“For the money, it’s not beneficial to continue investing in membership”
Last year, over $15 grand in student fees went away from the college.
These dues went to the Oregon Student Association and the Oregon Community College Student Association, two organizations that coordinate Oregon schools for student advocacy and training.
In previous years, the Associated Students of Central Oregon Community College were not members of OSA, while this year they are a part of OSA and OCCSA. Following the council’s 23 percent budget cut, the current council has recommended that next year, OCCSA be dropped, according to Kurt Killinger, the director of Legislative Affairs for ASCOCC.
This is because OSA is more of a legislative voice, Killinger said.
“The desire with the restructure of the student government would be to be members of OSA, so we can continue the work statewide,” Killinger said.
The recommendation has found support with the rest of the council as well, according to Taran Smith, ASCOCC advisor.
“The council, as I understand it, has made the decision that for the money, it’s not beneficial to continue investing in membership with OCCSA,” Smith said.
Differences in membership
For the 2013-2014 school year, ASCOCC paid $13,444 for membership with OSA, compared to $2,066.14 for membership with OCCSA.
But there is a reason for OSA’s larger price tag, according to Daniel McCall, the communications director for OSA. The organization offers more outlets, according to McCall. OSA “advocates for students at the statewide level,” he said.
Compared to OCCSA, OSA is more involved in legislative aspects, with a full-time state lobbyist and updates on bills. The staff is connected to the COCC campus, providing two to three staff member visits per term, and offering about 300 different trainings.
OCCSA does have a larger membership pool, with 14 Oregon colleges involved compared to OSA’s nine. But even though the participation is greater, OCCSA has only one staff member.
However, OCCSA does have its benefits, according to Barbara Delansky, the advisor for the Associated Students of Lane Community College. Like COCC, Lane Community College is currently part of both organizations, and Delansky thinks membership in both organizations is crucial.
OCCSA members are also guided through the process of receiving a non-mandatory certificate, based on trainings that standardize what student governments should be doing. While the certification is available without work through OCCSA, the organization does help in the process. OCCSA directs that information to their members, according to Smith.
“One of the great things about OCCSA is this is more on the advisor, administrator role,” Smith said.
As ASCOCC maps out the aftermath of necessary budget cuts, keeping the membership with OSA and dropping OCCSA could be more effective, according to Smith.
“Part of the appeal in going to OSA is recognizing part of the needs and services aren’t being met,” Smith said.
Whether or not OSA will be kept next year is also open to question. OSA works with the Oregon University System board and staff, local university and community college governing boards and the Department of Community Colleges and Workforce Development. That ensures that “students’ voices are heard at the statewide and local level,” according to McCall.
OSA membership offers perks ranging from assistance with statewide vote campaigns to internship programs. Next year, though, OSA membership will still cost over 13 grand.
Due to the council’s budget decreasing, there could even be a struggle of how to pay for OSA, according to Smith.
“Right now the council is still finalizing the budget and looking in that direction. No final decisions have been made,” Smith said.
Junnelle Hogen | The Broadside