Saddleback College’s Associated Student Government is currently negotiating with the district to have two student trustee positions on the board of trustees, opposed to one for both Saddleback and Irvine Valley College.
Unnecessary issues broke out between Saddleback and IVC last semester over the one seat for the student trustee position, according to Melissa Fenerci, Saddleback’s ASG President.
“A candidate from IVC and Saddleback ends up running for the student trustee elections and one of the people win,” said Fenerci, 20, sociology. “It creates competition that’s unwanted between the two sister colleges.”
Due to this reoccurring problem throughout past elections, Saddleback’s ASG has decided to ask the district to handle the student trustee elections instead of Student Development.
“Student Development also handles the advisors for ASG,” Fenerci said. “They do what they can, but when there’s this kind of drama they can’t really focus on us, or what they are supposed to be doing.”
Eve Shieh, current student trustee, represents both Saddleback and IVC on the board of trustees. Shieh, 20, international relations, is a student from IVC and takes no classes at Saddleback. Shieh believes that two student trustees would cause possible conflict among the board of trustees.
“Having more than two [students] representing one from each school will create even more opinions about what is brought up at the board meetings,” Shieh said. “Instead of having one unified opinion of a topic, there is a possibility of creating conflict between multiple student members on the board.”
According to Tere Fluegeman, acting director of public affairs for SOCCCD, the student trustee policy has not yet gone before the trustees.
“The policy is being reviewed and discussed in the Board Policy/Administrative Regulation (BP/AR) committee,” said Fluegeman. “It is anticipated that the committee may recommend an amended board policy in a future board meeting.”
Saddleback’s ASG hopes to gain more of an overall equal representation of students at both colleges.
“Our student cultures are so different that there’s no way that issues among both campuses can be represented equally,” Fenerci said. “Just because we are in the same district, doesn’t mean our students at our colleges shouldn’t be represented equally and fairly.”
However, if the policy is not changed and one student continues to represent both colleges, Shieh believes it would be beneficial for both colleges if the next student rep is a student at both campuses.
“I [think] it should be a responsibility for the next student [trustee] to attend both colleges to get a good feel of the campus, as well as always being updated on what’s going on in each campus,” Shieh said.
At this time, the college presidents have agreed to alternate years for the student trustee position between Saddleback and IVC, according to Chancellor Gary Poertner. “The student trustee needs to adequately represent both ASGs,” Poertner said.
The policy is still seeking revisions by members of the BP/AR committee before it is addressed by the board.
“There is not necessarily a conflict going on, just a discussion regarding the current policy on student trustees.” Fluegeman said. “The board of trustees will review the recommendation of the board policy committee in a future meeting.”