ASUC Executives Must Exceed Minimum Duties

Justin Christensen is the ASUC executive vice president. Respond at [email protected].

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I typically don't respond to such unfounded editorials as Bret Heilig's because I believe students want me to do my job, not participate in mudslinging in The Daily Californian ("Feeding the Many Mouths of ASUC Interns," Feb. 5). But this time, I must respond on the basis of misinformation and a fundamental lack of understanding of ASUC's purpose.

Mr. Heilig and I have different philosophies of what executive offices should do. Mr. Heilig believes executives should perform their outlined duties and nothing else. He is, in other words, a strict constructionist. I mean strict.

I see these requirements as a bare minimum of what should be done. Executives should strive to go above and beyond the specified duties of the constitution and the bylaws to improve the lives of students on this campus.

Doing more than your specified duties is, in fact, in the ASUC constitution. Its preamble states that ASUC shall "protect full freedom of assembly and expression in the university community, articulate and represent the student interest in the governance of the campus, provide services and coordinate activities for students, and advance our common interests and concerns as

students ..."

Case in point: No executive is required to assist student groups with funding, resources, and so on-perhaps the most important service provided by ASUC. If we were to adopt Mr. Heilig's philosophy ("don't dare do anything more than you're required to do"), then no executive would reach out to student groups.

As executive vice president, I've made it a priority of my office to serve student groups despite the fact I'm not required to do so. We've created a new department that goes out to student group meetings to inform them of ASUC's resources, puts on workshops, helps students with the funding process, and much more.

We seek to help student groups any way we can. If Mr. Heilig had his way, I could do none of this.

This is just one example of an executive-initiated project that wasn't mandated by the bylaws. There are numerous other projects I could cite that have had a positive impact on students at UC Berkeley.

The executives were elected by the entire student body because they presented visions of what ASUC could do for students. They envisioned an active student government. They do not want passive executives who simply make sure they are performing the minimal requirements specified in the bylaws.

I had a meeting last semester with Mr. Heilig where he shared his view that we should strictly limit ourselves to the constitution and bylaws. I laughed and replied, "What? Do you want the ASUC to do nothing?"

I guess he does.


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