On Wednesday, March 10, the Associated Students of Oregon State University’s House of Representatives passed House Bill 12.02. The bill created an investigative committee designed to look into allegations of misconduct, such as negligence, statutory faults, and failures in leadership by ASOSU President Isabel Nuñez Pérez and Vice President Metzin Rodriguez.
The bill was authored by ASOSU representative Joseph K. Page and sponsored by five other representatives. ASOSU Speaker of the House Chase Pettibone told The Daily Barometer that the newly formed Executive Conduct and Accountability committee would direct an investigation into Nuñez Pérez and Rodriguez, expected to be completed by the week of April 12. At this point the committee would make a report and recommendation to the Congress of ASOSU.
Nat Young, an ASOSU senator, told The Daily Barometer she was concerned about the introduction of the bill because Nuñez Pérez and Rodriguez are women of color. The bill was introduced without consultation with the Oversight and Ethics Committee or the Judicial Council, and was not introduced as a Joint Bill — meaning it only needed to pass in the House of Representatives but not the Senate.
Pettibone noted that ASOSU has had an unfortunate history with women of color, but also said that the investigative committee was created to make an “accountability check,” and intends to determine whether the allegations against Nuñez Pérez and Rodriguez are founded or baseless. He also said that the ASOSU Congress did review the motives behind the bill and “at this time have determined that the allegations do not exhibit racial or misogynistic motives.”
When Nuñez Pérez and Rodriguez were asked about the bill, they said they did not see it coming, and thought perhaps it was an “issue of communication in a worldwide pandemic,” and wished they could have talked through the concerns in a meeting or with a mediator. They also agreed with Young’s initial concerns of racism and misogyny in the origins of the bill, stating that “there is a long history of women of color being pushed out of the ASOSU.”
Defending her claim of damning undertones, Young asked, “Where was this committee when former President Simon Brundage oversaw a congress that contained Andrew Oswalt, a known white supremacist charged with hate crimes?”
In The Daily Barometer’s coverage of this story, news contributor Sukhjot Sal noted that ASOSU’s only impeachment of an ASOSU president was in 2011 of M. Tonga Hopoi, a woman of color. The impeachment was for charges of “violating executive duties in her dealings with the Oregon Student Association and failing to communicate with her peers.”
By Ardea C. Eichner