Gov. Schwarzenegger will appoint a new CSU student trustee from one of two finalists who were recently selected by the California State Student Association.
Gabriela Orantes from CSU Monterey Bay and Jason Spencer from Sonoma State, both met requirements the CSSA has in place to determine eligibility for the position, and were then nominated by the CSSA.
The CSSA has conducted a statewide search to fill the seat that Eric Guerra will vacate June 30.
“I’m extremely sad to be leaving,” Guerra said. “I have been involved with statewide policy for four years.” Guerra is working on his master’s degree in public policy and public administration at CSU Sacramento.
Corey Jackson from CSU San Bernardino is the remaining CSU student trustee, and has begun the last of a two-year term. His status as the highest-ranking student trustee enables him to be a voting member on all Board of Trustee issues for the upcoming year. Jackson has sat in on discussions with the two finalists for the open trustee position.
“The biggest service that a student can do is to provide integrity and trust with their leadership skills,” Guerra said.
This position is unique because it is the highest position a student can hold in the CSU system, according to the CSSA.
Either Orantes or Spencer will be appointed to the position for a term that officially begins July 1 and runs through June 30, 2007.
“I hope the governor appoints quickly so the new student trustee can begin right away to discuss budgets and start the learning process as early as possible,” said Colleen Bentley-Adler, director of public affairs for the CSU Chancellor’s Office.
CSSA requires eligible students to meet certain criteria; the candidate must be a junior at a CSU, remain at student status through the following year and maintain a 2.0 GPA. Students must be knowledgeable about issues concerning students and be able to attend bi-monthly meetings with the CSU Board of Trustees and monthly CSSA board meetings. The appointed student trustee will serve the 2005-07 term.
According to the CSSA, the primary responsibility of the student trustees is to represent the best interest of students to the CSU and to advocate positions that benefit students. The CSSA said student trustees are the voice for 400,000 students who attend the 23 campuses that make up the CSU system. Some of the issues the student trustees deal with include student fees, student policies, admission criteria, remedial education, technology, housing, and parking.
As a student trustee, Guerra said he was able to address the cost of student parking passes to the Board of Trustees, as well as a need for more student resources.
“Students pay twice as much as faculty and staff,” Guerra said. “Students should not have to pay the rising cost of steel and concrete (that make up a parking lot). They should pay the same price for the same spot.”
Guerra also said he focused on the need for more resources for students that have full-time jobs and families. Guerra said he pursued more accommodating class availability and advising to help students get degrees in a more timely fashion to make room for more incoming students.
Guerra said he has advice for the newly appointed CSU student trustee, whoever it may be: “Participation and relationships — you need to always be visible and create good relationships. It’s important to not miss out on conversations that students could benefit from.”