AS Beat Reporter
Chief Financial Officer Andre Theus expressed his concern at the May 13 meeting of Associated Students Senate regarding the exclusivity of the search for the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs.
According to President Ali Guthy, the VPSA candidates were chosen after a several-week-long search.
“As you all know, this is a really important position,” said Guthy. “They interact with students and deal with student life and all of the issues that are really pertinent to us.”
One candidate participated in a forum at the Mosher Alumni House on May 14. Guthy stated that she believes “only a select number of students were invited to that, but to my knowledge it’s not a closed meeting, so if you’re a student and you want to come meet with that candidate, I think that would be fine, especially since you’re the student senators.”
However, Theus stated that this forum was exclusive and required a formal invitation in order to attend. He expressed his contention with the VCSA search and discussed a possible alternative.
“It’s not about how the search process works,” said Theus. “It’s more about how the students are interacting with the possible candidates for the position… I don’t think [the forum] is fair and open to the student body as a whole. Students should be able to interact openly with this person. For example, no senator [during my term on senate] was invited to meet with President Napolitano at all, when we were elected to serve on senate and represent the students.”
Theus suggested a more public and inclusive hiring process that would allow student leaders, as well as the entire student body, to interact with the VCSA candidates in person.
“What happens is when you’re not including student voices and input [while] hiring, it affects us and we get upset after,” said Theus. “For example, [before] Napolitano was hired… no students were asked who we want [as the next University of California president]. So what happens? We get a controversial hire… It lies on you all to voice those concerns.”
Additionally, Office of the President Mental Health Coordinator Alex Hill expressed a different set of concerns to senate during Public Forum. Hill stated that the Commission on Student Well-being has had a “history of inappropriate spending of student fees,” drawing upon evidence from the 2014-2015 fiscal year, during which COSWB spent approximately $6,000 on t-shirts, but only approximately $700 on fitness classes, which Hill believes to be their “primary function for students at this time.”
Hill stated that he has been attempting to contact COSWB via email, as well as during their weekly meetings, in an attempt to work with the organization since Fall 2014, but the organization has been “unresponsive.” After emailing COSWB in hopes of sharing suggestions for how to improve the organization, COSWB neglected to contact Hill.
“Unfortunately, there is a historic issue of not really getting things done,” said COSWB. “I think there is some serious misuse of funds here. It may not be intentional but it has occurred.”
COSWB meets Wednesdays at 7 PM in the Student Resource Building.
Among the bills introduced to senate during New Business was A Bill to Update Article XVII: Elections Regulations, authored by off-campus senator Erika Martinez and seconded by off-campus senator Brandon Lee. The bill mandates that all candidates receive a hard copy of the Elections Code, requires independent candidates to have been non-partisan prior to the election, and creates an Elections Board, in place of the committee, among other changes in the legal code that aim to make the elections process more transparent. The bill was tabled for one week.
A Bill to Update Article IV Section I, authored and seconded by off-campus senators Hiro Bower and Brandon Lee, respectively, was sent to University Affairs Committee. The bill mandates that if a request for an organization or entity’s funds to rollover into the next fiscal year is denied by senate, and if the organization or entity is funded by a lock-in fee, the remaining funds will be placed into a separate category in the Finance and Business Committee budget with the purpose of being allocated to any Office of Student Life of AS entity requesting funds for a project or program that is relevant to the specific language of the organization or entity’s lock-in fee.