The Arizona Desert Lamp

Recommended Sites: Flex Your Rights

Posted in Crime by Evan Lisull on 23 October 2009

Flex Your Rights

Via Cato@Liberty, a newly refurbished site to help students (and others) in their interactions with the police:

Flex Your Rights (FYR), a 501(c)(3) educational nonprofit, was launched in 2002. Our mission is to educate the public about how basic Bill of Rights protections apply during encounters with law enforcement. To accomplish this, we create and distribute the most compelling, comprehensive and trustworthy know-your-rights media available.

The founder, Steven Silverman, was previously a campus organizer for the campaign to repeal the Higher Education Act’s aid-elimination penalty. The law blocks financial aid to low-income students reporting drug convictions. As part of his work, Silverman prompted students to describe the details of the police stops and searches leading to their minor drug arrests. (emphasis added – EML)

A disturbing pattern emerged, and various legal and law enforcement experts confirmed his conclusion: The vast majority of people are mystified by the basic rules of search and seizure and due process of law. Consequentially, they’re likely to be tricked or intimidated by police into waiving their constitutional rights, resulting in a greater likelihood of regrettable outcomes.

The UA is no stranger to such searches; and as the crusade against pot and underage drinking continue (instead of wanton, grudgingly investigated theft), Arizona students would be wise to brush up on their Fourth Amendment protections before the weekend.

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FIRE’s selective interpretation of “freedom of expression”

Posted in Campus, Politics by Evan Lisull on 15 October 2009

FIREFIRE is a linchpin in the RSS pipeline, so it was nice to see the UA get some coverage on its blog. Yet even for this adamantly pro-liberty site, their argument seemed to be quite the stretch:

The University of Arizona has reversed course and permitted the College Republicans to screen the film Not Evil, Just Wrong as originally scheduled, just days after telling the group that its reservation was being cancelled [sic] due to a scheduling mistake. The “mix-up” was discovered only 11 days before the event, making it difficult to reschedule. After a joint investigation by FIRE and a UA College Republicans (UACR) leader showed that the scheduling conflict might not have been a mistake, the screening was placed back on the schedule for October 18.

The rest of the details can be found at the post, but none of it suggests the derisive finger-quoting of “mix-up.” Students at the UA would hardly be shocked to hear yet another story of administrative incompetence, and there’s really nothing to suggest that CSIL did anything more than make a characteristic flub. (Although to be fair, the University certainly wants to exercise more control over the school during Family Weekend than almost any other time during the year.)

Usually, this wouldn’t merit more than a querulously raised eyebrow, but with relief that the movie is ultimately getting the OK. Yet the cries of “freedom of expression” that FIRE gave to this case stand in sharp contrast to their tepid response to the chalkings a few weeks ago. Here was what FIRE wrote in response to my colleague’s case submission (emphasis added):

Dear Mr. Mendenhall:

Thank you for alerting FIRE to this case and for mentioning us in your blog. Chalking on sidewalks is not necessarily protected expression (chalking on buildings is probably not protected much if at all), so I am glad that the criminal charges were dropped. The university’s statement suggests that chalking on sidewalks is ok so long as it is not “on surfaces other than the ground and sidewalks.” At other schools chalking even on sidewalks might be considered defacing property, so it may well be that UA is doing more than the minimum in permitting sidewalk chalk.

I hope you will continue to press for students’ rights on campus in the hope of making Univ. of Arizona a “green light” university!
Best regards,

Adam Kissel
Director, Individual Rights Defense Program, FIRE

Mr. Kissel’s statements may very well be factually accurate, but FIRE’s stated objective – their entire reason for existence – is to openly challenge these sorts of regulations. It should also be pointed out that no one has a “right” to a movie screening, and that the theater could easily cite its authority in deciding its own schedule – should that mean that FIRE must accept the scheduling decision? It seems odd to assume that the University is acting maliciously and lying about a movie schedule mix-up, but to assume that they are telling the truth and acting in accordance with the First Amendment when it comes to charges of criminal damage against messages that they don’t like. It also seems odd to think that rescheduling difficulties are a more onerous burden on speech than the possibility of jail time.

