ASUC discusses stipend bylaw suspension, swears in Fernandez as EVP

screenshot of a Zoom meeting
Karen Vo/Staff
The ASUC senate

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The ASUC Senate met Wednesday for a meeting that chiefly involved a discussion about nullifying a bylaw regarding elected officials’ stipends and the swearing in of Giancarlo Fernandez as executive vice president, or EVP.

The meeting began with a motion and vote to amend the agenda by moving the discussion of Senate Resolution No. 2021/22 – 017, which seeks to remove the condition of reducing elected officials’ stipends for missed outreach hours, from “New Business” to “Immediate Consideration.” All senators except four voted in favor of the motion.

During the public comment period, Fernandez spoke about his experience in advocacy and what he plans to bring to the ASUC leadership.

“I am here today to be appointed as executive vice president to bring a culture into the ASUC that is synonymous with community, collaboration and cohesion,” said Fernandez during the meeting. “I will accomplish this by working with each and every one of you so that we can best advocate for the student body.”

After roll call, the senate unanimously approved the consent calendar, which included the appointment of various individuals into ASUC committees

The calendar also included several senate resolutions, including a resolution in support of California and federal menstrual equity legislation and a resolution to support the Pell Grant Preservation and Expansion Act of 2021.

The senators and ASUC chief legal officer, Mina Han, then entered a debate on whether it was necessary to suspend section 5.1 of bylaw 2151 of the ASUC constitution, which states “a change in elected officials’ stipends shall not take effect until the following term,” in order to pass Senate Resolution No. 2021/22 – 017.

While the majority of senators were in favor of nullifying the bylaw due to the COVID-19 pandemic and how elected officials are currently being paid below minimum wage, Han disagreed.

“It’s meant to be in place so that senators cannot change their stipends during their term to benefit themselves,” Han said during the meeting. “You could not amend this bylaw and still try to pass (the bill) today. Keep in mind the longevity of this organization. I have full faith in this senate cohort, but we have no idea who’s going to be serving as a senator years later.”

After unanimously approving to suspend the bylaw and pass the resolution, the senate moved to swear in Giancarlo Fernandez as the new executive vice president by oath.

At the end of the meeting, senators thanked EVP chief of staff Antonio Kobe Lopez for acting as the interim EVP while the ASUC was sought a replacement for former EVP Aditya Varma.

Karen Vo is the lead student life reporter. Contact her at [email protected], and follow her on Twitter at @karenvo_DC.