Student senators snoozing on the job, overspending on the budget

Student senators snoozing on the job, overspending on the budget

Michael Clark

Student Senators Curtis Russell Bonds (left), Juliana Sloto and Rafael Solorzano during the Associated Student Senate meeting April 5, 2013 at Santa Barbara City College.

Hannah Smith, Staff Writer

It’s 9 a.m., and to no one’s surprise, the student senate meeting is still half empty.

“It’s really embarrassing when we have high up college administrators come to our meetings and we have to make them wait because over half the senate is showing up late,” said Vice President of Senate Affairs Elie Katezenson.

The Associated Student Senate has the most impact out of any student-run organization on campus. They are the central decision makers for the student body.

But this semester, the senate’s effectiveness has been dwindling.

With the election of underqualified senators, subpar attendance records and careless budget management, the future of City College decision making is at risk.

During the March 8, 2013, meeting, three new senators were elected. One candidate was casually dressed in flip-flops and presented a half-completed application, admitting he had no previous leadership experience.

He received a unanimous ‘yes’ vote from the senate.

In Senate President Geneva Sherman’s absence, Katezenson ran the meetings for two weeks. During this time, she was continually reminding the senators of the importance of showing up on time while replying and sending emails.

Senate Advisor Amy Collins said the key to making a strong and effective senate is clear communication and active participation.

“I wish they would communicate more and I wish they could all participate more,” said Collins. “Instead of taking on 10 things, maybe they can just take on 5 and really focus their attention more.”

One area that could use this focused attention is the less-than-stellar budget.

The senate is responsible for two separate accounts. One is funded by the $1 student representation fee that each student pays with class registration. This can only be used for student advocacy, such as March in March and Region VI meetings.

Account No. 1 has an income of $36,008, of which $12,276 has been spent.

The second account is the personal senate account. It is used for granting clubs money, senate photos and donuts for the meetings.

Account No. 2 has an allowed income of $2,224.

When Robbie Deegan, Vice President of Operations and Finance, presented the budget report during the March 12 meeting, senators were alarmed to discover they had been overspending on account two by nearly $1,750.

That’s a total of $3,967 spent thus far.

With additional pending club grants, Deegan reminded the senate they are not doing all they can to fundraise. The only repercussion of this oversight is that the debt is inherited by next semester’s senate.

Superintendent-President Dr. Lori Gaskin wants the senators to understand that, while it’s an honor to serve the school, it’s also a great amount of responsibility, and they need to be prepared to work hard.

“Any leadership position … is both a privilege as well as a set of responsibilities and those go hand-in-hand. You can’t have the privilege without the responsibility,” said Gaskin. “I would really put it to the student senate to communicate clearer expectations.”