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

Vote Oak Leaf for every seat; we’ll get you a unicorn petting zoo

If you would like a brand new unicorn petting zoo on campus, vote for the Oak Leaf in the upcoming student elections. It will represent you, The Students.

Citizen’s United vs. Federal Election Commission, the case that rendered corporations as people, might not actually affect SRJC student elections, but the Oak Leaf is United 4 Students anyway and will deliver the unicorns.

Our promise is more or less the same promise the other candidates are making.

The problem is not that the issues the candidates bring up are not important—SRJC needs more funding for more sections and the return of the Doyle Scholarship—but the claims they make to fix them are. How will the candidates fix them?

Not one of the candidates has a concrete plan for how he or she will affect change, or what he or she will do in office.

The Associated Students have no clout at the state level or on the Doyle Trustee Board and running for office under this pretense will allow a candidate to do nothing more than have a few words on a college transfer application.

The two big slates (SRJC’s term for a political party), United 4 Students and The Students, don’t add anything to the respective candidates. United 4 Students is united for equity, accountability, sustainability and diversity—broad ideals no one would oppose anyway. The Students’ mission is the definition of student government: involvement and representation.

Students can accomplish a lot, or at least significant headway can be made. Look at the work of Jay Scherf. His article on the Doyle Scholarship ran in the Bohemian and the Oak Leaf and he, with a few other students, wrote an opinion for the Press Democrat. By doing this he garnered attention outside of the SRJC community and later helped set up a meeting between the Doyle Trustees, students and SRJC President Dr. Frank Chong by collecting more than 800 signatures in four days.

Scherf wasn’t even in student government.

Scherf’s tenacious research, organization and involvement with the Doyle Scholarship may have led to the trustees approving its reinstatement, before a federal board cancelled it.

The point is that students can have an impact, by action. That action can come from inside or outside SRJC’s student government; but that word, action, is important.

Not every action has to be as daunting as chasing down Exchange Bank presidents. What about SRJC’s moratorium on dances? One violent incident years ago and SRJC banned all social dances. What about a treasure hunt? What about bring back Day Under the Oaks or something like it.

Community colleges are notoriously apathetic, but there have to be at least 60 of us students who can forgo alcohol for a couple of hours and hang out together. As silly as it sounds to run for a political office planning to make people happy, there is a reason more students watch the Daily Show than C-SPAN. Students like entertainment and trying to shove hard politics down their throats doesn’t make them grow up faster, it alienates them.

Breaking students into politics and responsibilities through entertainment and community could be a great way to fill all the vacant student positions on SRJC’s committees.

But still, vote for the Oak Leaf; we’ll get a unicorn petting zoo on campus.

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  • A

    Annoy mouseApr 26, 2012 at 7:25 pm

    Aww.. he still thinks stuff matters. Cute.

  • R

    Robert West EdmondsApr 24, 2012 at 12:34 pm

    If we equate The Oak Leaf’s arguments about student government to a bunch of unicorns, then the editorial staff may well be on the way to victory in its apparent campaign to disenfranchise SRJC students from participation in their own political process. But, should we all just keep complaining and saddle someone else’s tired old unicorn while the school administration continues making our decisions for us without our input? No. Hell NO. Nihilism gets us nowhere. The paper’s recent editorial does absolutely nothing to encourage students into participation, self-governance “through entertainment and community”, or to move students away from apathy so that they might take action on their own behalf.
    Oak Leaf: “Not one of the candidates has a concrete plan for how he or she will affect change, or what he or she will do in office”.
    Really? How would the Oak Leaf know that? You read a Facebook page or a 150 word candidate statement. The Oak Leaf has not interviewed a single candidate to my knowledge, yet implies that candidates have no “action” experience, cannot act effectively to increase student participation or be sensitive to student needs, and says we are not fun and that is important because students have no capacity to take life seriously. This is plain insulting and untrue to “The Students”, “United”, or otherwise.
    The United 4 Students slate is already taking action on this campus and in the community, and together has thousands of hours of grass roots organizing experience and extensive knowledge of the systems of power at play in the JC District and in the larger community. We ALREADY engage with students and include them and their ideas in our thinking and our action. Four members of our slate (also members of MEChA de SRJC) are part of the North Bay Organizing Project’s Education Task Force and are bringing JC student interests to the larger community organizing effort to change funding priorities for education. That is what “4 equity and 4 diversity” means when put into action. Maybe the Oak Leaf could write about that.
    Jay Scherf’s work is a stellar example of accomplishment through engaged thinking and action. I watched this story develop in the Journalism class where he wrote his investigative piece exposing the Doyle Trust debacle. Student action outside of the governance process is crucial to truly democratic governance. My experience has been almost entirely working from outside the systems of power, but I am trying to bringing some of the outside to the inside here at the JC.
    In that same Journalism class, I wrote an article “The Big O”, which ran in the Feb. 1st Bohemian, exposing lack of accountability for millions of Santa Rosan’s tax dollars (including student dollars that could have been spent on education). My article led to Police Chief Schwedhelm going before the City Council to explain the problem and address the system that was then put into place to create new levels of accountability. I have been actively working on accountability and achieving results in this county for 10 years and I am already working in the JC system to achieve results.
    I recently sat on the District Hiring Committee for the Police Lieutenant position, and brought questions of diversity, race, class, gender, and equity to the table during the interview process, before candidates were allowed to proceed to the college administration for potential hire. That is what 4 accountability means when put into action.
    A.S. President Jessica Jones and I recently met with Dr. Chong to discuss ways to improve the Shared Governance committee process, to make sure that more students can and will participate. We also discussed ways to improve communication and digital equity and access that are more modern than aging systems currently in place.
    Jessica fought with administration for four months to produce the alternative transportation survey that went out to students this week, so that we can begin to realize more sustainable practices on our campuses. That is what 4 sustainability means when put into action.
    Oak Leaf: “the two big slates… don’t add anything to the respective candidates”.
    Bullshit. There is strength in numbers, in pooling resources, working together, and in building community. If members of the Oak Leaf’s editorial staff have ideas that they would like to see implemented, let’s see some action on it. at least present it in a way that might make people want to participate in it, instead of just complaining about it to people who might be able to help make it happen.
    I have great respect for news organizations which, through principled investigative means fulfill their obligation as the voice of communities which they serve, by arriving at well-conceived and constructive editorial positions which might somehow lead to positive results for those communities. Being critical of the process of governance is admirable, but let’s do it in a way that isn’t just mean spirited, cynical, and nihilistic… do it in a way that leads to the action that you talk so much about.
    Oh, and we have cupcakes and Transformer masks at our booth and we wear purple stuff. You know, fun.