College isn’t sure what to do
Student government applications were due Friday, May 2, but no one applied.For the first year ever, the Associated Students of Central Oregon Community College are without anyone to take their place.
“I don’t understand,” Gordon Price, the director of student life, said.
Price was one of the first to look over the applications. Last year, 10 candidates ran for elections. This year, other than one incomplete application, no one showed interest.
“I’ve been here a long time, and I know it’s a lot of work, so I wouldn’t say I’m surprised,” said Ron Paradis, director of college relations. “Obviously, I am disappointed.”
The results follow several months of work on the part of ASCOCC to restructure the student government. For the 2014-2015 school year, the council planned to elect a president, a vice president of Legislative Affairs and a vice president for ASCOCC Affairs. The rest of the council was expected to be selected by an appointment committee.
Planning the restructure did take extra time, and slightly set back the election schedule, according to Price. But the restructure was meant to be a benefit to the process. According to Price, ASCOCC “did the same announcements and things that we usually do.”
Part of the reason behind the low or nonexistent turnout may be due to salary differences. Following the council’s 23 percent budget cut this year, council positions have a $9,000 proposed cut, meaning $1,500 less per ASCOCC member for a six-member council. As that plan would still leave more than $7,000 each for a six-member staff, Price doesn’t think the budget is the cause.
“You get paid quite a pretty penny compared to other councils across the state, but I never thought that was a driving factor for council members,” Price said.
For Price, the empty ranks point to a deeper issue.
“The atmosphere out there on campus – to not get one application – is troubling,” Price said.
From this point, COCC faculty might take several steps to address the lack of interest. Those options included extending the deadline another week, to gather more applications and spread student interest, or canceling elections and going through the appointment process.
Meanwhile, for Price, picking up the pieces will be difficult.
“I’m not sure where to go from here,” Price said.
Junnelle Hogen | The Broadside