Student government’s new hierarchy will keep members accountable

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In a matter of weeks, student government has to completely overhaul the way they run. But the new student government will increase accountability within the organization, according to Taran Smith, advisor to the Associated Students of Central Oregon Community College.

Currently, six equal members make up ASCOCC. But the proposed changes will replace those directors of different branches with a president, two vice presidents, a treasurer and an undecided amount of “general council members” under them.

The current struggle with student government, according to Smith, is that the six equal members are accountable to each other.

“Structurally, no one is really holding them accountable to their job descriptions, hours, positions, duties … and, I would say, code of ethics,” Smith said.

But the new structure would make each member accountable to someone higher up in the hierarchy–namely, the “Vice President of ASCOCC Affairs,” who would manage the paid and appointed positions, establish expectations and evaluate performance, according to the proposed changes.

The other vice president position, the Vice President of Legislative Affairs, would connect the student body more to statewide student organizations and advocate on behalf of students at COCC.

These two positions and the president position would be elected. The other positions would be appointed and hired by whoever filled the elected positions. The number and scope of these positions is currently the only thing the council has not finalized.

In ASCOCC’s current draft of the bylaws, the council would also have assistants to help with specific areas of ASCOCC’s operations: An executive council assistant, a legislative affairs assistant, an office assistant and so on. But in the council meeting on April 9, Director of Public Relations, Hailey Jorgensen voiced her opinion on having assistants’ jobs be more general.

“I just don’t know if these specific assistants are really doing anything,” Jorgensen said.

Jorgensen believes the assistants’ positions should have a more communal approach and complete the tasks that “go to the backburner” that the general council can’t get to.

While the council is split over whether to continue changing the bylaws or move on, Smith and Director of Student Life, Gordon Price encouraged the council to approve the elected positions in the bylaws.

They did this because of how close student council elections are.

“Elections start mid-May,” Price said. “I don’t want to put something through that isn’t finished … [but] my hope was that [the council] could vote tonight.”

The council voted to approve the elected positions in the bylaws so that Alicia Moore, dean of students, can make any edits before elections.

Campaigning changes

Where and how council-aspiring students can campaign for voters will be much “looser” this election, according to Price.

The new guidelines are less restrictive, according to Price.

“We’ve loosened up some of the regulations on where you can campaign,” Price said.

Now, students are allowed to campaign anywhere on campus except classrooms, the library, and near voting stations. Places like the classrooms are to remain a “sacred space” for students, Price said.

Campaigning individuals can also now use ASCOCC materials to campaign, such as a button machine and shirt printing machine in student government’s club space.

Scott Greenstone | The Broadside
(Contact: sgreenstone@cocc.edu)

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