On Thursday May 12th, 2005 I raised a question concerning shared governance during the second open forum interview for the Riverside Campus Presidential search. The concern I shared was why where students not invited to the “Open Forum” interviews, furthermore why were we not involved in the selection process from the beginning. Academic Senate President Virginia McKee-Leone responded by stating the committee did not fell that students would be able to commit and dedicate to the long process required. She wrote off the lack of invitation as a “drop in communication”. During the Board of Trustees meeting of Tuesday June 21, 2005 I took this forward this issue to the Trustees and again President McKee-Leone responded, only this time stating that the reasoning was due to the previous lack of student involvement in District Committees. The point I bring is two fold. First, we are community college students, considered adults in this community. I am insulted that our time commitment and dedication is being decided for us, that this district feels we are capable of enrolling in an institution of higher learning, yet not capable of making our own decisions. Second, I am appalled that the Academic Senate, made up of our own faculty, are holding the actions of previous Student Government administrations against the students of the present. All I ask is that each student is given the opportunity to make future decisions for themselves!!! After my presentation to the Board of Trustees Chancellor Rotella stated that he will make sure that students are kept involved within the district.
Interestingly enough, I again addressed the Board of Trustees during the Public Comments section. Among other issues I addressed the idea of offering our Student Trustee an Advisory vote. Dr. Rotella had two “defenses”. First he stated that for the Board of Trustees to pass down the power vested into them through election was illegal. Of the 72 Community Colleges in California 56, offer an advisory vote to their Student Trustee. Is Dr. Rotella implying that all of these institutions, equipped with their own attorneys, are violating the law??? Furthermore, we are only asking for an “advisory” vote, it doesn’t count, it has no weight in decisions, it is merely recorded in the minutes, IT IS A MATTER OF RESPECT FOR STUDENTS!!! Dr. Rotella’s second response was that not allowing an advisory vote was in protection for the students…what are we protecting them from??? HEARING THEIR OWN VOICE!!! The only protection that is occurring is the protection of the Board of Trustees and college administration, protection from the community realizing that the students differ from their decisions.
WE are the reason there is a college administration, WE are the reason there is a Board of Trustees, We are the community in a Community College, and WE must be given a voice to be heard. Our ASRCC theme for the year is “to unite the VOICE of students, to create a ROAR for change”…and I intend to do just that to the best of my ability.
Mike Gasca, Vice PresidentAssociated Student BodyRiverside City Campus