ARC’s student senate concluded it was not adequately prepared to participate and did not attend this year’s General Assembly (GA), a semiannual event in which student senates of California community colleges meet to discuss resolutions to be brought before the state.
Senator Sam Elliott stated that advocating on the state level is one of the primary purposes of the student senate and is disappointed in ARC’s absence.
“The only way we advocate on the state level, essentially, is by going to the GA,” said Elliot.
The board decided not to attend due to missed resolution submission deadlines and lack of discussion of the assembly in its meetings.
“It is an essential role that we play, that we didn’t fulfill this semester,” said Elliot.
The meetings this semester have been primarily focused on passing bylaws and the special elections. “To be really effective at GA you have to be really on top of your stuff. You got to know. You got to have resolutions. You got to be making connections with people,” said Elliott.
Senator Laurie Jones said, “it was just hard for us to get started this year with no president and no bylaws. It’s so hard because it’s so early in the semester.”
“It’s unfortunate. It’s a little bit embarrassing, but it’s a reflection of how new and basically inexperienced our board is and that’s not anything to be ashamed of. We’re students just like everybody else. We’re still learning,” said Elliott.
Former president of the Student Senate Quierra Robey expressed to the board during the public comment portion of a recent meeting that she felt “embarrassed” that this board was not going to attend the GA and didn’t notify the students at school of this.
“It felt a little like we were being grilled a little bit,” said Senator Tim Lipuma.
Some members of the public where unaware of what GA was and were puzzled after Robey’s comments.
“I think a lot of the board doesn’t even know what GA is,” said Lipuma. “Our student senate is already an enigma, it’s like GA is even more of an enigma.”
“It’s a big problem, considering the rep fee is used to fund the advocacy for all the students going there,” said Elliot.
Acting President Jorge Riley said he had suggested that the group set deadlines, and that “if people want to jump through the hoops real fast to get there, that we can go there.”
“Even if we didn’t submit a resolution, I would imagine that the school would have liked me to be there to talk about the resolutions,” said Riley. “It wasn’t my decision though. I do think it was pretty horrible.”
However, during the Oct. 10 student senate meeting, the senators struck the bill to attend the GA altogether after ASB adviser Tanika Byrd recommended it.
This year’s fall General Assembly took place Nov. 1-3 in Santa Monica. In addition to discussion amongst the colleges, there were also workshops for the students on things like how to write bills.