SGA turnover: SRJC student senate pushes to fill positions

Courtesy+of+SRJC+%0AThe+SGA+started+the+fall+2015+semester+with+a+full+staff%2C+but+now+have+empty+seats.

Courtesy of SRJC

Courtesy of SRJC The SGA started the fall 2015 semester with a full staff, but now have empty seats.

Treven Bulluck, Staff Writer

Since April 2015 the Santa Rosa Junior College Student Government Assembly has experienced an unusual turnover rate of elected and appointed officials with 14 turnovers this year.

In December, an alcohol scandal forced three assembly members from office and two more transferred to four-year schools this semester.

When asked about the SGA turnover, SGA Chair Joshua Pinaula said care of a family member or bigger personal responsibilities were the causes of much of the turnover. “Shit happens, basically,” he said.

Despite the high turnover rate, Pinaula prefers community college systems. “What you see at CSUs or UCs is they have a lot more money. They have a lot more support and they have a lot more time to focus on one thing and get it done,” Pinaula said. “Here we’re seeing a lot more people who have lives.”

SGA Advisor Zack Miranda agreed. He said he understands things come up during school. “There is a natural turnover between a semester, but we did have a number [higher] than we’re used to,” he said.

It isn’t always sudden personal emergencies. Both Vice President of Student Health Diana Kingsbury and Vice President of Finance (SGA Vice Chair) Hakeem Sanusi were accepted to four-year universities for spring 2016.

The new assembly member system allows students to have a voice at the student government table without the power to vote. This has pushed the number of turnover up.

“Those aren’t as official positions and that’s part of the turnover. We have four assembly members who have left us,” Pinaula said. “They haven’t officially elected members. They’re just appointed and they have about half the responsibilities. They get to choose their own responsibilities.”

The turnover has had an effect on the SGA’s agenda. After the loss of Victoria Sheber, assembly member of student rights, the responsibility of creating the student bill of rights will fall to someone else.

Losing the vice president of finance has put added pressure on Pinaula because of his experience with creating codes. “There are a few other campaigns that I want to do,” he said. “But I know the finance code is so important that I need to get the finance code done before I can do other things.”

The assembly also lost the members of study; a position necessary for extending library hours and finding the location of new student lounges.

Pinaula said the SGA lost a whole semester’s worth of work and now has to cram two semester workloads into one.

“I don’t know if we’re going to get the student bill of rights done,” Pinaula said. “I think the finance code will get finished. I think there’s a couple members who are interested in locating the student lounges, but we haven’t had the conversations yet.”

Difficult as this may seem, there are upsides to the turnover. The higher student involvement has eased the pain. Pinaula gave a comparison when the previous student body president ran. “There were 23 positions that were available and three people ran,” he said.

The higher participation has made filling some positions easier. After the representative for the Inter-Club Council stepped down for personal reasons last fall, Miranda said, “Part-way through that semester we actually had somebody from the cheerleading club on campus [fill the spot]. Chazz Medeiros came up and took over for that semester for those duties with SGA.”

Election coordinator Billy Oertel is working on an elections packet for prospective students to fill out and run for student senate positions.