Anti-Gay Slavs Voted Out of Student Government in Sacramento Community College

Timothy Kincaid

April 24th, 2009

In October, the student government of American River College in Sacramento endorsed Proposion 8. It was the only student government association in the state to do so. This engendered a recall effort but most students didn’t bother to vote and the anti-gay students remained in power.

We learned that these students were a coalition of five Slavic students associated with the virulently homophobic evangelical movement in Sacramento and three Mormon students who had joined forces to turn out voting blocks and advance socially conservative positions through student government. And their anti-gay activism was not limited to Proposition 8.

Last Friday the Sacramento Bee reported:

Student leaders at American River College passed a resolution Thursday opposing today’s nationally organized demonstration in support of gay rights.

The resolution asserts that “the Day of Silence has been used to silence and harass religious students at local public schools for expressing their viewpoints,” and instead calls for a “peaceful discussion of controversial issues instead of intimidation and censorship of opposing viewpoints.”

That may just have been too much for the students at American River College. They may have become too embarrassed about representatives that seemed anti-gay, anti-science, and anti-culture and they have voted the religious coalition out of office.

In elections held Wednesday and Thursday, American River College students ousted several conservative council members in favor of a slate that said it wanted the student government to stop focusing on divisive social issues.

Fourteen of 17 student representatives elected are part of the “ARC Students for Change” slate, including David Fisher, who won as student association president.

Congratulations to Fisher and his alliance of students.

David C.

April 24th, 2009

Yeah, but they were still unable to get rid of the problematic Popko, who remains on the student council though no longer as president.

Stefano A

April 24th, 2009

Sorry to hear Popko is still on the sa.

He and his cabal really need to go. Not only because of their infusion of their religious beliefs into what should be a secular-based student council for this publicly funded school, but also because of the allegations of fraud and corruption that surrounds them.

The college newspaper, The American River Current, has a great article on their recent antics of wheeling and dealing with the funding of a supposed ARC job fair and a Russian language newspaper.

Stefano A

April 24th, 2009

And their anti-gay activism was not limited to Propostion 8.

Actually, their “activism” hasn’t been limited to only anti-gay actions but also such things as fighting a rock-n-roll venue because…

“We need our students and young people of America to learn to be polite gentlemen. I would invite a Christian band because they promote morality and responsibility.”

The rock show on the community college campus was projected to raise tens of thousands of dollars for scholarships and textbooks.

Stefano A

April 24th, 2009

Oh! Wait a second . . .

David C: What position did Popko maintain on the student council?

The American River Current posted the elected members as follows:

President: David Fisher
Vice President: Shane Johnson
Director of Finance: John Throm
Director of Activities: Charles Stevens
Director of Legislative Affairs: Akilah Parks
Director of Public Relations: Slavik Gurmeza
Secretary: Kindra Pring
Representatives: Toni Abney, Anna Choban, Joy Cordova, Christopher Ducray, Melony Ford, Nicholas Hartkopf, Daniel Karavan, Jeremy Palmer, Brice Robinson-Wasley, Victor Tence

Stefano A

April 24th, 2009

Sorry for the multiple posts, but wanted to add…

Wow! This is discouraging:

There were 3085 ballots cast in the election, in which all currently enrolled ARC students may vote. The vote total represents approximately 9% of the college’s 34,448 currently enrolled students.

Only 9% of the student body even bothered to vote, although they could do so over a two-day period.

David C.

April 24th, 2009

Sorry, Stefano, my bad, I misread one of the postings cited above. Apparently three representatives from the previous “regime” survived and he was not one of them. My apologies for the mistake. In this case I am very glad to be wrong.


April 24th, 2009

community college students don’t care about student government. Its a joke. And they thought the ARC council and their resolutions were a joke too. It might be big news to the outside world but the students just think they’re idiots.

I’ve had the unfortunate privledge of running into them at prop 8 rallies. It was one of the members of their cult-like church that assulted me back in October.

No doubt these former council representatives will be hailed as hero’s in their churches eyes.

Stefano A

April 24th, 2009

David C, no problem. I, myself, had to check the list a couple of times because I kept confusing Anna Choban for Viktor Choban. BTW: Are they brother and sister? (Just curious)


You’re probably right that students view their student council “as a joke”. Unfortunately for those students, those “jokes” are costing them money. Most recently to the tune of $5500.


April 25th, 2009

ACTION: Popko et al felt the CA Supreme Court usurped the will of the people, so voted to “officially” support prop 8.

REACTION: The student body at ARC felt that Popko et al usurped their will by harping on divisive issues, so they voted to oust.

ACTION: Popko et al felt that the Day of Silence program was a means to stifle religious viewpoints, so they drafted a resolution against it.

