuckers looking to start water bottle initiatives or some stupid shit like that. You have two choices: Stop whining and defend yourself or enjoy the fat brown Students First cock in your mouth. What does that entitlement taste like, anyway?

  20. Abolish AS.

  21. Tyrone Biggams · ·

    Yea… no one gives a shit about student elections

  22. Get rid of em all! · ·

    Just a bunch of kids that have no background or abilities when it comes to budgeting for a million dollar research university with tens of thousands of students. Leave this to the people whose jobs actually include these duties and find another meaningless farce to help you get into grad school. No one cares about AS and no one should.

  23. Pandamonium · ·


    If you don’t have the ability to file your grievances properly, you are definitely not qualified to draft a multi-million dollar budget, just like your predecessor who epically failed at just that.

    Prizing democratic values? Are you joking? You are actively trying to disqualify slates when the student votes have already been counted. Drop the pretense, and don’t you dare cite democracy in this. You are trying to disqualify candidates that students voted for. Idiots.

    You have also destroyed every potential working relationship you could ever have had with these people, and this was the stupidest thing you could possibly have done. Good luck getting anything done if you are elected.

  24. A Candidate · ·

    Its 3 am and we are nowhere near coming to a conclusion…everyone in this room is sleep deprived and upset. I’m just wondering why Students First thinks that this is helping anything?

  25. I’ve said it here before… and I agree with @TheRevolutionBegins on this at least. AS should be disbanded, and each student should be free to spend their Associated Student fees as they see fit – for example, if I wanted all my AS fees going to one org, for example the Calif Review, I should be able to spend these in that manner, as I see fit. Of course, the even better course of action would be to eliminate the fees altogether.

  26. Arianna Peregretti is another individual who has a conflict of interest on the Judicial Board. She has direct connections to the Students First! slate, and she is a member of the SAAC org, and is a principal member of the Student Workers Collective(which endorsed Students First!)

  27. There is no revolution on UCSDFML. It’s been the same couple IP addresses.

  28. LOL – Exactly…just AS slates hyping up bullshit…and making up excuses …..

  29. justanotherBEANER · ·

    I cannot STAND this campus newspaper, nor can I not stand conservatives in general. California Review claims that all other liberal newspapers on campus are biased, but every single article I have read from this newspaper shows despise and relentlessness towards minority-affiliated organizations and their causes. And here you are, attacking Students First–the slate most supported by minorities on this campus. You’re a bigot and you disgust me.

  30. @justanotherBEANER: Stop playing the race card. Try working hard on your own and maybe you’ll get somewhere.

  31. justanotherASIAN · ·

    “Students First–the slate most supported by minorities on this campus”

    Got any proof to back that up?

    “I cannot STAND this campus newspaper, nor can I not stand conservatives in general … You’re a bigot and you disgust me.”

    Well now…

  32. HAHAHHAHAHAHAHA @justanotherBEANER. here you are being the extreme disgusting bigot that you can’t stand. I love how you have become the very thing that you hate.

    You have a choice to not read this, and yet you indulge in bigot-ness to read it so you can continue being the perpetual ass that you are. LOL so much winning on this that its BI-WINNING!!

  33. Another Beaner on campus · ·

    Students first does not represent minorities on campus! I am a minority myself and find students first and be very misrepresentative. We minorities are not a hive mind. Nor is the color of our skin the only thing about us. I am first and foremost a UCSD student and as a student voter I felt what happened this weekend was a complete disregard for all students on campus and very disrepectful.

  34. Haha! @justanotherbeaner, I was wondering how long it would take for a DEY RACIS comment

  35. @justanotherBEANER: you’re correct, any criticism whatsoever of any person of color, regardless of the validity of the criticism, any disagreement in perspective or opinion with any minority, no matter how rational, is of course RACIST. But I’m just a white devil, what am I to do? It’s programmed into my pigmentation to make you feel unsafe with my oodles and oodles of Caucasian privilege.

  36. fuckyou · ·

    There’s a reason why it says “be the first to like this post” at the top. You guys are talking shit like a bunch of sorority girls. SHUT THE FUCK UP

  37. Sorority girl1111 · ·

    Delta Delta Delta for life!

  38. “You guys are talking shit like a bunch of sorority girls.”


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