Members of the Bishop administration reflect on their year leading the student body

TUSG executives look back on their time as student body leaders

The last year has seen contentious elections, allegations of sexual harassment and a president leaving office having accomplished many campaign goals – all in ASU’s student government.

Brandon Bishop will finish his term as President of the Tempe Undergraduate Student Government on May 8, the day he graduates from the University.

In one of their final meetings as executives, Bishop, Vice President of Policy Kenzie Johnson and Chief of Staff Adrianna Ramos reflected on their time leading the student body of the largest ASU campus. Vice President of Services John Lauro declined to comment for the story.

Perhaps symbolically, TUSG offices were being packed up during the meeting. It wasn't just the personal trinkets and desk items being packed, but the entire office. TUSG is moving out of the third floor of the Memorial Union and into the new Student Pavilion in August.

“It was a really great year,” Bishop said. “I’ve learned a lot about the student body itself. I’ve talked to a lot of different students who have a lot of different things that they want to fix about this campus.”

Bishop came into his administration after a runoff election versus Aundrea DeGravina, winning by less than one percent of the vote. DeGravina challenged the results, but the Associated Students of ASU Supreme Court sided with Bishop, saying he had a majority of the votes and the presidency.

After that ruling, and the settling of other campaign complaints, Bishop and his team got to work. Bishop said that working within the allowed hours set forth by ASU Human Resources presented difficulties throughout the year.

“The hardest part was dealing with the fact of how much time we put into these offices,” Bishop said. “By ASU (full-time equivalent) hours we’re only supposed to work 20-25 hours a week, but most of the time we’re in these offices 30-40 hours a week.”

The year was also a big one for Johnson.

“I’ve learned most about leadership skills and management skills,” Johnson said. “My biggest takeaway for leadership is the importance of making the most ethical choices possible and trying to maintain your values through any situation that might arise.”

Although she wouldn’t expand on those decisions, Johnson did find herself having to make tough ethical decisions through the year. 

Last November she delivered the account of Morgan DiFelice, who accused a fellow TUSG director of sexual harassment

Read more: Tempe USG nomination to ABOR called into question after allegations of 'inappropriate comments'

The executives made goals of raising wages for student services, increasing usage of the safety escort service and providing shuttle rides from campus to Phoenix Sky Harbor airport.

The safety escort service reported a boost in usage, and through the app LiveSafe dropped the average wait time for service to under 10 minutes, which Bishop is particularly proud of.

Minimum wage was raised to $10 an hour statewide in 2017, but before then the Bishop administration raised wages for two specific portions of student workers.

“Bike mechanics can make anywhere between $12 to $20 in Tempe,” Bishop said. “Our mechanics were earning minimum wage and it was really hard to keep good talent here, so we had to work with the whole USG team … but we were able to raise that up to $10 an hour.”

They also raised wages for safety escorts. The next task will be to raise all student worker’s wages to the statewide $10 minimum, something the University has not yet done.

Read more: ASU on-campus workers exempt from Proposition 206

The Bishop administration was unable to finish the work on shuttle rides to the airport, but said progress had been made.

“Student government, especially ASASU, is like this ongoing carousel … we’re still working on things that president’s four or five years ago were working on and we’re finishing them up this year,” Bishop said. “This shuttle service was really something that we started putting forward and it can take a long time.”

Bishop said that his administration focused on policy rather than events, and that focus left their events lacking in student participation.

“It’s hard to get a lot of students to events,” Bishop said. “We brought really great speakers and sometimes I wish we had filled the rooms with (students) … the students that did go had an amazing experience.”

Johnson and Ramos agreed that student involvement could be improved.

“The (public relations) and marketing (in USG elections) was lacking to some students,” Ramos said. “I wanted to help the brand and USG’s name grow more. At the end of the day, we did have issues with the website not being updated, issues with social media not being executed properly and unfortunately that fell on us.”

After the end of the meeting, Bishop spent time looking over his office and stopped at a plaque with former TUSG president’s names – his name is still missing from it. Bishop pointed to some of the names and listed some of their later accomplishments.

“I think one of them later became Mayor of Tempe,” Bishop said. Neil Giuliano, Tempe mayor from 1994-2004 was TUSG president in 1982. When asked if that was in his future, Bishop laughed and said he hoped so.

“I’d love to be Mayor of Tempe; I think that’d be great,” Bishop said.


Reach the reporter at maatenci@asu.edu or follow @mitchellatencio on Twitter.

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