A full breakdown of FIRE’s case selection is far too laborious for now, but the trend for the UA is plainly obvious. Scheduling muck-ups of an anti-Al-Gore movies get covered, but criminal citations for chalking do not. Publishing a drawing relating to the Mohammed cartoons in face of censorial forces got a whole write-up in 2006, but the repeated attempts at censoring other cartoons raised nary a batted eye. A security fee for David Horowitz is unconscionable, but the theft of 10,000 newspapers is nothing to be concerned about.

FIRE is an unfortunately busy institution, as attempts at limiting civil liberties are more common on campus than almost anywhere else. It’s one of the great institutions and resources for college students, who would be worse off without it. Yet when it comes to the UA, FIRE might try to take on cases outside of “things that the College Republicans don’t like.” Nobody likes a fair-weather defender of civil liberties.

In a shocking twist, UA does not turn into a bloody shooting gallery.

Posted in Campus, Politics by Evan Lisull on 30 September 2009

Today marks the end to several restrictions on the right to bear arms in this state (Ben Kalafut has the full roundup), and naturally the administration went into full psycho-freakout mode. Shelton and the Board of Regents joined in with the Faculty Senate hand-wringing, citing “grave concerns about safety” with regards to the new provision allowing guns-in-glove-compartments-in-locked-cars. The ASUA Senate also approved its gun resolution today (more on that in the full Senate report).

This site is eager to hear observations of strange behavior in response to the legislation’s implementation, but so far all of the “concern” seems concocted from thin air, an expression of hypotheticals a la Robert Ludlum’s juvenilia, rather than any serious look at how things actually happen. If we’re in the middle of a game of Jump to Conclusions, one could readily point out that there has been an inverse relation between gun restrictions and gun deaths on campus, a trend depicted in an Yglesian ridiculous-comparison-that-kinda-makes-a-point graph. One could conduct a similar graph for “guns on campus banned” and “guns on campus allowed.”

Gun Deaths GraphInstead, campus seemed to operate more or less the way it does on any given Wednesday. Teachers did not seem particularly oppressed or reluctant to teach on controversial issues; students were not any more reticent to share their opinions on class material; and employees went about their business as they usually do, braving the adverse conditions to perform their duties.

Off-campus, students were also exposed to the prospect of guns in bars. The Wildcat article on the matter opens with this lede, which sums up the issue perfectly:

UA area bartenders aren’t too concerned about a new Arizona law that goes into effect today allowing guns into bars and restaurants that serve alcohol — but they are asking, “What’s the point?”

“What’s your point, Walter?” Here’s my point, Dude – when it comes to an issue with minimal impact, an issue where there seems to be no point, the state must err on the side on the side of liberty. The article describes the provision allowing bar-owners to post signs prohibiting guns as a “loophole,” but it is far more important than that. Requiring  bar owners to admit those bearing arms legally, regardless of their own preferences, poses an undue burden when it comes to admitting patrons. Yet it is an equally undue burden to forbid gun-bearers to enter their premises. This bill allows for owners to make a choice, a point that Buffet bartender Bill Cleveland makes perfectly:

Bill Cleveland, a bartender at The Buffet Bar, said bars should be allowed to set their own policies in general — whether relating to guns, smoking or other behaviors.

“I know alcohol and guns don’t mix … I’m more pissed about smoking regulations,” he said. “This is like our home. We should set the rules.”

Cleveland called the new guns-in-bars law “the most redneck thing I’ve ever heard of,” saying he’d been shot at more than once during his 12-year career as a bouncer and bartender.

Ignoring the irony of the Buffet describing something else as “redneck,” it should be emphasized that Mr. Cleveland’s shooting incident was almost certainly illegal under any regime. Mad props go out for bringing back the issue of Arizona’s stupidly draconian smoking ban. The Lamp, naturally, endorses the Buffet as one of the finer drinking establishments in the UA area.  I suspect that most bar owners will post such signs, although a post-bill survey of establishments might reveal some interesting numbers. Yet some will choose to admit, and even cater, to such arm-bearers – and more power to them for doing so.

Under this new regime, consumers are similarly free to choose. Those who are disturbed by the possibility of drinking next to someone with a concealed weapon are free to go to a different bar, as well to tell the owner why they are leaving in an attempt to change the policy. Those who want to bear arms in bars will express their dissatisfaction with bars that ban guns, and will give their business to those bars that allow for them.

