ASUC addresses lack of internal Disabled Students’ Program accommodations

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When asked about Disabled Students’ Program, or DSP, accommodations within the ASUC, President Alexander Wilfert said, “We don’t have anything.”

Per the ASUC governing documents, all ASUC officials — including senators, executives and appointed officials — are required to submit weekly written reports and to deliver regular oral reports. The chief personnel officer, or CPO, is in charge of keeping track of all report-submitting officials and deducting their stipends based on late or unsubmitted reports.

“There is no overall ASUC DSP policy,” CPO Evan Cui said. “It doesn’t exist.”

At the end of last year, former president zaynab abdulqadir-morris presented a resolution to the ASUC to have their full stipend delivered. Their stipend had been reduced because they had turned in written reports late. As they pointed out in the resolution, however, they had orally presented at 28 of 29 senate meetings and turned in reports late because of a psychological disability that made writing difficult.

The resolution was eventually struck down, with most of the senators in agreement that abdulqadir-morris deserved full compensation but unwilling to stray from ASUC bylaws.

Abdulqadir-morris declined to comment for this article.

Cui said his office is currently working with ASUC Chief Legal Officer Claire Goudy and Wilfert on making the current accountability system fair for neurodivergent students.

Cui said he had originally planned to revamp the accountability system by the end of the fall semester, but because there has been more discussion than expected, Cui expects changes to be proposed and institutionalized in time for the next senate class to take over. Wilfert said he expects to propose a preliminary reform in the next month.

“No kinds of explicit DSP duties have been listed in the bylaws, though we are listed as being in charge of all personnel, so it’s under our purview,” Cui said.

Wilfert said part of establishing accountability reforms is to keep in mind what kinds of accommodations officials will need, in addition to finding ways to meet those accommodations while still having a system of accountability.

Cui added that future CPOs will have to continue developing and improving policies about DSP accommodations. Wilfert echoed these sentiments, noting that creating this policy has been a sequential process in order to “address every issue that we can here.”

Senator Zach Carter noted that the ASUC’s lack of institutional DSP accommodations was a reflection of the campus’s lack of resources more than a reflection of the ASUC.

“It’s reflective of how the campus as a whole chooses to support or not support disabled students,” Carter said. “I’ve never been offered anything to the extent of accommodations or even been told that I could make accommodations myself (in the ASUC).”

Sakura Cannestra is the lead student government reporter. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @SakuCannestra.