Student government wants full control of student budget


The Board of Trustees(BOT) discussing the next item on the agenda during the first meeting of the year. Jan. 22, 2019 Photo credit: Fernando Haro

No motion was made by the Board of Trustees(BOT) as the Associated Student Organization(ASO) continued their attempt to gain control of more than $450,000, in student activity fee revenue, during yesterday’s meeting.

During the meeting, ASO President Joey Mardesich and Vice President of Student Services Ross Miyashiro presented a plan that would allow ASO to take over the responsibilities of the Auxiliary Services Board (ASB).

“The presentation is switching the Auxiliary Service Board student activity fee to ASO,” Mardesich said. “ASO is still going to support programs, which are athletics, fine arts, journalism, forensics, just like the Auxiliary Service Board did, we’re not trying to take any funding away from that.”

The ASB is responsible for overseeing the funding of multiple clubs and programs on campus. Most of the funding comes from students and faculty who purchase the optional $15 bi-annual ASB sticker— also known as a student activities fee.

“The student activities fee is an optional $15 payment that students pay for student life on campus,” Mardesich said during the meeting.

For the 2018/2019 year, ASB received $480,300 in revenue from the student activity fee, according to the Student Activity (ASB) Fee to ASO presentation. ASO received $168,000 or about 35 percent.

“There’s a board policy that was passed a number of years ago which set the distribution of the funding,” El Camino College President Dena Maloney said during the meeting.

That means that no matter how much funding ASB receives, they keep 65 percent and ASO receives 35 percent.

But while ASO’s 100 percent control over the student budget is not official, ASB’s future at EC remains uncertain.

“We haven’t decided yet,” Maloney said.

Trustee Kenneth A. Brown raised a question about ASB’s reactions or concerns regarding the possible budget transfer.

“We had several different info sessions to answers questions and give a light presentation and I think it was shocking at first,” Miyashiro said during the meeting. “People’s behavior falls into a mode where they just look for things to roll over in inertia but this is going to be a new process governed by students.”

Miyashiro also acknowledged the concerns and “anxiety” from different constituency groups, reassuring that EC is not the only college or university that allows their student government to manage program budgets.

“If you look at other California community college districts, most student governments fund journalism, fund forensics, fund athletics, they already fund all these other programs at these other colleges,” Miyashiro said during the meeting.

After the meeting, Student Trustee Marilyn Valdez said she hopes this will incentivize students and faculty to buy the ASB sticker as a way to support the clubs and programs.

“In athletics, they’re making it mandatory for everyone to buy the sticker and that’s not only going to help ASO,” Valdez said. “It’s going to help them because we want those programs to be funded.”

However, Valdez said she understands why some people might be scared that the student government might soon be responsible for a large sum of money.

“We are taking this as a serious caution and we’re being very careful the way we go about it but we’re not alone,” Valdez said. “There’ll be oversight, we can’t do anything without having that but we also have our advisors that are full time and work with us.”

BOT Vice President William Beverly said he believes the budget transfer will be beneficial to EC and it’s”going to provide a tremendous resource for [the clubs and programs] because there will be a lot more funds available for whatever projects they want to apply to undertake.

The next open-session BOT meeting will be Feb. 19, at 5 p.m. in EC’s Alondra Room, located above the Bookstore.


Update Jan. 23, at 8:14 p.m.: The word “this” was added to a quote for accuracy.