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Goldman case continues

Published: October 5, 2007
Section: News


After last weeks censureship of Union Secretary Michael Goldman for disclosing voting information in last months elections, the Union Judiciary last Sunday granted cert to a petition against Goldman citing unethical and unconstitutional behavior. In the days before the Oct. 7 hearing, Goldmans counsel has filed several motions alleging biased behavior amongst various participants in the proceedings, including UJ Chief Justice Jamie Ansorge 09.

My main concern is getting on with my job getting on with my very demanding academic schedule, said Goldman. I had effectively gone through an impeachment trial last weekdespite the fact that I was not convicted or impeached, I have moved on the a UJ trial. I was incredulous when I learned this.

The initial complaint against Goldman, which argued against allowing Goldman to remain in office after disclosing voting information as well as the Senates decision to bar him from voting programs, in addition to alleging that his appointment of Rajiv Ramakhrisnan 09 as Assistant Secretary for Technology was unconstitutional, was submitted by Rivka Maizligh '10 and written by Village quad Senator Michael Kerns '09

As a concerned member of the Brandeis University undergraduate student body, I ask that my case be heard, said the petition. I as an eligible voter and as constituent of Michael Goldman believe I deserve to be heard on this, such an important matter.

According to the Oct. 2 edition of The Justice (UJ accepts case against Secretary, Claire Moses, Oct. 2, 2007) Maizlish said she filed the claim after Village Quad Senator Michael Kerns '09 explained the situation to her and encouraged her to do so. She added that she knew nothing about the controversy until Kerns told her about it. However, Maizlish did not respond to e-mails or phone calls sent by The Hoot. According to Goldmans counsel, Jacob Baime 08, Maizlish has not filed one motion since she filed her claim.

Since the initial filing of the complaint, Goldmans defense submitted several petitions regarding the case. The first petition sent asked for the recusal of Chief Justice Ansorge, alleging that have shown yourself to be prejudiced to his position in this cause, and have created a public appearance that you have already decided this cause against [Secretary] Goldman.

According to an affidavit signed by Ramakhrisnan, it was alleged that he asked Mr. Ansorge if the case against Mr. Michael Goldman, filed by Ms. Rivka Maizlish would go to trial. Mr. Ansorge replied yes, and then stated that Mr. Goldmans alumni counsel would not be allowed to appear at trial Mr. Ramakrishnan asked why his appointment as the Assistant Secretary for Technology of the Brandeis University Undergraduate Student Union was a component of the case, especially since the Senate had confirmed him to this role the night before, Sunday Sept. 30, 2007. Mr. Ansorge replied then that confirmation by the Senate was constitutional, but that the initial appointment by Mr. Goldman was unconstitutional.

When asked about this, Goldman expressed his view that Mr. Ansorge really appears to have expressed a very strong opinion on this case, possibly have encouraged the plaintiff to this casethe conflict of interest is very severe.

Ansorge declined to comment upon these allegations when approached by The Hoot, but did agree to recuse himself from the proceedings on Oct. 4. In his recusal statement, Ansorge said I do so in the best interest of the student body, for while I shall always strive to adjudicate fairly and without any partiality, my knowledge of this case has me too strongly predisposed. He added I have reason to believe that Michael Goldman, as Union Secretary, Chief of Elections, and Elections Commissioner, has disclosed running vote tallies of elections still in progress to numerous candidates for the purpose of giving that candidate an unfair advantage. While I do not believe that these actions have specifically altered the outcomes of any elections, they could have, and may have been intended to do so. These beliefs have led to my self-proclaimed recusal from the case.”

Goldmans counsel also alleged that the proceedings had been unduly influenced by Village Quad Senator Michael Kerns 09. For about 5-7 minutes on the evening of Thursday September 27, Senator Kerns told club members that he was appalled at Secretary Goldmans actions during the previous two election cycles, stated Ziv Quad Senator Justin Sulsky 09 in an affidavit. Kerns alleged that Goldman tampered with election results and told the meeting attendees that the secretary could have altered the election results by telling candidates that were also his friend if they were a few votes down so that they could solicit the remaining votes needed to achieve victory.

