Disability resources continue to hold the floor at ASUW Board of Directors meeting

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Disclosure: Trevor Hunt currently works for The Daily.

The debate over disability resources and the Office of Inclusive Design continued at the Jan. 23 ASUW Board of Directors (BOD) meeting.

Office of Inclusive Design

This week saw the introduction of Board Bill 1.01, which would formally establish the Office of Inclusive Design as an ASUW office. The bill was introduced with the understanding that only a reading and preliminary debate would take place this week, ASUW Vice President Kevin Mendez said.

“The intent is to fully consider and debate it next week,” Mendez said, asking BOD members to take the coming week to familiarize themselves with the hefty proposal packet.

“We strive to ensure all events, jobs, and services provided by ASUW and [Registered Student Organizations (RSOs)] are designed to be accessible from the start, limiting the accommodations model and the burden on the students,” the bill reads. “The OID provides services, consulting and funding to ASUW and RSOs who seek to design their programs and events more inclusively.”

Before the bill was tabled for a week, a few questions about the OID’s budget were raised by Jeremy Moon, chair of the Services and Activity Fee (SAF) Committee. 

The SAF is a mandatory fee charged to all UW students in order to fund various services and activities on campus. Beneficiaries of SAF include the ASUW, the HUB, and The Daily.

“If this [funding] request was not met by the Services and Activity Fee Committee, what would be the plan logistically in the coming year to either accommodate the deficit for that or to change the scope of the office?” Moon said. “Would the office still be created if that was the case?” 

Trevor Hunt, finance and budget (F&B) director, replied that it would be up to him, the F&B committee, and the BOD to decide where the deficit would be made up. If the funds that SAF allocates to the ASUW for the 2021 fiscal year do not include full funding for the OID, Hunt said, the F&B committee and the BOD would decide the best course of action, which could include deferring the creation of the OID until next year. 

At the request of Sam Akeyo, director of university affairs, Mendez provided clarification on the timeline for the bill. After next week’s full discussion on the proposal, Mendez said, the bill would be referred to three committees: the F&B committee, the personnel committee, and the judicial committee. Each committee would give their recommendation, following which the amended bill would be returned to the BOD for final approval. 

Passed legislation

  • Board Bill 2.38 appoints Aditya Gunawan to the ASUW Personnel Committee.

  • Board Bill 3.25 appropriates $675 for Phi Chi Theta’s Second Annual Business x Technology conference, held on Jan. 26.

  • Board Bill 5.05 is entitled “A Resolution on the Hiring Process for the Disability Resources for Students Director.” The UW is in the process of hiring a new director for the Disability Resources for Students (DRS) office after the resignation of the previous director in autumn quarter, and the ASUW Student Disability Commission (SDC) is requesting two seats on the hiring committee to be reserved for disabled students “appointed through an ASUW process.”

    Appointments like this are typically handled through an open selection process, which “shall be applied to all non-paid ASUW appointments” according to the ASUW bylaws. 

Under the open selection process, the bylaws state that appointees must “have a desire to become enthusiastic participants in the Associations and University,” must “demonstrate either past experience in the work of the committee or volunteer position or a desire to acquire some experience,” and, if being appointed to a non-ASUW post, “express a commitment to representing student interests as determined by the Board of Directors and the Student Senate.”

Akeyo noted that the bylaws also allow the BOD to appoint members to “University Committees that arise for a special purpose and are not recurring.”

Camille Hattwig, assistant director of the SDC, expressed concerns that nominating disabled students through the open selection process could “potentially be outing to students with disabilities involved with DRS.” 

Despite the BOD’s commitment to transparency, Akeyo said he felt it would be “inappropriate” to make a formal appointment through Senate, “just because you would be reviewing confidential documents.”  

“This might be one of those things we want to do behind the scenes rather than codifying,” Akeyo said.  

Board Bill 5.05 was passed unanimously with the understanding that formal language and procedure for the appointment would be drawn up over the coming week.

The ASUW Board of Directors meets every Thursday at 5:30 p.m. in HUB 303. Meetings are open to the public.

Reach reporter Matthew Hipolito at news@dailyuw.com. Twitter: @hipolmat

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