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Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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CSU board of trustees may gain absentee voting

Illustration+by+Gabriel+Ivan+Orendain-Necochea%2FVisual+Editor
Illustration by Gabriel Ivan Orendain-Necochea/Visual Editor
Illustration by Gabriel Ivan Orendain-Necochea/Visual Editor

A new bill will allow members of the board of trustees who are in favor of bettering student issues to be heard when absent from meetings.

AB 1965, authored by Assemblyman Richard Pan (D-Sacramento), was announced at Sacramento State University last month by the Student Action Committee.

According to Pan’s press secretary, Brian O’Hara, it allows members of the CSU board of trustees to send a representative to cast a vote on their behalf when they are absent from a meeting. The bill also allows the first-year student trustee to vote in the absence of the second-year student trustee.

“If passed and signed by the governor, it becomes law on Jan 1, 2013,” said O’Hara. “This bill will help student voices be heard by including the voice and perspective of students regardless of their year on the board of trustees.”

O’Hara believes that allowing the first year student to cast the second year’s vote when the latter student is absent, will help address student issues.

“There are members who want to speak for the people,” O’Hara said. “If AB 1965, authored by Assemblyman (D-Sacramento), was announced at Sacramento State University last month by the Student Action Committee.

According to Pan’s press secretary, Brian O’Hara, it allows members of the CSU board of trustees to send a representative to cast a vote on their behalf when they are absent from a meeting, and allows first-year trustees to vote in the absence of the second-year trustee.

The bill also allows more power for the two student board members; the student with only one year of experience on the board can vote in the absence of the student with two years of experience, previously allowed.

“If passed and signed by the governor, it becomes law on Jan 1, 2013,” said O’Hara. “This bill will help student voices be heard by including the voice and perspective of students regardless of their year on the board of trustees.”

O’Hara believes that allowing the first year student to cast the second year’s vote when the latter student is absent will help address student issues.
Some of the members of the CSU board of trustees include the governor, lieutenant governor, speaker of the assembly and the CSU chancellor.

According to O’Hara,  board members are allowed to choose who will cast their vote and will most likely be an education consultant from their offices.

The SAC had input in the forming of the bill, according to O’Hara.

“It is being staffed by Assembly Fellow and recent graduate of CSU Sacramento Motecuzoma Sanchez,” O’Hara said.

The SAC was created by Pan to better communicate with students and their concerns for higher education by having his district office located on the Sacramento State campus.

When asked whether AB 1965 will help student tuition O’Hara responded:

“This bill will further democratize the board of trustees meetings and decisions being made, including decisions on fee increases, by allowing ex-officio and student members to have more inclusion in the process.”

Edgar Ramos, art major and member of CSUN’s Students for Quality Education, believes the proposed bill may bring other troubles.

It worries me a little bit, wondering who may replace the board of trustees when they’re not there,” Ramos said. “Someone might misrepresent them. My fear is that someone who is replacing them when they’re not there might vote for things they want, like raising tuition.”

However, Ramos thinks the SAC was a great approach to democratizing the board’s decision making process.

“I really appreciate it when we have state legislators reach out to students,” Ramos said.

Biology and psychology major Erika Baron agrees with Ramos’ fear and suggests members choose a different solution when being absent at a meeting.

“If you can’t be there for the meeting, it should be held on another day or they should take their position seriously and show up,” Baron said. “It may not matter to them, but it does to the student who has had a 191-percent tuition rise, and every day, it gets harder to graduate.”

AB 1965 is one of many things the SAC will focus on, according to O’Hara.

“The purpose of the SAC is to build a bridge and active relationship between students and the legislature which will continue after the bill goes through the legislative process,” said O’Hara.

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