Valley College students to vote on ASU stipend reform and anti-bias amendment

The executive council unanimously passed stipend reform while the anti-bias amendment passed by a margin of 4-1.

By Isaac Dektor, Managing Editor

The future of ASU monthly stipends and bias in official executive council processes will be in the hands of Valley College students this upcoming spring election.

Following a controversial appointment process last fall, ASU formed a subcommittee that wrote an amendment requiring members and candidates to disclose any familial or romantic ties to council members during appointment and impeachment processes. Failure to do so could lead to impeachment. The amendment committee consisted of President Sandra Sanchez, Vice President Shoshana Cassell, Commissioner of Political Affairs Kai Haaland, Commissioner of Social Media Emily Guitierrez (sp) and Parliamentarian Kimberly Perez-Solis. The anti-bias amendment passed by a margin of four to one, with Ethan Shalom voting against the legislation.

Kai Haaland, one of the five amendment committee members, explained the reasoning behind the anti-bias legislation.

“We were trying to protect the integrity of the appointment process,” said Haaland. “It was too complicated to restrict friends; it’s hard to define. We decided to focus on family or romantic relationships because those are both reasons for obvious bias.”

Haaland commented on the impetus for the amendment - allegations of bias among executive council members during last semester’s appointment process.

“I think that’s all behind us,” said Haaland. “It [anti-bias amendment] passed the executive council voting process and now it's in the students hands. If it gets voted in, it's not going to affect sitting members.”

The Stipend reform amendment, which passed unanimously, is an initiative pushed by Emily Gutierrez, who no longer sits on the executive council. If passed by Valley students, ASU executive council members will receive $250 monthly stipends for fall and spring semesters, and $100 dollars for winter and summer. This is a $150 and $20 monthly raise, respectively.

ASU President Sandra Sanchez explained that the stipend reform, if passed by Valley students, will not be a raise for current council members as the amendment will not take effect until next semester.

“Most students in community college work part-time or even full-time - so having a little bit more money for our students who are interested in joining a student government position while they are working - it will just ease their mind knowing they can expect a higher stipend,” said Sanchez.

ASU members who choose to work during the winter and summer semesters receive a far smaller stipend than in spring and fall because less students attend classes, leaving less work for council members.

Lauren Lucas, Commissioner of Ethnic and Cultural Affairs, spoke about the benefits of stipend reform.

“It will bring more students to join ASU, get more candidates for the next year and it will engage more of our students,” said Lucas. “I feel like this semester, we have been undercompensated for our roles. I think most of our officers do more work outside of our five office hours. This money will help cover that.”

Both amendments will appear as additional ballot items in the spring election, giving students the final say.

ASU is accepting applications for potential candidates intending to run in the upcoming spring election, which will be held from April 25 to May 1. The deadline to apply is March 27. Election results will be posted May 6.

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