Seeking leadership from the ASO

Cartoon: Maria Salvador

 

 

The student leadership at Pierce College has an opportunity to make real change in the lives of the students but instead has settled for sinking into obscurity.

 

In one of the state’s largest community colleges, officers are elected to leadership positions in the hopes that they will take an active role in improving the lives of students.

 

But so far, this year’s leadership has failed to accomplish anything.

 

Former Associated Students Organization (ASO) president Gabriel Mellibosky recently resigned, prompting Vice President Febe Ruiz to step in. Ruiz has plans to attend Cal State University Northridge in the Spring which means yet another interruption of power in our student government.

 

With the semester coming to a close the current president is almost out of options. It will be up to the next president to take real action.

 

The ASO officers are elected by the students to serve their needs, however, this makes the third year in a row a sitting ASO president has failed to serve their full term.

This cannot continue.

 

Brad Saenz, ASO advisor, is employed in a part-time basis by the college.

 

This means that the only advisor for the student government is not available full time. The group that is in charge of more than a hundred thousand dollars in student funds needs a full time advisor.

 

With a half million dollars in reserve and a base of more than 20,000 students the student leadership at Pierce has the opportunity to do almost anything, but instead have chosen to be content with hosting a fair.

 

Earlier this semester the ASO hosted a fair involving the many clubs on campus in Rocky Young Park.

 

While this happy and fun event no doubt lifted many student’s spirits, it should not stand alone as the sole thing our student leaders have accomplished.

 

There are so many problems facing the campus that the opportunities to improve students’ lives are almost endless.

 

The ASO could choose to fund the defunct ITAP pass, or even host a referendum about it like we were promised last year.

 

The ITAP, which served as a low cost access pass to public transportation for students, was cancelled last semester due to a lack of funding.

 

The program, which cost the district approximately $1.2 million for each six month period, would cost Pierce’s ASO approximately $133,000 for six months, without being further subsidized by the students.

 

With so much money at their disposal the student leadership could fund the athletic department, provide students a place to eat that isn’t full of overpriced, unhealthy and questionably clean food.

 

The group representing students at the college could enact real reform by registering its students to vote and starting petitions.

 

They could start letter writing campaigns and visit local representatives to ensure that student’s voices are heard.

Earlier this semester the Students Organizing for Success club put on and planned a school wide rally to protest the cuts in California’s education budget.

 

The ASO backed away from supporting the rally at the last minute because of poor planning.

 

After failing to adequately plan, prepare for and advertise for the counterpoint of what was arguably one of the most important events last semester the ASO backed away from the school wide rally which they helped to plan.

 

Shame on them.

 

Long absent from important campus meetings such as the academic senate, the ASO seems content to merely hold their weekly meetings and dole out funds as they see fit caring little for they good they could be doing.

 

With a budget this year of $142,100 the ASO has funded everything on campus from club events to the president’s honor list reception.

 

They have also decided not to fund many events and causes such as an annual film festival, the ASPIRE club, a thanksgiving potluck and much more.

 

The students at Pierce College elected leaders not book keepers. Doling out money to organizations on campus is wonderful but we need more from our leaders.

 

We, the electorate of Pierce College, are asking, no, begging for leadership.

 

Thousands of us are struggling with co-enrollment, financial and social issues.

 

Who can we turn to for support?

 

Go to the important meetings, learn about the issues that affect your constituents and then take action.