Community Justice

By: Sharon Nellist

Sharon 6

The ASPSU voting  period ends today at 7:00 p.m.

On April 22 the student Judicial Review Board made a decision to re-start the 2015 ASPSU Election – and we all know why.

It came to light that one of the candidates for ASPSU president, Tony Funchess, was convicted of sodomy and attempted rape.

Funchess resigned as multicultural affairs director on April 22 but stated that he would still run for president.

Members of our community were heavily opposed to his decision and started a Facebook community  called Step down, Tony and petitioned for Funchess’ resignation in the election.

The candidates this second time around came forward April 30 – and Funchess is certainly absent from the ballot. In fact, it looks entirely different.

Do you think that ASPSU leaders handled the situation properly? Do you think the changes that they have made are for better or worse?

I am still reading through the 2015 Round 2 Voting Pamphlet, but I am certain that I will be submitting my ballot tonight. Nothing will improve or change if we do not speak up and VOTE!

One thought on “Community Justice

  1. “Accountability” is an interesting word. It’s usually what we expect from people we believe have done wrong, which we all have. That is true of even the most exemplary among us. But, even once that accountability is exacted, it doesn’t seem to be enough. We have gotten into the habit, as a society, of asking for more and more accountability — endless accountability, really. That is a source of immense harm to individuals who are living in our community and to society as a whole.

    I am the (still relatively new) Executive Director of Partnership for Safety and Justice (PSJ). We work to establish public safety and criminal justice policies that protect the rights and meet the needs of crime victims, people who have committed crimes, as well as their families and communities. We are particularly concerned with the racial disparities in how people of color and their communities are treated by the system. I haven’t known Tony Funchess for long. But, even in that brief period, I’ve seen that he is one of PSJ most gifted and committed volunteers. So, for me and some of our staff, who have known Tony much longer than I have, what has happened to him during this election process has been painful.

    I don’t write this to make anyone feel bad. But, I do want to share two ideas that I hope you will consider in your future contact with people who have experienced the inside of the criminal justice system. The first is that “everyone is more than the worst thing that they have done or the worst thing that has been done to them.” That simply means that people are complex, and to think you know who someone is based on an anonymously posted statement of a past misdeed (true or not) is both unrealistic and unfair. The second idea is that, “for there ever to be true accountability, you have to believe in an individual’s capacity to be held accountable.” It appears to me that Tony faced full accountability to society — at least to society’s laws — long before he ran for student body president. It also seems to me that Tony continues to hold himself accountable by continuing his commitment to the social justice work he does with PSJ on a volunteer basis and what I assume he hoped to do for PSU as student President.

    Andy Ko

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