Correction: In a previous version of this story, we referred to the ASRCC vice president as Shauna Kimm and the former ASRCC president as Angel Conteras. The story has been updated with their correct last names, Kim and Contreras.
By Chloe Hunter
The head of student government at Riverside City College has resigned after only a few months into her term.
Samantha Coffland was elected president of the Associated Students of Riverside City College in May. She cited personal reasons for resigning.
Shauna Kim, vice president of ASRCC, has taken over the executive responsibilities for the time being.
“We have turned this matter over to our Supreme Court, (which) will be reviewing our ASRCC governing documents and deciding on the next steps,” Kim said about Coffland’s resignation.
Former ASRCC President Angel Contreras expressed that he has known Coffland for a year and a half and that she is not one to back down from her responsibilities. He argued her resignation must have been for good reason.
Contreras shared that Kim has a great opportunity to do more than he could since she is acting in the capacity of both vice president and president.
“Your vice president oversees your senate,” Contreras said. “Your president oversees your executive portion. Shauna is doing both senate and executive right now.”
Contreras hopes to see student government tackle the problems that students face due to the campus closure and operating completely online. He would like to see even more resources for students who now have to learn solely in an online format.
“If they were to move forward with that and focus on that, I would be in a state of shock like, ‘Wow,’” Contreras said. “‘This is the team. This is the student leaders we need on this campus.’”
Kim said the most important thing she is focused on at the moment is making sure the ASRCC senate elections happen smoothly and effectively. The student government is looking for senators for their legislative branch and reports seeing much interest from students.
“We might actually have to push back elections because so many people are interested and we want to make sure that students get the opportunity to join,” Kim said.
The vice president shared that her administration is brainstorming possible ideas for live events that would abide by COVID-19 safety guidelines. The events would be paid for by the voluntary student fees paid at registration. Those fees fund ASRCC’s budget.
One idea under consideration is a moving drive-in event for students where RCC merchandise could be sold to attendees.
Kim said she also intends to make RCC an easy and accessible place for students amid the pandemic. She aims to update the RCC website so that it is easier to navigate and possibly create a community Canvas page so ASRCC can answer students’ questions directly.
“We are really looking forward to seeing how the budget will be spent,” Kim said. “This time last year we didn’t have a pandemic and we had a routine. Now it is time for a new routine.”
Student government is involved in conversations with the Riverside Community College District about the campus reopening, which followed a phased plan in accordance with California’s stages of reopening. The district announced Sept. 9 that classes in spring 2020 will once again be mostly online.
Kim shared that ASRCC made its way into those conversations just recently.
“For right now, I think we are just finalizing into adjusting into this environment because we have a lot of new executives, a lot of new students joining us and it’s really exciting because we get to have new ideas and fresh minds,” Kim said.
Contreras’ administration created an ASRCC stimulus package in May to aid students who were financially impacted by COVID-19. He shared that if the student government were to have the heart to create another stimulus bill, it could be done. Because Kim was involved in creating the last stimulus package, Contreras said it would not be unfamiliar.
“If that’s what the students want and they have the money in their budget to do so, then by all means they have the power to do so,” Contreras said.
Ivan Hess, RCCD student trustee, has suggested ASRCC aid students with a stimulus package again. Student government is reviewing the process but not making any promises.
“Nothing is set in stone,” David Olukoju, ASRCC treasurer, said
Contreras assured that Coffland’s resignation should not be seen as a bad omen of student government. He shared that the student government’s goal is to serve students in whatever way they need and that although education is now virtual, student government will find a way to make things fun.
“Don’t lose faith in your student government,” Contreras said. “Your student government is here to help. They’re a resource that is going to help you perform better academically and in the student life perspective as well.”
Kim encouraged students to join ASRCC meetings to see how student government operates and how the budget is spent. Students can contact Kim at ASRCC.VP@rcc.edu or at @shay.kimm on Instagram.