Board discusses responsibilities of newly elected student trustee



The Board of Trustees approved the rights and responsibilities for next year’s Student Trustee, David Panbehchi, at its Thursday meeting.

Panbehchi, a political science major and student commissioner of events, won the position under the Associated Student Government election with 62 percent of the vote.

“He is a bright-eyed, intelligent and driven young man with passion for making our community a better one,” Student President Dylan Raiman said.

Raiman looks forward to seeing what Panbehchi can accomplish in the coming year.

As for this year, Raiman will present an entire overview of the student government’s year at the board’s meeting on May 25.

This board meeting, however, was Student Trustee Emily Gribble’s last. The board members took turns in acknowledging Gribble as a memorable trustee who gave a voice to students who are powerless and underprivileged.

Gribble recognizes the student trustee position as the most “humbling experience” she’s ever taken part of.

Later in the meeting, Gribble and the rest of the board discussed responsibilities for the next student trustee.

“A position like student trustee is harder than most other student leader positions because you have to straddle both worlds,” Vice President Trustee Jonathan Abboud said.

Gribble asked the board how they would feel about student trustee advisory votes becoming an official vote. She also asked about allowing student trustees to sit in on the board’s closed sessions.

However, President Trustee Marsha Croninger said the California Education Code does not allow an official vote from the student trustee.

Trustee Peter Haslund said the board’s votes are usually unanimous so a student trustee vote would not make a significant difference in the outcome of voting.

He believes “the power of the vote is mostly the power to influence” and that the student trustee already has the power to influence just by attending and speaking up at board meetings.

As for sitting in on closed sessions, Haslund said it could be problematic for the student.

“I would be really reluctant to put a student into a situation where there sometimes is more heat than light,” Haslund said.

He said the board’s closed sessions typically deal with personnel issues and lawsuits.

“I don’t see a problem with the student trustee being in closed sessions personally since the UC Student Regent and the CSU student trustees both get that privilege,” Abboud said.

However, he said in order to make that a reality, the selection process for the student trustee would have to change. Student trustees would have to be appointed by governing boards instead of being elected.

By the end of the meeting, the board agreed to the right of a student trustee to cast an advisory vote, make and second motions, receive compensation and serve a term of one year.

The board also encourages future student trustees to attend and participate in all of its public meetings— appointing Gribble as an example.

“For the past year I have learned so much and I will be taking away a lot of knowledge on how to execute how to be a public servant in an elegant and graceful way,” Gribble said. “I think that’s something I hope to pass on.”