Mon-Shane Chou confirmed as academic affairs vice president

Michelle Kim/Staff

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Mon-Shane Chou was unanimously confirmed by the ASUC Senate as academic affairs vice president after more than six weeks of the position being vacant.

Former AAVP Jeanette Corona stepped down in August. The AAVP works with administrative groups, such as the campus Academic Senate, and handles the distribution of ASUC grants.

Chou’s nomination was presented at last week’s meeting, in which senators were allowed to comment before the final vote took place. Despite some contentions last week, Chou’s appointment was unanimously passed Wednesday.

As a transfer student who is also part of the Educational Opportunity Program and the Disabled Students Program, Chou said she hoped to bring her experiences from these communities to the position.

“This is who I am, and I’m so excited to bring that to the ASUC,” Chou said. “I’ll be bringing my experience and the experiences of others to the forefront of the discussion on what it means to be a student at Cal.”

Chou’s term as AAVP began Thursday. She plans to primarily move forward with Corona’s platforms: financial literacy, resources for graduating students and mental health programs.

Current AAVP Chief of Staff Denim Ohmit has been overseeing the office in the absence of an executive. He said he will be staying on as chief of staff and is confident in his ability to work with Chou, as they have previously worked together as members of Cal Berkeley Democrats.

“I’m very excited to be working with Mon-Shane,” Ohmit said. “I will always stand by the fact that there is nobody more qualified for this position. She is so well suited for this role, and I’m excited to watch her thrive.”

Chou said she and Ohmit have already held meetings with senators and members of the graduate assembly to plan for the year. Additionally, Chou said she wants to improve communications with committee representatives and improve institutional knowledge.

When Chou’s nomination was presented Oct. 1, some senators urged the senate to come to a unanimous agreement on the subject in order to maintain credibility. Others expressed concerns over requiring a unanimous vote without familiarity of Chou’s platforms.

“I had originally voted no because I had not yet had my one-on-one meeting with her, and I wanted to make sure I knew who I was voting for to ensure that I could stay true to my constituents,” said Student Action Senator Hannah Frankl in an email.

After a long process of replacement, Ohmit said he is excited to move forward with the office’s initiatives.

“It wasn’t always a pretty process, but this is a rare occurrence,” Ohmit said. “In the end, we got through it with the candidate receiving a unanimous vote, and that speaks volumes about the ASUC’s ability to work together and move past differences for the common good.”

Chou worked previously as chief of staff for Nolan Pack’s senatorial and executive vice presidential offices. During her time in the ASUC, Chou worked on projects such as increasing advocacy for student groups and reorganizing the senate’s financial committee.

“It’s important to remember that we are a Cal community,” Chou said. “There are things that we will experience that are universal… but there are also everyday experiences in specific communities that are often erased from the larger picture that I and other student leaders are really privileged to be in position to do something about.”

Michelle Pitcher covers student governmentContact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter @michellepitcher.