The following is a letter to the American River Current from acting Associated Student Body president Jorge Riley.
To the editor:
During my time here as Student Body President I have been constantly struggling with the administrators about many different issues. First off it’s no secret that the last board worked all year long on many various things despite of not having passed bylaws, however from the gate we were told as a board that we could not spend any money nor work on legislation beyond our bylaws so we ran to try to pass those as quickly as possible.
Student Government Class was brought to the first meeting. The concept seemed very much to be a conflict of interest and it consisted of the entire student government board with the exception of me. In an interview with Student Newspaper editor Jeff Gonzales he said that they were being taught/told how admin wanted them to run student government. We both agreed it was a violation of the Brown Act and that when enough board members were present that it was the definition of conducting business (quorum). I had many student members approach me and tell me they repeatedly tried to work on current business and that students felt as if they were doing something illegal/wrong.
During this time I had to be appointing people to various boards of shared governance that puts students on boards with faculty and administrators to have a say about how our school is taken care of (budget, grounds and safety, etc.). I was told by Tanika Byrd that I didn’t give enough publication for these positions and should have to wait, of course after waiting getting only one response from my ads and leaving no student representation on any of these boards.
After passing bylaws I scrambled to get people onto the board appointed from those who came forward and submitted appointment packets. There were constant struggles with administrators to be able to appoint those members and be able to try to share the huge workload with other students besides the four of us who were elected into the position. I was told that admin had an equal say over anything our board wanted to do from what is in our bylaws to if we are able to have an election, repeatedly reinforced that admin was to be in charge of our student voice and how we are able to speak.
General Assembly approaching I had gone to the board with a bill to send representation to the SSCCC (Student Senate of California Community Colleges). Our admin was very vocal about there not wanting students from our school to attend this event while all our neighbor schools would be going and in spite of the fact that our school has always sent some of the finest leaders in the state. Club and Event Board President Jeremy Diefenbacher who was the voice of non-progress in the Student Senate threw the bill off the table in a Senate meeting.
We were told that we had to spend about two thousand dollars to have online voting from the ASB and that the admin wanted to just be able to take it off the top of our money so it would just be automatic and with no consideration of alternative voting…(Admin spending your money).
We had brought forward a bill to be able to purchase supplies from the bookstore so we could have folders with the governing documents that we needed to have committees and solve our problems which was met with admin opposition and again telling us how we could spend our money.
At the CAEB Meeting we had appointed and voted in a special election board but instead Jeremy Diefenbacher appointed himself to be the voice of CAEB despite of board vote.
I brought the Student Summer Bus Passes to the table at district and tried to survey the student body to prove my due diligence at the district meeting and be able to facilitate the negotiation of this service to the student body and keep my promises. Admin were able to submit this request to survey the students through D2L like many surveys we have had to take but they denied my request.
I came into the Center for Leadership and Development to check my mail and found that the candidate who is running against Senator Laurie Jones who is not even on the board already had a tag on the mailbox slot as Vice President as if admin had already decided who was going to win.
Later I received a call from Advisor Byrd that my application to remain Student Body President was denied due to the lack of just one signature. I was told in a meeting with Advisor Byrd that this was confirmed by three Administrators and I wouldn’t be allowed on the special election ballot. I asked how to appeal this decision citing a local supreme court case with B.T. Collins were the court found he had provided substantial compliance and that I should be allowed on the ballot. I was told I had to go through VP Pam Walker and so I made an appointment with her.
I asked Advisor Byrd if I could speak at the candidate forum during my appeal and she said she would ask the special elections committee, later she denied me and said she just didn’t want to let me speak.
I met with Senator Laurie Jones and Pamela Walker to discuss my position with the Supreme Court ruling and she denied me. She told me now I was missing two signatures and I politely asked for a copy of my paperwork. She told me I was one of the greatest legal minds she had met, shook my hand and I left.
When I got outside her office I spoke with Senator Jones for a minute and she told me that a candidate for senate “Jake Greenfield” hadn’t turned in the required candidate statement and was being allowed into the special election anyways. I had someone waiting for me and I had to go so I excused myself and started to leave the campus when two campus officers stopped me and started to ask me if I had been drinking. I was very confused why they would ask me that and said no I hadn’t then they asked me if I would take a sobriety test and I asked for my full diligence starting with them telling me if they were actual cops or not. They said I was being lippy so they cuffed me and told me I was “UNDER ARREST FOR PUBLIC INTOXICATION”, I was not read my rights but instead of going right to the station as we were in the front of the school they went on a long detour to parade me through school. They took off my cuffs in the station and proceeded to ask me questions and when I inquired why they were questioning me they said I was being lippy. I told them I had been denied legal counsel and was asking them why they took me in a room to violate my rights. Is it that I was doing something wrong or is it that I was trying to get things done? More importantly that after trying to get the Summer Passes my top priority is to push a bill for an independent audit of the school funds. I have heard many stories of embezzlement and misappropriations of our funds.
On a side note I will say in my opinion that the admin has successfully replaced the First Native American Student Body President with a Caucasian man during Native American Awareness month and denied the rights of a veteran just before Veterans Day, I don’t think their idea of diversity is representing our college very well.