Student Senate gears up for SRJC elections

Luke Heslip, Assistant Opinion Editor

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Election preparations and drafting of a new student constitution dominated the agenda of the Santa Rosa Junior College Associated Students Senate’s March sessions. 

The April 20-24 elections determine the 11 elected senators and the student trustee, who sits on SRJC’s board of trustees and has an advisory vote.

The new constitution, if passed, provides two additional elected officers to join the senate. Initially these senators will acquire seats by appointment but will be elected starting Spring 2016.   

The senate allotted $5,000 for election expenses – $4,000 for student employee compensation and $1,000 for supplies.

An additional $15,000 donated by the SRJC Foundation supplements the senate’s election efforts. 

The 2015 ballot will feature a completely revised student constitution which must receive a two-thirds majority of votes to attain legitimacy.

If the students ratify, the constitution will go to the board of trustees for administrative approval. The document must comply with college policy and not contradict existing laws, such as the California Education Code. An ad-hoc committee also drafted a student bill of rights but the Senate voted to withhold it from the spring ballot in its March 30 session, concerned it was not ready for board approval.

Another major item on the ballot is the student center fee referendum, a dollar per unit enrollment fee with an annual 10-unit cap. The fund is discretionary and at the Senate’s disposal with the express intent to use for student community purposes.

If levied, the fee would be mandatory with some exemptions like the Board of Governors (BOG) Fee wavier.

As the elections draw near, referendum promotion elevated in priority and an awareness campaign is underway via vinyl posters and leaflets. 

The senate is in the process of composing internal bylaws, rules to govern the operations of the senate and establish policy.

A motion to form an ad-hoc committee for the bylaws passed March 30. The senate set April 6 as a tentative date for a first draft.

“Getting the bylaws done is the most important thing we can do right now,” said Associated Students President Josh Pinaula.

In honor of SRJC life science instructor Nick Anast who died in a kayaking accident March 18, the senate donated $200 to his memorial committee. 

The senate allocated $2,100 to send two senators and an advisor to the Student Senate of California Community Colleges general assembly.

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