Student Senate candidate forum reveals differences


Breana Herndon

Tamara Dunning speaks during the Associated Student Body special election speeches as Jorge Riley looks on. Dunning won the Sept. 9 election by a margin of one vote. (Photo by Breana Herndon)

John Ferrannini and Thomas Santos

By John Ferrannini and Thomas Santos

Candidates in Tuesday’s election for the Associated Student Body Student Senate participated in a forum Monday in the Student Center.

Jorge Riley and Tamara Dunning, the two candidates for Student Senate president, presented their visions for the future of the board.

Riley said he wants to focus on putting textbooks in the library.

“I put 1,500 textbooks in the library the first time I was at American River College,” Riley said. “I think it’s imperative we have one copy of every textbook in the library.”

Dunning brought up the idea of outreach to students.

“We need to be out of the boardroom. We need to be out here on campus,” she said. “We need to be more active in our classroom.”

The two presidential candidates disagreed about the invalidation of Riley’s election in the spring.

“I’m completely against it,” Riley said. “I followed all the rules, I felt the students votes didn’t count. I think it’s a tragedy.”

Dunning responded to the question about the invalidation by pointing out that her campaign wasn’t involved and defending the process.

“It is a tragedy that the results were invalidated,” she said. “We know that the results were invalidated because of election violations. However, we have one candidate and one candidate only who has signed a release of information form so you can find out just how many election violations I had: zero.”

The candidates also disagreed with the approach to take concerning obtaining summer bus passes for students.

“They are very much a possibility. In order to get them brought forward, it goes to the SAC Board (of Los Rios student senate presidents),” Riley said. “They bring forth what’s called an emerging issue, and if that emerging issue comes out of the board, then our staff and administration do surveys and that’s when there’ll be lots of student participation.”

While Riley focused on the process, Dunning critiqued his answer by talking about student led advocacy.

“I also agree that student bus passes are a possibility,” Dunning said. “But where I disagree with my opponent is that it isn’t just something that comes out of the SAC Board.”

“This is student advocacy on your behalf. This is any student, every student being able to communicate their needs and their wants to not just the student trustee and your president, but getting information about how to attend the board of trustee meetings so you can speak in the public comment, so you can write the letters,” she added.

Nancy Lopez and Shayana Mendes are running for the position of senator. Lopez said that her experience with groups qualifies her for the position of senator.

“I am a continuing student,” she said. “What qualifies me for this position is that I helped in other campus and off campus community groups, for example here on campus Club Hope and Phi Theta Kappa.”

Mendes said that when she was on the board last semester, she reached out to students.

“The position of student senator is a big responsibility,” she said. “Last semester when I held this position, I went out and I took time to go up to students and to say ‘What’s something you’re satisfied with?’ and in addition ‘What things are you not happy about?’ and I would bring those concerns before the board.”