The Student News Site of Central Oregon Community College

The Broadside

The Student News Site of Central Oregon Community College

The Broadside

The Student News Site of Central Oregon Community College

The Broadside

Broadside Staff Editorial: COCC says no to change

Students last week said “No We Can’t” to change when once again, Matt Coito, Brenda Pierce and Terry Link were elect­ed to another year as executive council members of ASCOCC. The election pro­vides another opportunity for the same three people to govern the student body and students should expect more of the same. The election also highlights sever­al flaws in the way ASCOCC is governed and the way elections are run here at the school.

The election system is flawed and needs to be revised in order to make room for more voices on student coun­cil. The council members are highly paid—making $750 a month— and stu­dent clubs come out to support them in elections.

Clubs and programs receive their funding from student government. When student government allocates money to groups, and those groups come out to support the “hand that feeds them,” then there really isn’t a check and balance on student govern­ment power, and the same people are elected over and over again.

As it is now, council members can serve on each position on the student council for a two year maximum. If they keep getting elected to the council, or getting appoint­ed to general council afterwards, they can serve a total of 12 years. Without term lim­its and with members allowed to appoint their friends and allies, it creates an elec­tion system that is fundamentally flawed.

The need for a student government at any college is imperative. Positions in student council can teach students important skills in governing. However, students who run for elections at Cen­tral Oregon Community College have to campaign against individuals who al­ready know how to play the game.

Current members were elected ac­cording to the rules of an election pro­cess that includes a vote on Blackboard and a constitution that allows for no sig­nificant change if current members don’t want it. You can have a 2.0 GPA, only be taking one credit, enjoy no oversight over your expenditures and the council in total makes $54,000 over three terms. Who wouldn’t want to hang on to this job in tough economic times?

The student government should be a place where COCC students can make a commitment to the council, learn new skills, exercise their vision, leadership and teamwork skills and then move on so that fellow students get a chance to work on those skills. This is not a replace­ment for a full time job, no matter what valued contributions current members have made.

There were elements to the cam­paign that should get the attention of student election regulators. It appears that a mass email was sent out in clear voilation of COCC policy. If there are counter claims that the email was sent to known individuals, that is false. A survey of the campus is all it takes to prove that claim wrong. By breaking election rules with no consequence, you insult the process. All the other candidates should have had the same exposure and an apology should come from the person who sent out the mass email.

The current incumbents, some more than others, ran a very aggressive cam­paign. They wanted to win. The stakes were high. And if they got the majority of votes they may feel like they truly rep­resent the student body, a mandate so to speak, and this is the primary failing of the way the system is set up.

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