By Timothy Guy
By Timothy Guy
When classes started this semester there was a change in student government.
Mike Gasca was given a social suspension which effectively negates his position as vice president of the Associated Students of Riverside Community College.
Gasca said he was called into Dean of Student Services Monica Delgidillo-Flores’ office Sept. 1 and informed that a discipline file had been established and he was suspended from participating in student government and club activities. The charges in the file included being in the student government building after hours, damage to District property, unapproved expenditures, unapproved ordering of shirts and name badges, acquiring keys for the club room/golf cart and finally vandalism of the student government office.
Gasca said the social suspension is personal due to his speaking out against the administration during several Board of Trustees’ meetings.Gasca says he confronted Flores and told her it was personal and she responded by telling him that he was “an embarrassment to the college and an embarrassment to the students.”
After the meeting Gasca went to Vice Chancellor of Student Services Linda Lacy about the charges and was told she would look into it. When asked to comment Flores read a prepared statement.
“It is expected that students involved in student government are held to a higher standard as role models and as college leaders. Matters of discipline are confidential; even though there may be some distortion of facts, my hands are tied and I cannot comment,” she said. According to Gasca, two days after the meetings he gave notice to file a grievance and challenge the action.
On Sept. 7 Gasca received a letter from Lacy with the results of her investigation and was informed the suspension was being upheld. Although, according to Gasca, without explanation the charges of unapproved ordering/expenditures and acquiring keys were dropped. When it comes to the charge of being in the student government building after business hours, Gasca admits to it.
“We were fliering for the barbeque,” he said in reference to the Luau barbeque on campus.
But it’s the charges of damage to district property and vandalism that Gasca claims he doesn’t understand. He says that as he and student Nick Mahnke went to leave, his keys got locked in an office. After hours of looking for someone to unlock the office, Gasca says Mahnke attempted to get into the office through the ceiling, breaking a tile in the process.
“It wasn’t breaking and entering and it wasn’t really vandalism because that’s (intentionally) damaging… those things are flimsy to begin with,” he said. “I didn’t even push up the tile.”
When asked if he was punished for his part in the “vandalism,” Mahnke said no.
“I was given a lecture and that’s about it,” he said.
Gasca said he plans to appeal the suspension to the college’s Board of Trustees next month.
“There is no due process, if you look in the student handbook the grievance is only for academic matters,” he said. “For discipline matters you have to appeal to the vice chancellor and she has the final say.”
Lacy, when asked to comment, said through Administrative Assistant Shelia McDonald that she could not comment on student discipline issues.In the meantime, ASRCC President Ashley Di Muccio has appointed David Cooke as the new vice president.
Cooke accepted the position with a modicum of modesty.
“I regret having to do it. I think Mike was a positive force for us, but he didn’t think about his actions enough,” he said. “That’s mainly the reason why I’m here.”