By Chris Bremer
Students are left bitter after only being allowed to vote for one position in Cuesta’s student government.
All but two members of the Associated Students of Cuesta College (ASCC), which consists of an executive cabinet and student senate, are appointed without a student body election.
Last semester, however, no vice president ran for office, allowing students to vote solely for the ASCC President. This contrasts our sister community colleges such as Ventura, which elects at least eight positions each year, as stated by the Associated Students of Ventura College.
“It’s not fair and we don’t even know if there’s an other option,” said Hanna Brown, a first year Cuesta college student. “Maybe they don’t want students to know. They get to choose who they want.”
As each academic school year comes to a close, our ASCC forms a confirmation committee to recommend and then appoint new members for the following semester, as stated by ASCC Club’s director, Rachel Acosta. Instead of holding a student body vote, the newly elected members and the ASCC President appoint new senators and cabinet members via a confirmation committee of their own. This cycle continues each year.
“If you want to join the senate and you meet the minimum requirements, then most likely you will have the ability to serve,” said Dr. Anthony Gutierrez, ASCC advisor and coordinator.
The comparatively limited role that the ASCC allows our student body is concerning to some, given the relaxed vetting system in place for appointing student senators.
“We should have an opinion on that,” said Tyler Williams, a Cuesta freshman. “If this is our filter, and everybody is getting in, the students should get a say.”
Half of the members of the ASCC executive cabinet are vacant. Due to the 2016/17 school year not having an elected vice president, acting President/Student Trustee, Michael Constable, serves as both positions. This places Constable as the tie-breaking vote for both the ASCC senate and executive cabinet.
“We’re a community college but this is important.,” said Angela DeLine, a first year Cuesta College Student. “This is vital to my community.”
The executive cabinet and the ASCC Senate were crafted with the intention to provide a check and balance system to one another, with the president in charge of the executive cabinet, and the vice president in charge of the senate. This check and balance role is invalidated with Constable acting as head of both committees.
“In [the vacant positions’] absence, we are working as a team to share the labor,” Constable said. “It being unfilled is only a concern because it’s a great position for someone to have.”
No students were interested in the vice presidency last semester. The disinterest in Cuesta’s student government has led to minimal student body elections and a potential redundancy of power. There isn’t one clear answer to a problem as complicated as this. It is agreed amongst students, however, that the responsibility of increasing attention of the student government falls on the shoulders of the ASCC.
“I couldn’t tell you one thing our student government did last year,” said sophomore Duncan Leonard. “I think people would care more if the decisions of the student government were more advertised. People would pay more attention.”