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Charges leave SGA on hold: Five executives and 11 senators suspended

“The SGA office will be closed until further notice.  Thank you,” reads the sign posted in the Student Government Association office.

On Nov. 18, Vice President of Student Services Zav Dadabhoy confirmed that the sign is no inter-office joke.  He has suspended the majority of SGA members from performing their duties in light of alcohol and drug use allegations at a recent state-wide student government conference.

“I put a stop to SGA activities,” Dadabhoy said.  “We are doing an investigation.  We received some complaints about students engaging in some alcohol and drugs, so we are in the process of looking into those allegations.  We’re trying to figure out exactly who did what, what the collective responsibility was.”

Dadabhoy said that so far, of the 19 SGA members who attended the Student Senate for California Community Colleges General Assembly conference on the Monterey Peninsula from Nov. 1-3, only three have been cleared of allegations.

SGA Legislative Liaison Shelby Sward, 19, Activities Liaison Daniela Miramontes, 20, and Senator Eric Beadle, 45, were allowed to continue service in the SGA office once investigations found that they were not involved in the incident.

The remainder of the SGA executive board, comprised of President Travis Tillis, Vice President Elizabeth Gonzalez, Secretary Erin Robinson, Treasurer Jimmy Moran, and General Counsel Janessa Jennings, are currently suspended.

Eleven senators, out of the 12 that attended the conference, are also suspended.  Dadabhoy did not state the senators’ names.

Dadabhoy said that students who attended the conference were required to sign two code of conduct agreements, one from BC and one from the conference organizers, that both specified abstinence from alcohol and drugs while attending the conference.

According to the Student Affairs office, a total of $13,341.24 in school funds was spent at the conference.  Dadabhoy said that this figure was typical of the cost necessary to send SGA members to such events.

The complaints filed came from a member of the SGA, who Dadabhoy would not name, and an adviser from another community college

present at the conference.  Dadabhoy would not specify which drugs were allegedly used, except for alcohol.

“One of the e-board members came and shared the information with us,” Dadabhoy said.  “And from a pure leadership perspective, it was the right thing to do.”

SGA Adviser Don Low is heading the investigation, which began Nov. 15.  Low is conducting individual interviews of each SGA member implicated in the offenses, and initiating follow-up interviews when necessary, as new information becomes available.

Dadabhoy said that he was not sure at this time if the SGA members under investigation would continue to be paid during the process.

“We are trying to determine what to do with that,” he said.  “As of right now, I’ve said ‘no pay.’  Different people have made different requests.  I’m still trying to figure that out.”

The Student Code of Conduct policies regarding punishment for the alleged offenses are vague, said Dadabhoy.  He said that penalties will be decided once the investigation is complete, but that the minimum punishment might involve censure proceedings.

Dadabhoy was hesitant to specify just how long the investigations would take, however.

“I hope we can wrap it up very soon,” he said.  “I would hate to give a timeline, but literally very soon.”

In the meantime, Dadabhoy said that Sward and Miramontes are doing the best they can to fulfill the duties of the SGA.  He said that Miramontes will be leading the student organization meeting on Nov. 22.  Weekly SGA executive board meetings, however, are no longer being held.

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