At Las Positas, you have to pay an extra $10 at registration every semester. Wouldn’t you like to know where that money goes?
Student government has failed to disclose online the details of their budget, and failed to answer questions about their budget over a 9-week period since the beginning of March. Student Government also raised their own stipends in March 2022 without any apparent input from students. Contrastingly, their mission statement says, “We strive to be as transparent as possible and encourage student involvement in our affairs.” However, zero minutes of Student Government meetings this semester have been posted on the website. Without attending meetings, it is impossible to determine what the student government is spending its budget on.
Part of the problem of this lack of transparency, is that the student government votes on its own funding. If they aren’t being outright about how much funding they have and what it is going toward, how is the Las Positas community supposed to hold them accountable? No other student-run program at Las Positas has as much power as the student government.
In March 2022 Student Government increased the stipends of the Executive board from $1000 for the President to up to $1300. Each position receives different stipends which range from $500 to $1300. The stipends are listed in the bylaws. The updated bylaws were approved in the March 30, 2022 Special Student Senate Meeting.
While student life advisor Josue Hernandez and director of student equity and success Shawn Taylor did not respond to Express communications, a non-elected member of student government gave a response. The increase was to attract more students to student government said Student Government Director of Finance, Brody Price.
This was only after the Express met him in-person, after he did not respond to online communication.
It seems like a conflict of interest that the student government approves increasing their own stipends. Not even a roll call vote is required, just show of hands where in the 2019 student club handbook any expenditure of over $600 required a roll call vote.
Student Government is funded by the Student Activity Fees that is required at registration for every semester. The fee is $10, though students can choose to opt-out using a form in class web.
Per Chabot-Las Positas Community College District Board Policy 5030, “Student Activity Fees may be used to support co-curricular activities and extracurricular activities. Furthermore, revenue from student activities fee may be used to compensate student officers for fulfilling their duties per the student government or student senate constitution and bylaws.”
Even though the District states that the student activities fee should be used for co-curricular and extracurricular activities plus student government stipends, student government has authorized funds for new furniture for the student life office ($10,000 approved at Oct 22, 2022 meeting), a golf cart ($9000 approved at Sept 16, 2022 meeting) and student government retreats (approved $12,000 for a retreat at June 6, 2022 meeting), in Monterey for the student government, according to the government’s fall/spring year meeting minutes.
New furniture and a golf cart may be necessary, but college capital funds should pay for this. A student activity fee is supposed to be used toward student activities.
Student Activity fee funds should be used to benefit all students. Student Government appears to use some the student activity fee funds for items that only benefit student government.