ASUC president issues emergency order as insurance expires

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After the ASUC’s insurance policy expired at the beginning of the year, ASUC President Yordanos Dejen issued an emergency order Monday night to provide immediate insurance.

Typically, insurance renewals and contracts must pass through the senate floor to be approved. Dejen said in the emergency order, however, that she believes the ASUC Senate is not able to approve a renewal of the policy with Philadelphia Insurance Companies — the company that provides insurance for the ASUC — soon enough to guarantee the health and safety of the student body.

As an independent nonprofit organization, the ASUC holds a general liability insurance policy with the Philadelphia Insurance Companies that covers, among other items, property damage, ASUC-sponsored events and ASUC equipment. The total premium is around $20,000, said ASUC chief financial officer Tony Do in an email.

According to ASUC Student Action Senator Will Morrow, the insurance renewal happens on a yearly basis. Given that the ASUC has known the expiration date well in advance, according to Do, ASUC executive officers, the ASUC Finance Office, chief officers and the ASUC LEAD Center staff have been conducting meetings over the past two to three months on the renewal process in order to ensure the renewed insurance policy includes any relevant new and updated information that insurance policies need to account for.

ASUC Executive Vice President Lavanya Jawaharlal said the ASUC chief financial officer, the president and the attorney general all must examine the policy and then meet several times with the insurance companies and LEAD Center advisers.

According to Joan Fawcett, the director of student government and leadership programs at the ASUC LEAD Center, the ASUC must take money from the ASUC general reserve fund to pay for insurance policies, which also necessitated Dejen’s emergency order. Under the ASUC Constitution, the president may issue emergency orders for actions that are urgent and necessary to maintain the functioning of the ASUC until the senate reconvenes.

The contract and the funds from the general reserve will still have to be retroactively approved by the senate after the emergency order, according to Joe Wilson, chief of staff in the Office of the Executive Vice President.

Morrow said ASUC senators had been informed about the order Monday night via a senate-wide email, and they were still learning more information about it.

“Senators have been out of the loop of this, to be honest,” said ASUC Senator Cuahuctemoc Salinas.

According to Do, although the insurance policy has now been fully discussed, there are still conversations in place to follow up on the completed process.

In June 2015, Dejen issued a similar order to switch insurance providers for the ASUC-operated Cal Lodge in order to keep it open, due to the inability of the senate to convene during the summer break and approve the switch.

“This is a pretty common step taken simply because it takes time to pass things through senate,” Wilson said.

The ratification of Dejen’s emergency order will be discussed at Wednesday night’s senate meeting.

Contact Jessie Qian and Shradha Ganapathy at [email protected]