Kerns, when interviewed by The Hoot, said that I wish to clarify for the Senate that while they may not have felt comfortable charging Michael Goldman with unconstitutional actions at the time hopefully will be able to feel comfortable advocating that Michael Goldmans actions were in fact unconstitutional and therefore potentially warranting removal from office.

Sulskys statement also said that Senator Kerns told club members he disagreed with the Senates decision to reject impeachment proceedings brought against Secretary Goldman by executive board members. Disclosing information said in executive session, Senator Kerns said the Senate made the wrong choice when it decided not to go through with impeachment. Senator Kerns said he had been speaking about the issue at other activist meetings including the Democrats, where he said he circulated a petition against Goldman, which condemned Goldmans conduct and called for his trial before the UJ for breach of constitutional duty. Finally, Sulskys statement said, Senator Kerns also added he met with Chief Justice Jamie Ansorge and Student Union President Shreeya Sinha [09] regarding this petition. Kerns said that Ansorge supported such a petition.

Kerns confirmed he had met with both Sinha and Ansorge before the Democracy Matters meeting. I'd be lying if I said I didn't. There's no reason I can't talk to Shreeya, and as far as Jamie goes it wasn't until [before the Democracy Matters meeting] was speaking with him before they decided that nonbinding advisory decisions were unconstitutional. In other words, I needed legal advice and insofar he would be someone to go to for legal procedure and the issue, so we talked about it.

Regarding Sinhas position on his petition, Kerns said I think people can understand where she stands considering she brought impeachment charges to the Senate since she will be bound to any decision the UJ makes, I'll let her comment as she will… in order to facilitate her impartiality in imposing the Union Judiciarys decision to the greatest extent that its possible.

Sulsky stated if Senator Kerns had really felt this strongly about this, senator kerns should have admitted it himselfI don't think that he should have used his friend Rivka to submit this because its just not being 100 percent truthful. He also added that the Village quad senator needs to move on from this and focus on the people who elected him, instead of the petty political maneuvering and one-upmanship, because its not serving the student body and its not serving the Student Union.

Kerns said it would be disingenuous of me that insuring the integrity of democracy is not high up on my list of priorities. However, I am also working on the Ridgewood construction issue, the village cafe projectI am also the senator sponsor of two of the four clubs that are going before the senate this week seeking charter or recognition, and I have been very responsive to questions from my constituents.

Since then, Kerns e-mailed the UJ requesting to officially add the Student Union Senate as a co-defendant in the case (regarding the issue of constitutionality of the censure) and has joined the case as Maizlishs counsel.

Goldmans defense also submitted an online conversation between Kerns and Aaron Laufer 10, in which Kerns stated pretty much the votes against impeachment that he got were his suitemate, [girlfriend], and best friends there…and most everybody else on the Union, including the leaders of ever[y] branch, find it outrageous that he's still in office… so I'm all for the UJ serving as a check on the Senateas I believe it failed seriously by not accomplishing impeachment. According to the conversation, Kerns add that [Goldman is] the one who's ultimately at fault for dragging it on…he could have and should have just resigned…now he expects everybody to just back down.

When asked about this, Goldman stated that neither he nor any of his suitemates had girlfriends in the Union, and stated I believe the senators have followed their consciences and I resent the implication that my friends who I consider excellent, moral people would have voted against their conscience solely on the basis on personal acquaintanceship, adding I dont think Mr. Kerns realizes that there are people on the other side of this cause.

Kerns, however, said that I think its extremely important here to realize that it is Mike Goldman who has been unethical, it is Mike Goldman who has I believe contradicted his oath of office, and it is Mike Goldman who carries on, and I take offense at anybody who second-guesses or questions my decision to fight for what is right.

Goldman said “the fact that we are spending so much time on this drama is a shock and a disappointment.” He stated that the main thing for me is that I have a job to do for the student bodya job that I was elected to doI have school work, which is quite demanding this is not my ideal plan for my senior year. Its been a bleak month, and I hope the drama ends soon. I hope the senators that push this petty item change their minds, and soon.