May 26, 2019

Senators debate service hours

Associated Students, Inc. (ASI) proposed a change aimed at making the association’s senators more accessible to students.

At a Feb. 10 ASI meeting, members discussed a policy that would distinguish the office hours from service hours, which ASI senators must serve.

Each senator is required to serve at least eight hours per month attending to the concerns of the student body. The executive vice president has the power to determine what constitutes acceptable acts of service. The proposal, if passed, would make the parameters for service and office hours stricter.

Executive Vice President Alex Andreotti said the policy would hold the senators more accountable to serving Fresno State students.

“There is no policy in place to describe the responsibilities and expectations of senators,” Andreotti said. “This policy would outline the position, so future senators are familiar with the expectations they will be held to upon entering the position.”

Service hours would include attending universitywide committees and tabling on behalf of ASI or their respective college, whereas office hours would include working and serving students inside the ASI office.

“This is meant for students to know when their senator is available for questions, comments or concerns,” Andreotti said. “The purpose of splitting the two is to ensure senators are serving students in every capacity possible.”

ASI Senator for parking and safety Pedro Ramirez said that the senators should be given some leeway in how they serve the students. He said that the proposal could give too much power to the executive vice president.

“I think the senators should have flexibility in what their service hours are,” Ramirez said.

Ramirez said that he fulfills his service hours in the ASI office and also walking around campus talking to students. The proposal could force Ramirez to spend more time in the office and not in the field.

“Any activity a senator does would have to adhere to the ASI mission statement,” Ramirez said. “I think that the senators should serve their students as they see fit.”

Ramirez said that it can be difficult for ASI senators to go beyond what they are already doing to serve the students, but they must do what it takes to fulfill their duties.

“In my opinion, if you run for office and get elected you have a job to do and you should have time for the students,” Ramirez said.

Senator for activities Amy Wilson said that the executive vice president shouldn’t have the power to choose what counts as service time.

“I don’t think that it’s wrong,” Wilson said. “But it puts a lot of pressure and power with the executive vice president.”

Wilson has been in office for nearly a year, and has met the service hours requirement every month she has been a member. She said serving more time would be strenuous.

“It is difficult, because I have a ridiculous schedule,” Wilson said. “I don’t get into the office until after 5 p.m. I have trouble serving more time unless I have a class cancelled.”

Wilson said she is fulfilling her duties to the student body and the change isn’t necessary.

“I usually go to the table or go into the office and do whatever they need me to do,” Wilson said. “I talk to people in the USU Productions office. I try to make myself available as much as possible to the students.”

Selena Farnesi, the senator for student affairs, said ASI’s policy on office hours would help structure the service for students at Fresno State.

“As senators we should make ourselves available to students who may have concerns, questions or comments,” Farnesi said.

Farnesi said there could be some changes to the service policy. She thinks the senators should provide even more service to the students.

“As senators we should be held to high standards. We should want and expect to do more for our peers,” Farnesi said. “Office hours are the minimum requirement, there is no reason we shouldn’t be doing more to represent students.”

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