ASU reforms bylaws to encourage participation

By Jose Arebalo, News Editor

As the semester strides past its halfway point, the Associated Student Union (ASU) has begun to allow recruitment of new senators past previous application deadlines and has revised bylaws on stipends for some positions.

“Since we didn’t want to refuse anyone, it made sense for us to let them stay with the condition of them not getting a stipend this semester,” Vice President of Club Affairs Ricardo Sanchez said.

In the past three weeks, there have been new members joining the ASU leadership past the application deadline, he said.

When a semester ends, members of the ASU Board receive a stipend corresponding to their position. According to previously drafted bylaws, they are $500 per executive, $350 per director and $250 per senator.

Students kept asking about joining the board after the application deadline, which is the eighth week of the semester. In response, procedures had to be solidified to determine which students would be receiving a stipend at the end of the semester.

“In previous years there was supposed to be a meeting with the president and the adviser and then they will determine if a person did their job during a semester,” Sanchez said. Moving forward, students will meet with the president, adviser and the vice president, if available, to evaluate if they are fulfilling the responsibilities of their positions.

A recommendation will then be given to the board after which a vote will take place to determine if a stipend should be awarded, he said.

“What happened last semester was the last three meetings were to determine who deserves a stipend and who does not,” Sanchez said.

Last semester, the process left room for students to feel personally attacked if others suggested not awarding a stipend.

“Our main focus this semester was to structure everything so that way we don’t have those arguments,” Sanchez said.

In the spirit of improvement, the board is updating its written rules to help keep the organization running efficiently, he said.

“We want to make sure that some of what is assumed as common knowledge is actually written in the bylaws somewhere,” Student Life Coordinator Charles Ramirez said. The board wants to minimize the time spent on frivolous matters so they can focus during meetings on things they can do for students.

In the same direction, student opportunity is what drove the decision to allow students to join past the application deadline.

“We do not want a deadline to discourage or deny students from the opportunity to get engaged and make a change on their campus,” Ramirez said.

Director of Public Relations Kimyatta Newby said, “A lot of our bylaw changes were to just restructure, to make clear what ASU is doing and what members’ responsibilities are.”

The primary goal was to remove any uncertainty in how things function.

“The bylaws are there for the members to be able to read and know what our jobs are supposed to be,” Newby said.

With a new board full of fresh members, there has been a shift in the dynamic at meetings.

Last semester was filled with discourse across the table and now things are moving efficiently with a few main executives running the show.

The board plans to incorporate ice breakers into its meetings to help foster camaraderie. With a steady focus on daily proceedings, the board is clearing up any confusion around their position term lengths as well.

“When you have a position, it’s for a year,” ASU Vice President Alfredo Angulo said. “There’s nowhere that it says interim positions are for a year, but when the board puts you in that position, whether you’re an interim or not, you’re still in that position. They want us to specify that the interim position would last a year.”

The clarification will provide guidance to boards in the coming years as leadership constantly shifts, especially at a two-year college.

The ASU board is making sure the things that are assumed and historically passed down through advisers are written down. This way, students have proof to point toward in the case of any confusion.