Student trustee pushes to amend Board Policy

By Diego Garcia

The Associated Student Trustee of Riverside Community College District Sammie J. Ayoub is pushing to have a board  policy amended in order to give future Student Trustees the ability to have an advisory vote.

RCCD Board of Trustees reviewed Board Policy 2015 Student Trustee on Sept. 6 at RCCD’s committee meeting due to Ayoub’s persistence to agendize BP AP 2015, but was denied any further proceedings.

Ayoub said that he is currently recognized as a full Board member, but is unable to give an advisory vote or second motion.

“The whole idea is to finally hit the final brick in the wall, achieve student success and to have students be curious (and) be decisive,” he said.

Education Code Section 72023.5 allots an institution’s board the ability to enact a policy within their jurisdiction, that allows a member or members of the student body the opportunity to be elected as a full member of an educational board, but will be a non-voting member.

According to Education Code 72023.5, those individuals who campaign for office must be elected by voting-members of the student body in which they (student trustee or trustees) belong to. Likewise, elected student trustees are subject to an impeachment process, in which the student body of their jurisdiction will have the sole responsibility to accomplish.

According to AP 2015 a Student Trustee’s one year term begins at the first Board meeting following the end of the Spring semester.

RCCD Board President Virginia Blumenthal offered insight on how a second motion may be detrimental for those who do not perceive student issues in the same way that their Student Trustee (Ayoub) might perceive them. She also reports that an advisory vote may be reasonable.

“I have no problem with an advisory vote … I would see a situation you might personally believe and the student leaders may believe another way. I do have difficulty with a second mention,” she said.

RCCD’s Student Trustee currently initiates the Pledge of Allegiance at all Board meetings and reports on student activities pertaining to the three colleges within the District.

The Student Trustee is also able to call Student District Consultation Council meetings in which he will reserve his right to vote until or if a tie calls for a break in votes.

According to Ayoub, it has been ten years since a student trustee has made an impactful presence while serving on the Board.

“The role (student trustee) does not define me. I define the role,” he said.

RCCD’s AP 2015 awards a Student Trustee compensation for time served. They (student trustees) are compensated by two $300 scholarships, which are dispersed at the end of each semester.

Trustee Mary Figueroa reveals that an advisory vote or second motion could cause inconsistencies due to a student trustees one year term. She also outlines some of the difficulties that can arise when having a voting-board of six members.

“Your (future student trustees) knowledge of (an) issue may not end up being consistent because if something comes before the Board now, then by the time it finds its way through the entire procedure it may not be voted on until the next Student Trustee comes on board, she said.

“Would that next student have prior knowledge of the Board committee meetings? But the factors are what the pros and cons are. It takes about 18 month or so before something goes all the way through, which is something to consider … Even if they (the Board) decided that they (will) allow the Student Trustee to vote, you could end up with a tie. The five (board members) does not allow for that to happen … So adding a student trustee vote, even if it is advisory, it would add that split. You would have a tie vote a lot more, I think.”

Currently, the San Bernardino Community College Board and Chaffey College Governing Board also abide by Educational Code section 72023.5 provisions giving a student or students the ability to run for office and be recognized as a full board member, those policies are also deemed BP 2015.

SBCC Board and CC Governing Board’s policy 2015 introduces a clause, pursuant to Education Code Section 72023.5, that states, “On or before May 15 of each year, the Governing Board shall consider whether to afford the student member any of the following privileges.”

These privileges include but are not limited to the privilege to make and second motions, the privilege to attend closed sessions, other than closed sessions on persons or collective bargaining matters.

Ayoub claims that a review of BP AP 2015 will once again be agendized some time in November or December of this year.