Finally, it is curious to compare the vociferous chorus against restrictions on chalking versus the general support of restrictions banning guns in cars in glove compartments, etc., even as the substantive merits are the same. It is no more rational to fear that guns locked in compartments that are locked in cars will lead to increased hazard than it is to fear that chalking on campus will lead to wanton vandalism and aesthetic destruction. Both actions are legal according to Arizona law. Both changes in policy reflect small shifts towards protecting civil liberties that are enshrined in both the U.S. Constitution (the first two amendments) as well as the Arizona state constitution (Art. 2: secs. 6, 26).

UPDATE: Credit goes out to Wildcat columnist Remy Albillar, who makes many of these same points in his column today.

Dark lining on a silver cloud: the problems with a Code of Conduct hearing

Posted in Campus, Politics by Evan Lisull on 29 September 2009

Chalk is Speech (Palm & Second)

A meeting with ASUA Legal Services (a very helpful service, although one that I would have gladly paid for with a user fee) has assured me that now that the case has gone to the intra-university judicial system, I am at liberty to discuss any and all aspects of the case.

For now, I’ll refrain from discussing a full-fledged, factual account of events – that’ll be published on this site later, in the form of a written testimony to the Dean of Student’s conduct officer. For now, though, feel free to peruse the UAPD’s side of the story, spelled out in their police report [PDF]. Instead, I’d like to clarify earlier remarks I made to the Wildcat (among other media outlets) as to why the issue still isn’t entirely resolved.

While deciding to dismiss these charges is a definite blow for liberty, transferring the case to the Code of Conduct hearings unveils new problems that may in fact increase the possibility that sanctions will be handed down for such expression.

The most important issue is the burden of proof. Had this case gone to criminal court, the University would have to prove “beyond a reasonable doubt” that accused was marking up the base of a statue near the Administration building; and further, that the “base of a statue” is not actually considered the ground, as per A.R.S. Given the fact that the case as detailed by the police depends on the inference – rather than the direct observation – by a witness, it would be rather hard to convince a jury to rule in their favor.

No such standard, however, exists for those charged in a Code of Conduct hearing. Instead, the Dean of Students must merely determine that “it is more likely than not that a violation of a Student Code of Conduct has occurred” (5-403 (C) (6)). Effectively, this equates to a 50+% probability of guilt, and comes down to the flip of the coin in a “he-said, she-said” situation. In a case where the word of an undergraduate is cast against the word of an employee, the prospects look even less promising. In spite of this low standard, the Code of Conduct hearings offer no chance for appeal, unless the sanctions involve suspension or expulsion. Barring such an outcome, the Dean of Students is quite literally the judge, jury, and executioner of all Conduct violations.

When it comes to procedures, the process is further hindered by the lack of the chance to confront the witness. In both “chalking” cases, the informant’s information has been redacted – although perhaps the threat of being “chalked and feathered” by an unhappy populace is reason enough. Yet in justifying the charge , the police report offers this:

While driving in the area, [redacted] saw LISULL writing on the sidewalk near the economics building (1110 E. James E Rogers) and Maricopa Dorm (1031 E. James E Rogers). LISULL noticed [redacted] and began to walk away westbound. [Redacted] had previously cleaned the chalk from the Administration building and therefore felt the writings were consistent with each other.

This is crucial – without [redacted]’s inference, there is no reasonable justification for the citation. Had this case gone to a criminal court, the Sixth Amendment guarantees that [redacted] would be required to un-redact him or herself, were the charge to go through. The accused could raise questions about this inference, wonder openly why there was a five hour gap in chalking incidents, ask how the witness could be so sure that he saw the accused at the Administration building, why the witness didn’t try to stop the suspect before calling the police, and so on. Yet because it is now an intra-university matter, we will never know who [redacted] was, or why chalking was such a noteworthy offensive as to require repeated contact with the UAPD; and it’s not easy to fight Anonymous.

Even beyond the Dean of Students office, the main issue – that of civil liberties – still remains: will a university “committed to defending, celebrating and hosting free expression” continue to issue Code of Conduct violations against students who use chalk on the sidewalk (in other words, does the Code of Conduct prohibit expression in the form of chalk)? Does President Shelton actually believe that he can declare, based a citation that failed to make it to court, that the behavior of the two students was “illegal”  (in other words, is he aware of the concept that the accused is innocent before being proven guilty)? Will any administrator come forward to explain why exactly it is was so essential to clean up a flowering of expression for America’s most lauded liberty, rather than letting the chalk disperse away naturally? While chalking days may be over, this is the same University that attempted to force out Horowitz via “security deposit” fiat – eternal vigilance, unfortunately, is required to ensure against future regressions.

