Letters to the Editor: Clarification on Amendment A

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To the Editors of The Channels,

The ASG believes the following are misrepresentations of the facts at hand discussed in your editorial piece regarding ASG Constitutional Amendment A:

-“The Associated Student Government will host a two-day online election starting Wednesday asking all enrolled students at City College to fund their salary.”

A) We are not asking students to fund our salary; we are putting a Constitutional amendment to referendum that would give the ASG the ability to compensate its Officers for their time and service.
B) Here’s how the stipend works. The ASG allocates some of its Student Representation Fund to compensate student representatives so that they are able to serve the students. Students who must work in order to support themselves are currently essentially unable to serve on the ASG. The SBCC ASG is a board of self-selected privileged students that can volunteer many hours of their time. We want to make the ASG a place for all students, regardless of financial or socioeconomic background. Amendment A will ensure this for many years to come.
C) Additionally, the Student Rep. Fund is limited in terms of what it can be spent on. It is governed by CA Ed. Code and can only be spent to support student representatives (i.e., the ASG) as they represent the interests of SBCC students. The ASG has worked hard with the SBCC administration to establish that the stipends are a legal and proper use of these funds.

-“While The Channels Ed Board doesn’t oppose student senate receiving stipends on the face of it, we do feel this vote is being rushed. Students should vote “no” so that they can have more time to be informed, truly understand where their money is going, and what voting “yes” entails.”

The stipend and the vote has been discussed since the beginning of the Fall 2016 semester. Students have had dozens of opportunities to address the ASG with their concerns during all of the 30 meetings in which agendas were publicly posted. In no way is this vote rushed, its been in development for months.

-“According to their stipend proposal, senators would earn from $750 to $1,125 per semester. The student senate president would earn $1,500.”

The constitution with the amendment states that “the ASG will be given the opportunity to compensate its officers.” It does not mandate that Officers will actually get paid, or the specific amounts. That is still up for debate and discussion with the administration. This amendment is a first step.

-“The senate decided among itself last semester to begin this stipend program with money from the $1 student representation fee. This is the fee that all students sign off on when they pay for classes each term. But the fee is sneaky; it’s an automatically checked box that many students or parents overlook while paying for classes. If students want to get out of paying it, they must go to a separate site and apply for an exemption.”

The stipends program was developed with the blessing and the guidance of Dr. Partee himself. This was not just an internal ASG decision; it was actively encouraged. Dr. Partee also told the ASG in Fall that he did not think a referendum was necessary. He apparently changed his mind on January 27th when he informed the ASG that he would not approve expenditures without a Constitutional Amendment. Since new Officers who were promised stipends are interviewing and being appointed this week, the ASG felt it to be necessary that the referendum occur before new Officers were appointed in fairness to them.

-“For unsettling reasons such as this, Dr. Ben Partee, associate dean of student affairs, told the senate he would not authorize their stipends unless a 2/3 majority vote among all students agree to it. In response, the senate has decided to add the stipends to a list of other minor changes proposed to their constitution this semester. Called Amendment A, this list of changes is what’s being put to a vote this week. Senators told The Channels that they would send out a Pipeline email Monday morning informing students about the election. As of this writing, however, the email still has not been sent out.”

How is giving more legislative power to SBCC students “minor changes?” How is adding a whole new Constitutional Article (which has not been done since the creation of the article in the 1960s) in order to give more power to the clubs and Inter-Club Council “minor changes?” How is instituting term limits to the ASG “minor changes?” These clauses were not even discussed.

-“Senators created a website Saturday explaining Amendment A. Despite its informative content  about the voting process, the site doesn’t make up for the shortage of time students have to be informed. On their website, they argue that it is only fair that student officers get compensated for their time and service, just like other college employees. They also say they will receive the same wage per hour as any other student employee. The Channels feels this is a contradiction, considering they argue for fairness but also voted themselves to be the only student employees on campus to receive free staff parking passes.”

This is simply untrue. ASG Officers pay for their parking passes, just like all staff and students. The main reason the school gives the ASG parking passes is because Officers are on campus so often serving the student body—going to College administrative committees, putting on events, transporting food and tables and chairs and equipment back and forth. The ASG did not “vote” to give ourselves parking passes, this has been a precedent for many years, it simply made all of its Officers equal instead of only half of them having passes, since it felt this was a gross inequity. Furthermore, in practicality, ASG officers will be “earning” less than the new California minimum wage rate, and are limited to 5 to 15 hours a week of work that can be compensated.

-“It’s clear that while they are attempting to be informative about the fairness in Amendment A, they are not being transparent about these parking passes.”

Again, the parking passes are not a new development. Student government officers have had passes for many years.

-“According to their website, student officers work 2 to 8 hours per week, must have a 2.0 GPA, and be enrolled in five units. Considering this, the bar for potential new senators is not high. They could be appointed to a position while barely upholding City College’s academic good standing.”

A) This is not current information. That website is from a previous ASG. The current website is asgsbcc.org. The 2-8 hours per week no longer applies; since you have to attend to ASG business for a minimum of five hours to receive the stipend. Furthermore, the mandatory meetings alone amounts to approximately 5 hours, and the ASG officers are expected to put in a lot more work than just showing up to the meetings.
B) Those requirements is the absolute bare minimum required to even apply. One will not be accepted if they are not considered to be a great addition to the senate.

-“Given all this, we are concerned that too few students will know about the election to vote fairly. This increases the possibility of senator’s friends having undue influence on the outcome.”

A) Ours is a school with tens of thousands of students who have been given the adequate time and resources in order to make up their mind.
B) There are no longer ASG “Senators,” only Officers.

Thank you for your diligence and devotion to the truth in this age of misinformation.

Sincerely,

Dylan Raiman and Sebastian Rothstein

Associated Student Officers

[email protected]

[email protected]

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