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Student government to debate its constitution

Posted on April 7, 2014 | in ASLCC, News | by

Amendments would overturn student decisions from last year

Members of the Associated Students of Lane Community College Senate are scheduled to debate a change to the ASLCC constitution that, if passed, would change the positions of treasurer and multicultural programs coordinator back from appointed positions to elected positions.

Weed said making the two offices elected positions could “keep people honest,” ensuring some level of checks and balances within the student governance system.

“I don’t know of any governing agency anywhere that only has power from one group, outside of a dictatorship,” Weed said. “Have you ever even heard of a treasurer for any group of organization that wasn’t elected?”

In the 2013 ASLCC general election, students approved a ballot measure that make the offices multicultural programs coordinator and treasurer appointed staff positions to be filled by a hiring committee.

The ASLCC bylaws stipulate that if the MPC and Treasurer are elected, they’re allowed to vote during ASLCC Senate meetings. If they’re appointed, they’re not eligible to vote. Current MPC Nathan Campbell and Treasurer Zach Wais were grandfathered in as elected officials because they were part of the same general election that included last year’s amendments.

Even if the amendment is approved, students would not be eligible to run for MPC or Treasurer until the 2015 ASLCC general election.

“All of this is simple,” ASLCC Senator Francisco “Kiko” Gomez said during the April 2 meeting. “I made simple changes to this. It’s not that hard to approve.”

Gomez added that he believed in the changes he was proposing.

“The majority of (students campaigning to be elected to) these positions run unopposed, so that one person only needs one vote,” Ellis said.

ASLCC President Paul Zito said he didn’t like the idea of having an amendment on the ballot that overturned a student-approved amendment from the year before.

“We spent I don’t even know how many different Monday work sessions and Wednesday Senate meetings talking about this very same issue. We came to the conclusion to change it,” Zito said. “Let’s try this for a year before we change it again. We don’t even know how it’s going to work yet.”

Upon hearing Zito’s thoughts on the amendments, Weed said he was willing to try the process for at least one year.

“I’m just concerned,” Weed said.

Wais said the decision should be made by the students.

“Who are we to modify the rules by which we govern ourselves?” Wais said. “That’s kind of a conflict of interest right there.”

Max Jensen, the gender and sexual diversity advocate for the student government, said the multicultural programs coordinator needs to be a staff hire because that person must represent and coordinate student identity groups including the Black Student Union and Asian and Pacific Islander Student Union.

Because those student identity groups serve the purpose of representing students in underrepresented minorities, choosing to have the multicultural programs coordinator as an elected position leaves open the possibility that a student without the best interests of those minority students at heart.

“Depending who does run for (multicultural programs coordinator), that person running is going to represent the minority, but will be elected by the majority,” Jensen said, “and that doesn’t make any sense.”

Jensen said he’s also concerned about potential role low voter turnout could play in the elections. Last year, less than one-tenth of 1 percent of eligible Lane students voted in the ASLCC general election, but students managed to elect a full government and pass four ballot measures before the polls closed.

Jensen told his peers they would also benefit from the position of treasurer remaining as hired staff, because it’s crucial for ASLCC members to have regular access to their updated budget while they make decisions, Jensen said.

Before the Senate could come to a vote, the discussion was tabled to the following week after student leaders decided that they didn’t have enough time to adequately discuss the amendment.

The April 2 ASLCC meeting began at 4 pm and adjourned shortly after the discussion about amendments ended after 8 pm.

The ASLCC Senate will meet April 9 at 4 pm in room 210 in Building 1.

“Bring your rhetoric,” Wais said.

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One Response to “Student government to debate its constitution”

  1.' Michael G says:

    The treasurer needs to be elected to provide an independent voice to the Senate. An elected treasurer is only beholden to the the students. An appointed treasure serves at the pleasure of the Senate and can be replaced if there is a difference of opinion (or desired opinion).

    - A former ASLCC treasurer.

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