The ASUC Offices of the President and Executive Vice President will combine offices for the 2022-23 academic year.
According to ASUC President Chaka Tellem, the merger was first proposed by Executive Vice President, or EVP, Giancarlo Fernandez in order to achieve their joint goals more efficiently. However, Fernandez added that he and Tellem will not hold a “dual role,” but will instead work together on projects and share staff.
“The reason why it was developed was to allow for the president and EVP to work more closely together and to be able to benefit the student body,” Fernandez said. “The student body benefits by us getting our projects and goals done.”
Fernandez, who also served in his community college’s student government, said he proposed the merger after noticing that the ASUC’s executive offices are more isolated than traditional government.
The office merger will consolidate staff between the two offices, but Tellem noted the chiefs of staff of each office will keep their respective titles. Under the new administration, the joint offices will have more departments and more chiefs of staff, each overseeing two to three departments.
According to Tellem, he and Fernandez will continue to perform their individual duties as president and EVP, and certain responsibilities will stay separate, such as the EVP chairing the ASUC Senate.
ASUC Legal Officer Jason Dones said the merger does not create a conflict of interest or violate the ASUC Constitution.
“In terms of legality, it’s not really a conflict of interest,” Dones said. “Each officer has support staff to help them do their job, and it sounds like Chaka and Giancarlo want to have the support staff help both of them.”
The merger is not a permanent change, Tellem said, leaving it up to future presidents and executive vice presidents to continue to implement the merger.
Dones added that this marks the first time the president and EVP’s offices have been combined in ASUC history.
“A lot of times offices or people or different areas of Berkeley tend to work in their own little siloes,” Fernandez said. “This collaboration is to press the message that if we work together, great things can happen.”
Matt Brown, Riley Cooke and Kavya Gupta contributed to this report.