All that having been said, there is still a glimmer of hope – as of publication, no messages regarding Code of Conduct hearings had been received from the Dean of Students’ office. It’s odd to look to the Dean of Students for a victory for freedom, but stranger things have already happened.

ASUA Senate Meeting, 16 Sep 2009: Cars With Guns

Posted in Campus, Politics by Evan Lisull on 16 September 2009

M85 Recoilless Rifle Vehicle1. Student Regent Selections. David Martinez III, former student regent and current UA campus organizer for ASA, presented a PowerPoint presentation on “ASA 101.” The presentation included brief bios of current regents and basic historical info, although it failed to include the slide describing how to re-introduce motions to increase tuition.

EVP Fritze then described the Student Regent Selection Committee, which will choose the UA’s next student regent (who will serve in a non-voting role for 2010-2011, then as voting regent in 2011-12).  The committee consists of three ASUA members, 1 ASA member, 1 GPSC member, 1 at-large graduate student, and 1 at-large undergraduate.  Applications are due October 19.

2. Guns on Campus (in cars, in parking lots). Once again, the Senate item sounds a lot more exciting on paper than it turned in the Senate  – but a bit of background is necessary to explain why. On Tuesday, President Nagata went to the Faculty Senate, where his (admittedly inane) idea to allow students to opt out of offensive course material was greeted with “widespread laughter, grumbles and even boos.” You stay classy, Faculty Senate.

The faculty returned the favor by sending him along to ASUA with a bit of their own inanity – a resolution expressing “safety concerns” about the impact of SB 1168 [PDF], which allows for weapons to be stored in secured vehicles, at parking lots both public and private. We don’t have a copy of the resolution yet (UPDATE: See below), but Wanda Howell’s statement on the resolution makes clear its intent:  “This is not appropriate, and it’s important that we get it on the record that we resolve such.”

Ben Kalafut has addressed the bill at his blog, and as is his wont delivers a sharp take:

A hint: invisible acts do not diminish a property owner’s use rights. Storage of a firearm out of sight in a locked car is an invisible act; in ordinary circumstances the act of parking is no different whether the trunk is empty, contains a firearm, or a toaster. As I understand it, invisible harms, invisible diminishment of use, has $0 value in our legal tradition. We do not consider sin, that is to say, “Invisible Error“, an object of law.

Ben is addressing the Goldwater Institute’s odd desire to issue a tort case on the behalf of parking lot owners, but the argument applies equally to Howell’s feeling of unsafeness. Howell’s argument is even weaker – for where a property owner can at least make a case for some violation of property rights, Howell can only cite the violation of her own perceptions.

It would further be interesting to hear how this bill changes anything, behavior-wise. The bill literally only allows the transportation of non-visible, legal guns in parked cars – something which certainly occurs on a daily basis on this campus anyways. Even if it encourages a few more legal gun owners to not remove their firearm before they go to work, who would know the difference? In the end, the bill is mostly Hansonian signaling. Gun-rights supporters want to show that they love guns, and gun-control want to signal that they’re really, really concerned. The real effects of this bill do not merit the discussion that it’s received. As far as statistics go, it is a null effect – and generally, this country has a tradition of favoring liberty where the effect is nil.

Unfortunately, Nagata didn’t return their inanity with professorial dismissal – instead, he introduced the resolution to the Senate as an “item of discussion,” alluding darkly to the events at Virginia Tech, as well as the UA’s nursing school. To clarify: the item up for discussion is regarding the stance of an intra-university body on a passed law that applies to all public facilities that concerns the possession of weapons that are not visible from the outside in locked vehicles and locked compartments on motorcycles. Resolved: “Virginia Tech” will become for gun-control activists what “9/11” became for anti-terrorism activists.

