Code Changes, Retention and Rate Hikes Debated

Wendi L. Vaughn

Amendments to the ASGCC election code were a hot topic at Tuesday’s student government meeting. Debate began when a member of the college Board of Trustees suggested the rules might violate the 1st Amendment to the Constitution.

What was in question was a rule that states candidates for office are prohibited from using “stickers” in campaigning (“stickers” also include campaign buttons, according to Izabella Babayan, Vice President of Administration). Another questioned rule says “One T-shirt may by worn by the candidate, and the candidate only, as a form of publicity.”

“What will happen if a friend of a candidate wears a T-shirt supporting him during his campaign?” asked Robert Holmes, an attorney and member of the board. “Would that student be expelled for wearing the T-shirt, or would the candidate be disqualified for giving it to him?

“How would you police the situation? Is this discrimination against wealthier students?”

Some argued that the original intent of the codes was to make the election process fair to all students, regardless of economic background.

“Due to the fact that we are students and some of us don’t even work,” said Oscar Limon Vice President of Campus Organizations, “we try to keep the economic level balanced. This way everyone has an equal chance.”

The student council agreed that Holmes points were well formed and the code may step on 1st Amendment rights.

There are too many restrictions in the present wording of the code, agreed Babayan, “There has to be more freedom.”

Babayan said there will be many amendments to the code before it is accepted.

Ana Narvaez, ASGCC Senator of Administration, gave a full report of amendments to the GCC constitution and by-laws for the election code.

Rules that were added include disqualification for not submitting petitions for candidacy on time, restrictions on the size of flyers, a restriction of listing only one candidate per flyer, and required permission from division chairs and the Student Affairs office to post flyers on bulletin boards.

Also reported were new study abroad opportunities. This summer students may travel to Costa Rica and Ireland for college credit. Information about either trip can be found by going to the Study Abroad office on the first floor of the Administration Building. Ask to speak to Florence Ricchiazi.

At Monday’s Board of Trustees meeting it was voted to raise non-resident student tuition by $10 per unit to $130.

ASGCC President Victor Castellanos, who sits as an adviser on the board, voted against such a large increase and tried to change the amount to $127 per unit. He was outnumbered.

The question of why students don’t return to complete programs at GCC was addressed by Sue Borquez-Doughtery, retention coordinator, and Edward Karpp, director of research and planning rates.

The Office of Retention Services conducted a mail survey of 5,000 students that have not returned to GCC, allowing them to mark off several reasons why they have not returned. The office received a 12% response.

The top three reasons students did not return were: scheduling problems, parking deficiencies, and the need to work full-time.

All of the students who responded expressed an interest in returning and were happy to be notified.

About the new retention service, Borquez-Dougherty said, “It is a very rewarding job. All of them thank me so much for just giving them a call. This is definitely the job for me.”