Q&A with Nate Guajardo and Robert Contreras, ASB board of directors
ASB will send out constitutional changes to students this week regarding grammatical issues, new ASB positions, senate reform and club reform. Nate Guajardo, the director of student relations, has worked with Robert Contreras, vice president, this year to make the constitution what they call a living constitution. The proposed constitution is online with highlighted portions represented changes. Students will have from after Chapel on Wednesday until midnight to vote on these proposed changes via email. If the changes go through, the constitution will be reduced from a 20-page document to a 12-page document.
Guajardo and Contreras sat with The Point to discuss these changes.
What do you hope students take away from this constitution?
Guajardo: My hope is that the trust ASB, they trust their senators and their directors that we made the right decisions and it passes. I mean, this is a document that has had 24 elected officers looking at this thing and making the right decisions. So the first is that it gets passed.
Contreras: My main hope is a more effective ASB. I think that’s what we’ve been looking for the whole year. Something that Nate and I have been looking at for three or four years. I think that’s what it was, the culmination of all of our observations coming together into this document. Like we said, it’s line by line, is this what we wanted? Is this not what we wanted? And not even what we wanted, but is this what we’ve seen happening? Is this the best way to do things?
Guajardo: Yeah, I brought up earlier, but you’ve been in the Senate since freshman year so you’ve been having to talk about this for quite a while about what does work and what doesn’t work and how we’re going to make ASB more effective and efficient and what’s going to help us govern the best way and what’s going to help the future govern the best way… This is about what’s going to help the student body for the next 10-20-30 years. And that’s what the goal is, to leave the student body with a document that they can look at and say this is what ASB is and this is who we are and what we want to do.
Contreras: And you can see that from the size of the old document. The old document was 20 pages and the new one is 12, right? It’s the same exact stuff but it’s in a manner that’s more directive. This is what your job is or this is the objectives of the student senate or the board, it’s very plain. Nothing is unattainable. There was a lot of government jargon in it, like you have to do this, and it’s like, that’s kind of how the media board was scrutinized. Looking at the procedures of it.
Guajardo: A section of bylaws lays out what the board has to do and then our handbooks say something completely different. And that was one of the recurring themes throughout the whole constitution; there were just things that don’t work.
Contreras: Yeah, we’re just looking at this thing and saying is this actually happening? And not only is this happening, but could it happen?
Guajardo: And is it best for the students? And if it’s not, then we need to make a decision about it. I think you use the term first, but we no longer had a living constitution. It was a dead document. It just didn’t function anymore.
Contreras: I don’t know if that’s lack of oversight or that’s –
Guajardo: We can’t point at one person and say it’s this one person’s fault. It’s just years and years of senators and directors just crossing their fingers and hoping everything is going to be OK at the end of it. This year’s ASB said no, we’ve got to sit down and make a change. This is no longer just about this one board, but what’s best for ASB once we’re all gone.
Changes to look out for in this constitution, courtesy of Nate Guajardo:
– No longer a “living constitution” this year o General housekeeping (editing, grammar changes) to make it more representative
– New ASB positions were written in for ASB Director of Activities and Design and Director of School Spirit
– Senate reform
– Creation of the pro temp position to take the place of the vice president if unable to attend the meetings
-Roll call to document the votes of each senator in the meeting minutes as opposed to a number vote or anonymous voting system
-Club funding changes to make it so that the system isn’t one of chipping off money from the budget per club but a look at each particular club’s needs to determine funding
-Committee reform brought two standing committees (recurrent) and designation of a couple special committees
-Ambassadorships for certain areas on campus
– Club reform
-Even the playing ground so that each club has the potential to move from an interest group to a launch club to a charter club to an executive club based on time, but also allowing each to have funds and marketing opportunities across the board