It should be emphasized that Nagata was not offering the resolution as something for the ASUA Senate to pass. Today’s item was an informational item, so the discussion revolved around what exactly the ASUA Senate should do.  Sen. Quillin was eager to put forth a resolution, although it’s not entirely clear what position such a resolution would take. Other Senators were more wary – Sen. Daniel Wallace urged the Senate to look at the actual law and to discuss the issue with other students, while Sen. Weingartner wondered why exactly such an item was being discussed now, seeing how there are other issues going on at the UA. No mention was made of student referenda, and the idea of refusing to take a stance was not offered openly.

Other notes:

-The ASUA Budget is now online – at ASUA’s website! One small upload for student government, one leap forward for transparency.

-Sen. Davidson alluded to a new Spring 2010 policy of only allowing priority registration of 16 units. This could have been misheard, but if true is worrysome, considering that the Undergraduate Council has been pushing to increase the base freshman course-load from 12 to 15 units.

UPDATE: President Nagata supplied the site with a copy of the Faculty Senate resolution, which reads as follows:

RESOLVED:

The Faculty Senate of the University of Arizona would like to express its grave concern for not only the safety of faculty, but our students and staff with the Revisions to Arizona Board of Regents Policies 5-303 “Prohibited Conduct” and 5-308 “Student Code of Conduct” to allow guns on campus in locked vehicles or in locked containers on motorcycles.

“Grave concern” is even worse than Nagata let on during the meaning.

If you play the video for today’s title allusion, it’ll be stuck in your head for the rest of the day.

RESOLVED:

The Faculty Senate of the University of Arizona would like to express its grave concern for not only the safety of faculty, but our students and staff with the Revisions to Arizona Board of Regents Policies 5-303 “Prohibited Conduct” and 5-308 “Student Code of Conduct” to allow guns on campus in locked vehicles or in locked containers on motorcycles.

The sacred fire of liberty: a message for the Fourth

Posted in Politics by Evan Lisull on 3 July 2009

Firework PostcardThis Saturday marks the 233rd anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, a day that John Adams declared:

. . . ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.

Unfortunately, Arizonans will not be fully joining in such “pomp and parade.” Arizona is the only state West of the Mississippi that bans all pyrotechnic fireworks to her citizens; it joins Delaware, Maine, New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island as the only states to do so in the nation.

Why does Arizona think her citizens so much weaker and in need of paternal protection than those in New Mexico, Utah, Nevada, California, Colorado, and 40 other states? Why did Govs. Symington and Hull (both Republicans) both veto legislation that would have restored this liberty to her citizens?

The answer, inevitably, is safety. Benjamin Franklin’s famous edict has all but been forgotten in the urge to protect Arizona citizens from themselves. Their hand-wringing is made difficult by the paucity of finding an actual fireworks menace, when the annual number of fireworks injuries in the United States is barely higher 9,200, and related deaths only 11. In comparison, more people have died from “contact with powered lawn mower,” “fall involving bed,” or falls involving “ice-skates, skis, roller-skates, or skateboards.” So far, this has not led to bans on power lawn mowers, bunk beds, or skate parks. In desperation, the Forces That Be have brought out one Matt Crosbie as the poster child for maintaining the ban:

After the series of explosions, Matt Crosbie forced his way out of the car. When he looked down, he saw the skin peeling from his arms.

Flashes of smoke, flames and burned flesh were the result of Crosbie’s attempt to launch mortar-like fireworks out the window of a moving car days before his high-school graduation. One of the explosives he fired from a cardboard tube bounced back into the vehicle, igniting more fireworks and leaving the car engulfed in flames. [emphasis added]

. . .

Crosbie, who recently joined firefighters to speak out against the bill, said he was inspired to serve as a burn-victim advocate after his rehabilitation.

“I’ve had 30 surgeries, plenty of skin grafts,” said Crosbie, now 23. “I guess you could say I’m scarred for life because of this.”

In other words – because Mr. Crosbie has proven himself incapable of using fireworks properly, it therefore follows that no one in the state can use fireworks properly. If we allow for fireworks in this state, everyone will start firing mortars out of their moving vehicles. Not discussed is the inconvenient fact that Mr. Crosbie managed to obtain “mortar-like fireworks” in spite of the state’s stringent ban. Meanwhile, as stringent budget cuts are debated in Phoenix, law enforcement officers will be on high alert this weekend for fireworks smugglers.

You should be careful – which is a nice way of saying don’t be stupid. Don’t fire mortars out of a moving vehicle. Don’t give your three-year-old a burning sparkler and walk inside. Don’t start bottle rocket fights with the neighbors. Don’t try lighting an M-80 on your kitchen stove.

