Jorge Riley and Tamara Dunning will face off in a rematch for the position of Associated Student Body Student Senate president in the special election to be held on Tuesday, Sept. 9, following the invalidation of Riley’s win last semester.
There are also three candidates running for senator: Jasmine Habibeh, Nancy Lopez, and Shayana Mendes. Mendes served on the board as a senator last year.
The position of president has been filled by Student Senate Vice President Leslie Milan Fisher thus far this semester after Riley’s election to the position last spring was invalidated. Riley, who served as ASB director of finance last year, won the election by a wide margin, receiving 213 votes to Tamara Dunning’s 151 votes.
Riley’s election was invalidated based on a recommendation to the Los Rios Chancellor’s Office by former American River College interim President Pam Walker when the ASB election results were made official in June.
A member of the committee dealing with campaign violations, Clubs and Events Board representative Jeff Gonzales, said that the committee determined a campaign violation took place, but would not specify whose campaign it came from.
Riley said he had a meeting with Walker regarding an alleged campaign violation from his campaign.
He claims the alleged violation was related to campaigning in the library without permission, which is against the rules.
“The rules were that you weren’t supposed to campaign in the library unless you got permission. Well, I went and I got permission,” Riley said. “Then all of the sudden in the middle of the summer, I got invalidated and my case thrown out, and then everyone left.”
Riley claims his election was invalidated because of his issues with the school administration.
“It could be the fact that I sit around throwing the administration under the bus all the time because of the horrible things they do,” he said.
Dunning, who served as ASB vice president last year, says that Riley is not being totally truthful.
“Mr. Riley contends his violation is because he was running copies in the library, and that other than that he has no idea why he would be disqualified or why he would not be declared the winner,” Dunning said. “Except that’s an absolute lie. When you have an election violation you are called into (Student Senate adviser Tanika Byrd’s) office and have a meeting with her so you can … explain.”
“I think students are tired of hearing candidates talk. They want somebody they can believe in. They want to be able to trust the candidate. To trust their ASB. And there’s only one candidate who’s willing to back up what they say with proof,” Dunning added.
Dunning voluntarily gave the Current a copy of her school transcript, in the interest of “transparency.”
Riley says that Dunning doesn’t have enough information to contend he’s not being honest.
“She doesn’t know anything. Did she see the paperwork? She didn’t see the paperwork. Was she on the board? She wasn’t on the board. Was she in any of the meetings? So why would she outright call me a liar?”
Riley says that if elected, he plans to focus on gaining summer bus passes for students.
“In order for us to have summer bus passes, I as president would be sitting on the Sac board which is comprised of all the Los Rios student body presidents and student trustee,” he said. “I’ll bring it forth to them and say it’s a district wide issue.”
“I will be asking students to sign up to go on a field trip to the board of trustees,” he added. “We will bring in an army of students to the board of trustees and we will demand they give us the ability to give us summer bus passes.”
Riley also wants to spend time auditing the ASB’s internal finances.
“It’s a normal practice to every so often hire an accountant to come in and do an internal audit and tell you where your money has been,” he said. “(ASB) has around $186,000 in its savings right now. I would like to see us go towards the purchase of the bookstore when the contract comes up. We could own our own bookstore, so that when you sell a textbook back to the store, you don’t get $5 for a $200 book.”
Dunning is excited at the prospect of possibly succeeding interim President Leslie Milan Fisher.
She said that if elected, she plans to focus on connecting the Student Senate to the lives of the students.
“We really need, especially at ARC, to not just build a bridge, but cross that bridge between the senate and the student body,” Dunning said. “It was very enlightening coming back from G.A. (the General Assembly of California Community Colleges) and showing students our logo. Maybe two of 200 knew what it was. It shouldn’t be that way.”
Dunning encourages students to become involved in following the student government.
“Come to meetings. Come talk to us,” she said. “Our outreach needs to be better than it has been. We’re not reaching students.”