Student senate issues demand administrative attention

The Channels Opinion Pages | EDITORIAL


Antony Marchiando

Editorial Cartoon


With the massive failures during the elections and the many issues that continue to plague it, the Associated Student Government is in serious need of changes.

After a technical glitch from the IT department lost 45 votes, 14 were never recovered and the final results were counted anyway. The president won by six votes.

Our biggest question is simple: why wasn’t the election redone? It would be a simple process and in fact, faculty has them all the time.

We at The Channels Editorial Board are shocked and concerned that after such a major error for the most powerful student position on campus, there was not a formal admission of error, any sort of publication of the problem, or any announcement of the final results outside of the regularly scheduled student senate meetings, the minutes for which weren’t posted for another 10 days afterwards.

The fact someone would have to call and ask who won their student election flies directly in the face of the idea of government transparency and accountability.

“It’s the job of anyone interested to go to the meetings or refer to the minutes…I think that’s appropriate,” said current President Colette Brown when asked about these issues.

This is an entirely unacceptable stance from the most powerful student representative at our institution to us at the Ed board. Brown is supposed to be representing students’ interests, not forcing them to search through meeting minutes to find out who their new president will be.

It is the job of the senate members to represent the student body, but it feels like they are actively fighting against us. They should be demanding accountability and asking tough questions about what affects students, not acting as a rubber stamp for everything that makes it on the agenda.

And this isn’t the first time the senate has had a major scandal in recent memory. After losing 11 of 15 senators to still unnamed “conduct violations,” the remaining members scrambled to fill the holes. The senate approved every single person who applied as replacements with very little resistance from any of the remaining members.

It’s understandable that the relatively new senate hasn’t been succeeding. They were brought in on short notice with very little training, into a difficult situation most of them had no idea about.

But if they want to be public officials and represent the students, they’ll have to take some responsibility and demand the help and guidance needed from the school.

As well as technical problems and a serious lack of transparency, confusion and tension between senators and advisors has become a major issue.

Multiple senators have come forward to talk about their frustrations with Allison Canning, associate dean who oversees the senate, and Student Program Advisor Amy Collins. Some of them feel the advisors don’t take the senate seriously, and are sweeping these problems under the rug in order to keep City College’s record of excellence going.

In the past, the advisor for the student senate has been a faculty member with a master’s degree in counseling and extensive experience working with students. But right now, Student Program Advisors Collins and Canning don’t seem to be providing the guidance necessary to promote a successful learning environment for these students.

Collins is not only the senate advisor, but is actually taking minutes, acting as the senate secretary; a position the school could be paying and training a student for.

With all of these issues, it was only a matter of time until something like this election debacle happened. It is time administration steps up to the plate, and steps in to fix a clearly broken system. Formal investigations into not only the election process, but also the advisors and training that have gone into the senate are needed.

The Associated Student Government makes up 25 percent of the governing power here at City College and represents tens of thousands of students. It’s time the members and advisors started acting like it.