Associated Students Inc. approved a new Memorandum of Understanding Dec. 3 that would maintain supervision of its executive director to the board of directors.
The new MOU, an agreement made between the University and ASI, outlined changes to the original version presented on Nov. 6, which shifted supervision of ASI Interim Executive Aimee Barnes from the board of directors to Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management Luoluo Hong. Hong, who drafted the initial MOU and would have served as the executive supervisor as outlined in the agreement.
The new MOU now requires ongoing consultation between the board and Hong in regards to her supervision of the executive director. Activities that would require supervision include the director’s hiring and termination of personnel as well as performance evaluations.
The board has always held responsibility of the executive director according to Board of Directors Project Lead Marcus Ismael. Ismael opposed the first MOU draft because it took executive supervision away from ASI. While he does not find the MOU essential in operating ASI, he said student and university collaboration is a step in the right direction.
“I don’t fully support the MOU because I don’t see it as completely necessary to a more effective and functioning AS,” Ismael said. “But I do think it’s a great piece of bipartisan efforts between factions and members of the Board as well as with the University.”
Representative at Large Kai Santiago supported the change in the MOU and said it was essential to return supervisory duties of leaders back to students.
“I feel it’s crucial to have our students continue to be represented through the board of directors and for the interim executive director to report through us is a big part of that,” Santiago said. “On many other CSU’s it’s a huge problem where the university has too much control over the student government and if that were to happen with SFSU, what would the point of the whole merger be?”
The appointment of an interim director was required according to the merger agreement between the Cesar Chavez Student Center and ASI, which students approved in October.
In the original draft of the MOU, Hong would have taken over supervision of the executive director from the board of the directors, which would have made the executive director responsible to the university rather than student government.
The revised draft restores the board’s advisory of the executive director by presenting goals for programs and services the board wishes to pursue. With consultation between the vice president of student affairs and enrollment affairs and the board, the amended draft returns oversight of the ASI executive director to the students.
Celia LuBuono Gonzalez, vice president of university affairs, was a strong opponent of the MOU when it was first presented to the board, but said the revisions made have restored ASI’s self-governance.
“I feel a bit more comfortable with this new MOU,” Gonzalez said. “It’s acknowledging the authority of ASI.”
Following the Nov. 12 board of directors meeting when the original document was presented, Hong said the intention of the MOU was never to reduce the autonomy of ASI, but to make the board more accountable to students.
“The end result should be a stronger student experience and ability to serve our students,” Hong said.