But it is a distinctly un-American approach to argue, as the CDC does, that “fireworks should be left to the professionals.” This is exactly the same impulse that has been used against democratic impulses and individual liberty for eons – it is no accident that President George Washington, describing government, said that, “[l]ike fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.” Just as British considered the colonists too immature to handle self-government, so our current government – ostensibly, the one still based in part on the Ninth Amendment – finds us too incompetent to handle sparklers and bottle rockets. In attempting to protect ourselves from the fearsome burn of the sparkler, we find ourselves scorched with mandarin diktats.

Thankfully, HB 2258 – sponsored by Rep. Andy Biggs (R) – has made it through the Legislature and onto Governor Brewer’s desk; seeing how she played with sparklers as a child, she will probably have the good sense to sign the bill. This bill allows for the legal possession of sparklers and other small fireworks. It won’t, unfortunately, go into effect in time for this year’s festivities. But it is a good start, hopefully one towards restoring the liberties that most Americans – and all Westerners – enjoy.

The only thing more impressive, more amazing, and more praiseworthy than the epic shows of Disneyland and DC are the small shows staged in backyards and back roads across the country. Far better to celebrate the Fourth by exercising those liberties so painfully won, rather than slavishly following the concern-mongering of the state. Bureaucrats may find such a celebration petty and worthy of scorn; thus have they always viewed the accomplishments of individuals.

This Saturday, the Desert Lamp urges you to follow in the footsteps of those that fought for these liberties. Get drunk, blow things up, and openly question the “swarm of Officers” that tell you otherwise. (Although, really, why just Saturday?)

Fireworks 2

ASUA Elections: Now more repressive than Turkmenistan!

Posted in Campus, Politics by Evan Lisull on 14 February 2009

Turkmenistan Coat of ArmsFun Turkmenistan facts: the capital city’s name, Ashgabat, roughly translates to ‘the city that love built’ (Hippies, take note!); the nation’s official website declares that the country is in a ‘golden age’ (Civ geek alert!); and the current president, Gurbanguly Mälikgulyýewiç Berdimuhammedow (say that five times fast), was a licensed dentist.

The country is also one of the most repressive in the world, and routinely ranks near the bottom of Freedom House’s ‘Freedom in the World‘ listings. Yet Turkmenistan has made progress towards some formerly lacking civil liberties:

The Central Asian state of Turkmenistan has adopted a new constitution that supporters say will promote multi-party politics and the market economy.

The measure was passed unanimously by the People’s Council, a group of 2,500 tribal elders and local lawmakers.

The Council will be abolished and parliament will almost double in size after elections in December.

. . .

It paves the way for the formation of multiple political parties in a country that currently only has one – the Democratic Party headed by the president.

Meanwhile, ASUA is the least representative government in the Pac-10 and effectively bans political parties:

8-1.01 Only one candidate’s name may appear on any piece of campaign material as defined by this Code.

Griping about the past sins of party politics is a poor excuse — the vagaries of party politics are a natural formation of a free society, a fact that James Madison spelled out in Federalist #10:

Liberty is to faction what air is to fire, an aliment without which it instantly expires. But it could not be less folly to abolish liberty, which is essential to political life, because it nourishes faction, than it would be to wish the annihilation of air, which is essential to animal life, because it imparts to fire its destructive agency.

There’s also this little thing called the First Amendment:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

It’s pretty bizarre to sit in a candidates meeting in an ostensibly free republic and hear that, “Any campaign material must be approved beforehand by the Elections Commission.” It’s crazy to listen to Commissioner (Commisar?) Ho describe how you have to record the use of staples that you already own in your campaign expense report as “non-purchased goods”; to hear him calmly describe that engaging in any sort of direct negative campaiging will result in sanctions from the Commission; to endure a ten-minute description of how to create Facebook groups that fit within the Code’s paramaters. Of course, Commissioner Ho has no time for your silly defenses of liberty and basic civic principles. Besides, ASUA’s not a democracy; it’s a cheerocracy, so suck it up.

At the very least, you would expect such a powerful Elections Commission, with its newly beefed-up workforce, to be prompt and effecient in their mandating. Yet as of 3:55 PM, the Commission’s site has yet to publish a full list of candidates.