ASUO Senate confirmed five senators and one senate president to serve on the summer senate, elected next year’s senate president and appointed three new ASUO officers during the last ASUO senate meeting of spring term, on May 30.
New senators who were elected in this year’s ASUO Regular Election got the chance to vote in the senate session, their second official meeting.
Those running for the position of summer senate president were nominated during last week’s meeting.
Longtime ASUO officer Montse Mendez Higuera was elected as the 2018-19 senate president.
Mendez, who ran with the UO For You platform last year, has been elected as the senate president for the 2018-19 school year. She served as the first-year representative senator in the 2016-17 school year and served as the senate vice president this year. She got involved with ASUO because she wanted to fix the things she saw were wrong with the school.
Mendez and senator Luci Charlton, of seat 3, were nominated for the position during last week’s meeting.
Mendez, in her speech, added that each year since, the list of things that she thought were wrong has grown longer.
“I want to see us really engage in issues around campus,” Mendez said.
Mendez also wants senate to be more accessible and act as a welcoming space for speakers. She feels as though the set-up of senate — a U-shaped arrangement of desks where senators and, oftentimes, their laptops sit — can be intimidating to speakers, particularly those unfamiliar with ASUO.
She added that she would remove all the desks and computers in the room if that were feasible, but senators often use their laptops to examine the day’s agenda as well as the budgets of student groups that request funding from senate.
“We are here to empower student groups,” said Mendez, adding that senate is not supposed to be a power above student groups but an actor that facilitates their actions.
When competitor Charlton spoke to senate in her speech, she — in an awkward turn of events — said that she actually doesn’t want to be running for the position. She added that she nominated Mendez for the summer senate president position last week because Mendez is the most fit candidate for the position. This was met by some confusion and laughter from the senate, and ended with Mendez’s election with a unanimous vote for the 2018-19 senate president position.
The 2017-18 Senate President Lauren Young left after senators voted, saying that her time in senate had ended.
“I’m really excited to see what all of you are going to do with your time,” Young said to new senators. She added that she was glad to say that her time in ASUO was really impactful, passing her senate president gavel to Mendez before leaving the room.
Nominations for other 2018-19 positions such as ombudsperson and academic and financial senatorships will take place during fall term.
Senate elected greenhorn senator Ethan Shafer as 2018 summer senate president.
The summer senate will consist of an equal mix of newly elected and returning senators and will be headed by Ethan Shafer, who won the election for the summer presidency.
Shafer is a new senator who won the Erb Memorial Union senatorship position (seat 5) while running under the Ducks Together campaign during this year’s ASUO regular election.
“I’m really excited,” Shafer said. “I think it’s going to be a great learning experience for me.”
In a speech before the summer senate election, Shafer said that it would be a great learning experience to act as the summer senate president. He was one of six who were nominated for the position.
Daniel Smith and Abdullah Al-shbanah, both new senators from the Ducks Together campaign, were nominated for the position and nominated Mendez for the position of summer senate president. Al-shbanah said he wasn’t interested in the position but would serve as a summer senator.
Returning senator Arian Mobasser also nominated Mendez for the position. New senator Andrea Castillo, of Ducks Together and of senate seat X, was not present for today’s senate meeting.
Mendez said that she was glad Shafer was elected since it would be a good learning opportunity.
The ASUO constitution, the “Green Tape Notebook” (GTN), requires the summer senate to have at least six senators, one of whom is required to chair summer senate meetings, according to page 62 of the GTN.
The workload for summer senators is much lighter than the workload for school year senators, and summer senate must meet at least monthly. The shortest summer senate meeting in recorded ASUO history was 10 minutes long, according to ASUO staff advisor Becky Girvan, and the longest was an hour long.
For comparison, senate meetings during the school year are usually two to three hours long.
Senate appointed three new senators.
All three new senators were appointed with unanimous “aye” votes. ASUO president Maria Alejandra Gallegos-Chacon, external vice president Ivan Chen and internal vice president Imani Dorsey presented officers during their Q&A sessions.
Marissa Gutierrez was appointed for the Athletics and Contracts Finance Committee (ACFC) at Large position. Gutierrez, a biology major, has finance experience from her time working at an amusement park.
She added that she wanted to represent women in STEM as an ASUO officer. While working in laboratories, she’s gained confidence from having to combat many scientist “mansplainers,” a term for a man who explains something to a woman in “a condescending, overconfident, and often inaccurate or oversimplified manner,” according to Dictionary.com.
“She has our stamp of approval,” Gallegos said.
The ACFC works with different campus organizations to allocate funds from the incidental fee — a fees that all UO students pay to fund campus organizations and services such as free Lane Transit District bus service — according to page 9 of the GTN.
Gutierrez also said that she would be able to make tough decisions that disappoint people and ease their pain through empathy to “help them understand why you’re saying no.”
“It’s more about creating a common ground that you both can approach these difficult situations with,” Gutierrez said in a Q&A session with senators.
Juliae Riva was appointed for the Music, Art & Public Policy senatorship (seat 12).
Riva, who’s studying planning, public policy and management, has experience as an intern for senator Janelle Bond and is involved in the Residence Hall Association.
Bond said that Riva reached out to Young, who is the former seat 12 senator, and did a lot of research to ensure that it would fit into her schedule.
“She knows what is expected of her,” Bond said.
Luci Charlton, of senate seat 3, said in reference to Riva, “I’ve heard nothing but positive things.”
Shafer, jumping on the bandwagon, backed Riva as a nominee. He witnessed her dedication to students as the two were fellow members of their Residence Hall Association. “I cannot say with more assertiveness that I recommend Juliae,” Shafer said.
In Riva’s application, she wrote: “I would like to shout out Ethan Shafer, who has told me repeatedly since fall term that I would love ASUO Senate, and encouraged me to apply for the internship. I would not be here today without him.”
Cameron McCann was appointed as an PFC Executive Designee. Gallegos said that McCann stood out because of his outside accounting and databasing experience, adding the importance of getting the little details correct.
Bond said he knows the expectations of the position and what ASUO’s about.
Chen gave all three new officers Ducks Together t-shirts. Gallegos introduced each nominee with the song “Big Rings” by Drake ft. Future.
“We thought it’d liven it up,” Gallegos said.