With 26 different committees and auxiliary boards on campus, only seven of the committees and boards have student representatives, according to the University Committee draft report for Spring 2005 from Associated Students.
A.S. President Chad Charton said every committee on the report, which is the most recent listing of committees available, should have a student representative so that students become involved with the committees that directly affect them.
Charton, who is responsible for assigning students to committees, said there are times when he recommends a specific person he believes would be effective or beneficial to a certain committee, and other times he accepts eligible applicants.
Prior to the October A.S. election, about half of the seats in the A.S. Senate were vacant, triggered by resignations and unfilled positions at the start of the semester. Senators elected in late October will begin their term in the spring semester.
“Although A.S. is not directly affected by the need to fill (A.S.) Senate seats, the student body as a whole suffers because it is not fully represented,” Charton said.
David Crandall, A.S. general manager, said the students in A.S organize committees by how they impact students.
Among the committees that have student representatives, the Student Fee Advisory Committee has first priority because it advises CSUN President Jolene Koester on changes to student fees on campus, Crandall said.
He also said A.S. is aware of some committees that do not require student representation, but that A.S. has not looked into those committees.
“Any committee that does not have (a) student representative is a cause to worry,” said Safa Sajadi, A.S. vice president.
Tom Piernik, director of Student Development and International Programs, worked at A.S. for 20 years and said student involvement in committees has been significant.
Usually the staff and faculty make the decisions, and then “take the heat” from the students afterward, he said.
“The student voice is vital for legitimacy in committees,” he said.
Sajadi said she has written a draft proposal for a new position within A.S. for a director of academics. If her referral is approved, the new director will serve on committees that make decisions regarding academics and will fill the vacancies, Sajadi said.
This could include the Academic Technology Committee, Educational Equity Committee, Faculty Senate Library Committee, and the Academic Grievance and Grade Appeals boards, which currently have vacant student representative seats.
Other committees that do not have student representation are the University Web Management Advisory Committee, which works on CSUN’s websites, and the Enrollment Management Advisory Group, which assists the campus in addressing the educational needs of the local and regional community, according to the draft report.
Sajadi is on four committees. Committee members of the boards respect and listen to the student voice, she said.
Sajadi remembers when students in the Educational Policies Committee had an influence when voting on reducing the number of general education units required, part of a general education reform plan approved earlier this year by the Faculty Senate and Koester.
Another specific example, she said, she was the influence of committees is when Provost Harold Hellenbrand recently e-mailed members of A.S. with an idea to provide a different model for scheduling of classes. She brought it up to the committee, and it is on the agenda for discussion this year.
“The amazing thing is that I brought a concern, and they are looking at it,” Sajadi said.
Adam Haverstock, A.S. director of finance, said he also has to serve on the Student Fee Advisory Committee and the Instructionally Related Activities Board.
“One student on each committee is enough to make an impact on decisions made on campus,” Crandall said.
Melanie Saxe can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.