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Monday, March 8, 2021

Should students get more voting power?

PRO: Give students a louder voice

by Jackson Hayano

There is an old saying that every voice matters. And while this may be true, the unfortunate reality is that not every voice has an opportunity to be heard. And this a problem that Pierce College currently has.

Sure, there are organizations such as Associated Students Organization (ASO), which represent student interests. But students must go directly to their office or get in touch with an ASO representative in order to voice a concern. And even then, there’s no guarantee that the concern or matter will gain much traction.

The idea of student voting would allow ASO and the administration to not only reach out to more students, but to get feedback on ideas and issues that directly affect them.

The voting could be online too, which would eliminate both the need for tellers and for paper ballots. Websites such as SurveyMonkey make it quick and easy to create a voting poll that can then be sent as links to all student emails. Thus, the process of creating a poll, sending it to students and counting the votes becomes quick and accessible.

As for which issues to be voted on, all ASO would have to do is create a list of any current topics that are being discussed in Academic Senate or Pierce College Council (PCC) meetings. On top of that, there can also be a suggestion box where students could submit possible ideas or issues that could be voted on.

Student voting would keep students up to date with what’s going on around them.

A weekly or even monthly email with a voting poll would showcase to students all the matters that are currently being discussed on campus. So, student voting would also play a role in keeping students informed on current issues.

About 95 percent of Pierce’s student population is aged 18 or older, making them eligible to vote in local and federal elections. So, if Pierce students are able to vote on issues that concern their community and country, then why shouldn’t they be allowed to vote on issues that pertain to the college?

Plus, people are always trying to encourage younger folks to vote in upcoming elections. The idea of student voting at Pierce would help students get into the habit of voting and could also show them the difference that their voice makes.

The act of voting has become increasingly popular among college students. According to Tufts University, 31 percent of young people aged 18 to 29 voted in the 2018 midterms elections, which was a 10 percent increase from 2014. The fact that more people are showing up to vote ought to be indicator that young people have a voice that wants to be heard.

Faculty could even encourage student voting by offering extra credit on tests or homework for students who vote.

In the end, what we would get with student voting is a more connected, educated student population that is engaged with what goes on around them. Too many students here are kept in the dark over important issues. Student voting would help popularize and publicize issues that  are circulating around campus grounds.

As paying students, it’s our tuition and our tax dollars that keep the school funded and running. Therefore, it only seems fair that we have a right to vote on issues that will affect our experiences at Pierce.

CON: Hault more disruptions

by Susan Lopez

The word “order” can be connected from the oldest to the most modern political ideologies of democracy. Even though these can vary widely from each other, their goal is maintenance  and balance of a social organization.

Student affairs can be a complicated field to trek, as the number of concerns surrounding their well being cannot reassure 100 percent of the people at the campus.

Therefore, having students to vote in an extensive list of issues will not be convenient for the Associated Students Organization (ASO). The reason why is that having the student body government to count the votes for each student could be chaotic causing rupture or differences on campus.

Pierce College has its own student body that collaborates with the ASO Senate.

According to the ASO By-Laws, “All meetings will be open to the public, posted within seventy-two (72) hours in advance, and held on campus during school hours unless otherwise authorized by the ASO Advisor. All members of committees must be paid ASO members and currently enrolled students.”

Anyone is welcome to attend Academic Senate meetings and Pierce College Council (PCC) meetings to stay informed on campus issues and budget decisions. Students can find ways to personally email board members if they wish to make a personal impact.

The Los Angeles Community College District (LACCD) has similar processes where the body government represents the student’s concerns and choose according to their best interests.

For example, Los Angeles Mission College and Valley College have a similar system, which students choose the ASO members through elections putting them in charge of voting on different issues relating to the students.

Also, California State University, Northridge follows the same system where they have an association of students, who each represent one of the career departments at the campus and that person will choose for the dozens of other students who belong in that group.

If this system is being followed by several campuses around the Los Angeles area, it is because it guarantees a line of order even though it might not be perfect.

However, putting more people into the picture could worsen existing issues and rise controversy as the tally count may not be fair or precise.

The ASO By-Laws also states, “The Senate members must have at least five voting members to be legitimate ASO and conduct business. They must also hold weekly meetings where they propose legislation or policies concerning each student. This assures the order and effectiveness of proposed policies.”

It is also important to remind students that this doesn’t mean their voices are being silenced, but on the contrary, they should speak up about the troubles that are affecting campus and bring them to the ASO member so they can take action.

The ASO members represent all students at Pierce and having them makes the goal for student satisfaction run smoothly for better agreements. Getting to know your representatives and staying up-to-date with public meetings on campus is the best way to take the proper initiative.


The Roundup News
The Roundup is the student-run news outlet at Pierce College in Woodland Hills, Calif.

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