Campus police called on student senators


Jeanine Flaton-Buckley/Oak Leaf

AS Senate President Josh Pinaula may face a student conduct violation after an incident at a DRD orientation.

Kelsey Matzen, Staff Writer

Santa Rosa Junior College administrators called the campus police on two members of the Associated Students Senate during a prospective student orientation on Nov. 4.

Disability Resources Specialist Laura Aspinall called police on President of Associated Students Joshua Pinaula and Vice President of Organizations Virginia Kerr.

The Associated Students officers held an election party for Measure H at the same time as a prospective student orientation, hosted by the Disability Resources Department (DRD), in the adjoining part of the student activities center.

Kerr approached Tara Johnson, disability specialist, and asked if she and Pinaula could tell students about college life.

After talking to Johnson, Kerr and Pinaula returned to the election party. However, Kerr went back to the orientation and told the staff running it that the event looked boring. At this point, Aspinall talked to Kerr.

“She accused me of being really rude to Tara in our initial conversation,” Kerr said. “I was shocked.”

In a phone call to Aspinall, she declined to comment on the incident. Johnson did not return a call.

“It’s really disheartening for me to hear about faculty going out of their way to try to kill student involvement and tell us off like we’re children. That’s something that we deal with a lot,” Pinaula said.

Pinaula returned and talked to some of the orientation students, introducing himself as the student body president and telling them about the college.

“I think the people running it felt really invaded,” Pinaula said. “I don’t think they’re used to actually communicating to students or having student involvement at all. They’re just used to talking at students.”

According to Pinaula, when he walked past Aspinall, she asked if she could help him. Pinaula explained that he was the student body president and he was interested in seeing potential students and getting them involved. Aspinall told him he was distracting people from the orientation. Pinaula accused her of failing to engage the students.

Aspinall then told Pinaula that if he didn’t leave, she would call the police.

Adrienne Leihy, a campus bookstore employee who witnessed the conflict, said Pinaula was not being aggressive. “I don’t think it was necessary to call the police. I mean, these are two student representatives and all they wanted to do was make a presentation,” Leihy said.

“Once she threatened to call the police and then called the police, then we were being bullied,” Kerr said. “It was so far beyond anything that needed to happen. I can’t even find what would be the appropriate way to speak about this college anymore. It is so disappointing.”

When the police arrived, they advised Pinaula and Kerr to stay away from the orientation for the rest of the night.

Pinaula and Kerr may face student conduct violations. In an email from Patie Wegman, dean of Student Conduct, both were asked to attend a student conduct conference.

In her email, Wegman cites Section 1, Item M in the SRJC Standards of Conduct as what Kerr and Pinaula will be charged with. Item M lists continued disruptive behavior, failure to comply with directions of college officials acting in the performance of their duties, and continued willful disobedience as some categories of misconduct.

“If this is how the administration wants to handle their student leaders, by bullying them, we should just start a campaign to tell people not to come to this school because you won’t have a voice and if you stir up any controversy, they will try to shut you down,” Kerr said.