REACTION: The student body at ARC decided to stifle Popko et al’s religious viewpoints as filtered through their positions in student government, by ousting them.

Karma’s a bitch, isn’t it Popko?


April 25th, 2009

It’s true: community college students are seldom very involved with student government on their campuses. They’re usually focused on attending their classes and then dashing off to their jobs or families. This created an opening for the right-wing Christian alliance at American River College. Their antics over the past year, however, caught people’s attention and the voter turn-out at this week’s election was about 9% (nine times the usual amount). The incumbents were nearly wiped out.

Does it matter? I think so. When the student council endorsed Proposition 8 last year it was used as a talking point up and down the state: The largest community college (36,000 students) in northern California was against same-sex marriage! Did the council speak for the entire student body? In reality, no. In formal terms, yes, the student association is the official voice of the student body and the conservative Christians exploited that. The new student council will tend to campus business rather than boosting a right-wing political agenda.


April 25th, 2009

Were the three incumbents that were re-elected the three Mormons?


April 25th, 2009

Congratulations to those who voted. Congratulations to those who won. Shame on those who abandoned us by not caring to vote for two days. Shame on the Slavs and Mormons. Prosecute the “christian” attacker, if you haven’t, because he will do it again, perhaps worse, to someone else. We’re still trying to get hands on one of their gang who is a murderer and fled the country. They will all do that if given the chance. They will beat and murder gays and flee. They will. Guaranteed. Watch for it.

Bruce Garrett

April 25th, 2009

“Actually, their “activism” hasn’t been limited to only anti-gay actions but also such things as fighting a rock-n-roll venue…”

Okay… At a guess, I’d say this was probably what got them voted out of office, finally.

The fight against the religious right in a nutshell: They win votes on The Homosexual Menace, often presenting themselves as moderate on other social issues. Then after they get elected they go to work on a whole range of culture war stuff that PO the voters and they get voted out.

That happens often enough and the voters start becoming wary of appeals to The Homosexual Menace. So they try to ratchet up the fear mongering a little more. And that nutty NOM ad is the result.

Kel Munger

April 27th, 2009

No, the members of the Slavic slate who were elected were NOT incumbents.

Elected were:
Slavik Gurmeza (Dir. of Public Relations)
Anna Choban (Student Representative)
Daniel Karavan (Student Representative)

The leaders of this group, Yuriy George Popko and Viktor Choban, were defeated, as were incumbents Alex Malash, Vladimir Musorivischi and Yana Kulinich.

I suspect that the biggest issues on campus were things like the rock concert (which raises a lot of money for scholarships), cutting the funding for all the clubs, refusing to fund Earth Day (they said it was “idolatry” because it was “Earth worship”), and the mess they made of the book rental program.

ARC is a commuter school–the largest community college in CA–and most of the students are working while going to school. They just don’t have time for this crap.

For more on Popko & Choban, who are really the ringleaders of this group, see my article in the Sacramento News & Review: “Things to do in Sacramento with a megaphone”

Also, Popko and co. are challenging the results of the election. They claim that faculty and administrators interfered in the voting (they were on hand to verify students were eligible to vote). There are also complaints about illegal election materials (including one voter guide in Russian, complete with scriptural citations–I’m still trying to get that translated).

Kel Munger
Sacramento News & Review

Kel Munger

April 27th, 2009

Also, yes, Anna Choban is Viktor Choban’s younger sister. He’s also got a brother that’s involved in this.


Timothy Kincaid

April 27th, 2009


Thanks for the clarification.

Kindra Pring

May 6th, 2009

Daniel Karavan is actually an incumbent. But the Student Association elect wishes to welcome this three with open arms. Honestly, with the exception of Yuriy, I can’t really blame them for their actions. It’s the environment they’ve grown up in. Having these three with us will (A) help us live up to our promise to represent a diverse group of people and (B) help us reach out to them. I think being around us in that setting will be good for them and help them see that we have nothing to hide. We aren’t in this to push any controversial agenda. Just the students agenda – cheaper textbooks, better parking, more student events.

Again, because I can’t say it enough, thank you to all student voters. 9%, while it doesn’t seem like a lot, is a huge change from what it used to be, a measily 1 or 2%.

Kindra Pring
ARC Student Association


May 15th, 2010

So the anti-antigay ppl got back on the council, and the world became a better place. Right? NOT. They’re not so different i say. This group also follows their own agenda and doesn’t care what anyone has to say against it.


August 14th, 2010

It’s amazing that while the anti Prop 8 circus is going on in San Francisco, the same week a federal judge in Sacramento hands a pro Prop 8 ruling against American River College’s board of trustees for illegally invalidating student elections in 2008 because the student government took a public stance in favor of Prop 8.

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