SBCC students ask senate to reconsider $26,000 D.C. trip

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RACHEL BAKICH, Channels Staff

Two City College students urged the student senate at their meeting today to save money by reconsidering a $26,000 conference trip in Washington D.C.

“At the end of the day, the senate is representing the student body,” Student Asiel Al-Aas said. “Who’s best interest is this trip for?”

Al-Aas and fellow student William Bernstein voiced their concerns to the senate that a conference in Washington D.C. is not a good use of student representative funds. Instead, the students would like to see senators advocate locally in California.

Al-Aas brought up political science professor Manoutchehr Eskandari’s annual trip to Sacramento, which she has attended. Al-Aas said it is very difficult to contact politicians.

“You need months in advance of planning,” she said. “And basically if you show up to a place like that and you’re not organized, you’re not going to talk to anyone or get anything done.”

The senators are still planning the trip to Washington D.C. but may consider attending the United States Student Association Legislative Convention instead.

The convention is held March 27-30, 2016. The only confirmed difference in price would be that the 18 senate members pay $175 instead of $500 each.

Al-Aas and Bernstein pointed out that there are various things across campus that the senate could spend $26,000 on that would immediately benefit students. This includes the portion of students who are currently homeless.

Bernstein expressed how angry some students are about this trip and said he feels it is an unnecessary use of student funding.

“Talk to your student body,” he said. “You will see a lot of students are upset.”

Region VI Vice Chairman Nicholas Steil has also expressed concern about the senate decision to take this trip. He wrote a letter of opposition stating that he feels like there are better ways to spend the money.

“My main concern is that we don’t even pull in $26,000 in student rep. fees each semester,” he said. “We’re virtually spending more than we bring in each semester.”

Student President Isaac Eaves said he heard the students concerns and will work towards the benefit of the school.

Eaves also mentioned that he is working on spending the money in a more responsible way. “Right now it’s just kind of in the works,” he said.

The senate will vote whether or not to take the cheaper trip at their meeting next Friday at 9 a.m. in Campus Center room 223.