Like many professors and leaders around campus, ASUO believes that requiring its senators and representatives to hold office hours is essential to maintaining open communication with the university's student body.
According to Senate President Isaiah Boyd and the ASUO constitution, all senators are required to hold a total of 3 office hours per week. One of those hours can be hosted outside the ASUO office somewhere on campus.
“For senate, I’ve been more flexible” Boyd said “We’re all working students that are involved with other exra-curricular activities, and office hours are difficult to manage. My main goal is just to make sure my senators are enforcing the rule of being in the office to ensure that there is availability.”
Hours are tracked by a sign-in sheet within the office. Senators are required to sign in during their office hours and sign out once they leave.
According to Boyd, he is in the ASUO office enough to validate many of the senator’s hours himself if they neglect to sign in.
“We are required to fill out a form saying when we are available, but throughout this current year, I know there has been some difficulties with students getting more involved or having to drop courses,” Boyd said. “So [office hours] have kind of been shifting as we’ve been going along.”
According to Boyd, there is a whiteboard within the ASUO office where senators can write updated office hours and inform any students hoping to get ahold of them.
Last spring, students voted in favor of a constitutional measure to lower the required amount of office hours that are required by senators. This decision came after a majority of the senators felt that office hours were not being utilized by students.
Related: “Measure for measure,” the Emerald’s coverage of 2019 ASUO ballot measures
Senators are not the only members of ASUO that hold office hours, however. ASUO executive is required to hold office hours as per President Sabinna Pierre’s Fulfillment of Duties document.
According to ASUO’s Google Spreadsheet that lists ASUO members’ office hours, many ASUO Executive officers have been holding these hours throughout the term. However, according to Pierre, students with hopes of getting in touch with a senator or executive member should not rely solely on this spreadsheet, as office hours are routinely changed and updated.
For instance, most ASUO executive directors only recently updated their office hour information on this spreadsheet. This includes Pierre (who added her availability to the sheet on Nov. 4, according to its edit history), her vice president Nyla Jamison and her newly appointed Chief of Staff Indigo Irving. Despite this, Pierre says that her office hours “are and have been posted.”
According to Pierre, executive has only had a few issues when it came to office hours.
“We've merely encountered four specific individuals who haven't been fulfilling their office hours consistently,” Pierre said in response to a question about ASUO executive member’s office hours. “But we since then had candid conversations and that has since been resolved.”
While these unnamed members of Pierre’s staff failed to consistently fulfill their office hours, the ASUO constitution does not require them to; therefore they are not technically in violation of any constitutional clauses, only Pierre’s formal expectations.
“The ASUO Constitution lists several responsibilities of the ASUO President and Vice President,” Becky Girvan, ASUO’s professional staff and consultant on the ASUO constitution said “The executive branch does not have bylaws that outline the position responsibilities of cabinet members like the legislative branch does.”
For those hoping to contact their department representative within ASUO or to meet with a senator about budgetary concerns, Pierre earnestly recommends that students contact members through their ASUO emails as well as using the spreadsheet to find out office hours.