A student-operated publication at Santa Rosa Junior College.

The Oak Leaf

A student-operated publication at Santa Rosa Junior College.

The Oak Leaf

A student-operated publication at Santa Rosa Junior College.

The Oak Leaf

Senate members get punishment for disrupting DRD event

Joshua Pinaula and Virginia Kerr, members of Santa Rosa Junior College’s student senate, were subject to disciplinary action as a result of a November incident involving the Disability Resources Department.

Pinaula, president of the student senate, was put on student conduct probation; meanwhile Kerr received a reprimand, which is the least severe punishment for a student conduct violation.

The Oak Leaf previously published articles reporting on the incident. DRD was hosting a student orientation at the Student Activity center in Bertolini Hall when Kerr asked if she and Pinaula could speak to the students. DRD faculty member Tara Johnson decided there wasn’t enough time for them to speak at the event. Pinaula and Kerr left only to come back and start talking to potential students who looked “bored,” according to Pinaula, about college life during the event.

Administrators repeatedly asked them to leave but instead Pinaula got louder and more agitated, according to DRD administrator Laura Aspinall. DRD administrators called SRJC police after the pair refused to leave the event.

Pinaula said his probation, which will last until May 22, means if he violates student conduct code again, he will be suspended for the semester. He will not lose any of his privileges as a student as a result of his probation.

“Students are expected to talk to their accusers when filing a complaint, in hopes for resolving the issue before punitive actions are taken,” he said. “Had this complaint come from another student, and had they had a conversation with me, I’m certain I wouldn’t be on probation now,” Pinaula said.

Kerr said she believes her punishment was less severe because she was perceived as less of a troublemaker.

Patie Wegman, dean of student conduct, also supervises DRD. Pinaula requested someone other than her rule on whether he violated student conduct.

“I think it was the right move for Patie Wegman to remove herself to avoid the perception of a conflict of interest,” Pinaula said.

Ricardo Navarrette, vice president of student services, ruled on the senate president’s case. He declined to comment on the ruling, saying, “All student conduct is confidential.”

Navarrette, Wegman and Pinaula discussed written complaints from faculty and staff on Dec. 15 of last year. The decision came the next day, on Dec. 16.

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