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The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

SBCC student senator to bring showers to homeless students

Matt Johnson
Nicholas Steil, vice president of Student Affairs, visits the men’s locker room on Friday, Feb. 28, in the Sports Pavilion at City College. Steil, 35, has been pushing for the initiative to allow homeless students access to locker room showers for over a year.

Nicholas Steil, vice president of external affairs for City College student senate, is delving his hands into the muck of disadvantaged student life in an attempt to offer homeless students a place to shower on campus.

The program has been in the works by Steil for the last three semesters. It started as an event idea by Steil in the honor society Phi Theta Kappa but has now blossomed into a committee in the Student Senate and is gaining momentum.

A student survey reported that four percent, approximately 800 City College students, are in a mixed-living situation and find difficulty in meeting the need of basic hygiene.

Steil is adamant about this issue on more than just City College’s campus. He plans on handing a resolution to state legislation through the General Assembly as well as attacking the issue through the Board of Governors.

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“I want to see students taken care of, and not just our students,” said Steil. “So why not attack it in both ways?”

Fundamental needs seems to be a theme within the Associated Student Senate between this program and the Food Bank, but is more personal for Steil.

He was living out of his Chrysler Sebring for a few semesters, enrolling in physical education classes to ensure he could use the school’s showers in order to be presentable to colleagues. Now, he has the opportunity to prevent this from happening to his peers.

Steil personally worked on the resolution with Dr. Ben Partee, dean of student development, who proposed that the Associated Student Senate possibly fund care packages for the students who need the showers.

EOPS has also proposed to help pay for a towel service for the students in need.

All students are welcome to use the showers on campus as long as they are enrolled in a physical education course; the goal of this ad hoc committee is to allow students to use this service without having a PE course.

“It’s a basic human right to be clean,” said Associated Student President Ellie Katzenson. “When you don’t have these basic needs, it can affect your educational goals.”

Steil and Katzenson recalled an incident last semester of a woman being asked to leave class due to poor hygiene, and hopes that the program would eliminate such instances from happening in the future.

Currently there is nothing in the California Board of Education’s educational code that prevents students from using the facilities, however his hope is to have a clause that states students are allowed this vital human need.

The Student Senate is optimistic and looking forward to cleaning up this issue for students.

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