Associated Students president-elect unfazed

A rocky elections period at Chico State doesn’t stop Amro Jayousi

Amro Jayousi says he takes a lesson from the prophet Mohammed, who said: “Return the negative with the positive.”

Amro Jayousi says he takes a lesson from the prophet Mohammed, who said: “Return the negative with the positive.”

Photo By meredith j. cooper

On the final day of voting for Associated Students elections at Chico State, Amro Jayousi was ordered to halt his campaign for president. Picketing was to be stopped, supporters were asked not to wear T-shirts or buttons, and while the other candidates set up booths and got ready for the big day, Jayousi sat back and hoped for the best.

When the results came in, the 20-year-old junior learned he’d won, with 52 percent of the votes after an instant runoff.

“It shows that the ways I reached out to people were successful,” the well-spoken Jayousi said during a recent interview.

The order to stop campaigning stemmed from an incident in which a number of fliers were posted on academic-building doors—a violation of election code. A petition followed, along with grievances alleging that Jayousi had knowingly violated the code. He insists he didn’t, that some friends had posted the fliers. The A.S. sanctioned him but decided against disqualifying him altogether.

“It was a harsh punishment, and I don’t believe it was justified,” he said.

This came on the heels of a racist incident in which several of Jayousi’s posters were defaced and just days after current A.S. President Joseph Igbineweka was stabbed during what is being considered a hate crime. A rally Friday (April 23), the day after the two-day election ended, addressed the racially motivated incidents.

“I hope the Chico community reacts similarly to such incidents if the person stabbed was not the AS president,” Jayousi said.

He doesn’t hold a grudge, doesn’t speak angrily about the negative impacts of his campaign. In fact, he had written a number of grievances himself against other candidates’ violations of the same code but decided against filing them, choosing instead not to lash out against his fellow students. He attributes his calm and collected reaction to his adherence to the tenets of Islam and to his upbringing.

“My parents emphasized the value of kindness and service to the community. They also emphasized leadership,” he said. “They engrained in my brain to not stand silent against injustice and not to waive my rights to anyone. They’ve been a big motivation for me.”

Jayousi’s parents and two older brothers live in Palestine. Born in Jordan, Jayousi lived in Baghdad for the first five years of his life before moving to Palestine. He came to Chico State in 2007 and has made a name for himself speaking out against U.S. policy in the Middle East and toward the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in particular.

Jayousi, a political-science major with a minor in international relations, said during his campaign he was asked often about how his personal beliefs would affect his ability to hold office on campus.

“Even though I feel strongly about international affairs, this is an issue I insist on keeping separate from student government,” he said. “My involvement with student government is motivated by service to the students, advocacy of student interests and the progression of the university community as a whole.”

His goals certainly reflect those values. First and foremost, he wants to create a lobbying committee that will bring Chico State’s interests to the State Capitol and speak with our local representatives.

In his current role as director of legislative affairs, he’s been asked numerous times by representatives of other CSU campuses for guidance on sustainability issues. He hopes to elevate Chico State’s status as a leader in sustainability by working with other campuses in the CSU system to show them how certain things can be done.

“It’s part of our duty to assume a leadership role and extend the progress of sustainability to other campuses,” he said.