The fall semester was a fresh start for the mostly new members of our student government. The new recruits were eager and hopeful to make positive change on campus, but received criticism from some students and faculty members for their performance. However, the associated students haven’t been unaware of their position, and have already begun taking steps towards making amends.
The biggest issue for student government this semester was described to be a lack of successful events on campus. In past years the associated students held fundraising events during the holiday seasons. This semester the student government decided to hold a toy drive for the EOPS department. Every year EOPS goes out and buys gifts for the children of students in their program. In the past the student government would give money directly to the EOPS department.
But recently they discovered that this wasn’t possible, due to laws preventing them from buying gifts using public funds. Thus, the associated students decided to hold a toy drive as another means of getting toys to the kids.
Throughout the course of the semester one thing that the associated students had a hard time with was the rules and processes by which things had to be done. In the case of holding events, things must be done weeks in advance. It takes two weeks for an event plan proposal to be accepted, and three weeks for funds to be approved.
Aside from the EOPS toy drive, the AS wanted to hold a christmas event for the students of Berkeley City College. With the Christmas event there was funding that needed to be requested weeks in advance so that the food, decorations and other goods for the festivities could be purchased. In reality, the event proposal form and the request for funds were made only a week before the event was scheduled, and this made it impossible for the money to arrive before the actual day of the event. The ASBCC didn’t plan accordingly, if they had the event would have been approved weeks in advance of the desired date.
Head of the Judicial Council, Chief Justice Hassan Moore, had a front row seat during all the action, and gave his insight on the failures that student government faced last semester. He claimed that the failed planning was due to the student government’s neglect of their governing documents. “Financial code was only known by a select few members, and in many situations the documents that needed to be referenced weren’t used or known. Things were just being done impulsively.” In the planning of the Christmas event members of the AS were unsure as to how soon funds would be available and what they would have to do in order to receive these funds. This led to a lot of confusion and frustration when it was discovered that there wouldn’t be enough time to complete preparation for an event.
After seeing the recurring pattern of irresponsibility and disorganization, student advisor Mostafa Ghous decided to intervene by giving the Associated Students a well needed pep-talk in his office. The point of this meeting wasn’t to scold the student government, but to find the cause of the disorder. The conclusion was that the poor performance of student government was a result of a lack of communication and understanding of the rules and procedures, just as Chief Justice Hassan Moore had mentioned.
After this meeting it was decided that it was time the associated students sit down together to read and understand their own constitution, bylaws, and financial code. The meeting brought some much needed clarity to many unanswered questions and problems that had been faced during the fall semester. The Associated Students learned a lot from their struggles last semester, and know that they have a lot to make up for. With lots of effort being put into the coming events, such as Heart of the College and Government and Civics Day, you will be seeing the associated students fulfilling their desire to make amends.