Student District Council discusses degrees

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Student trustee Jacob Wong addresses the Student District Council about talk of revoking him and District 7 trustee Yvonne Katz from their positions. He also talked to the council about the Student Leadership Coalition of Palo Alto and making the transfer degree plans a political issue by involving outside parties. He declined to name the outside parties.  Photo by R.T. Gonzalez

Student trustee Jacob Wong addresses the Student District Council about talk of revoking him and District 7 trustee Yvonne Katz from their positions. He also talked to the council about the Student Leadership Coalition of Palo Alto and making the transfer degree plans a political issue by involving outside parties. He declined to name the outside parties. Photo by R.T. Gonzalez

Wong says bypassing processes hurts students’ cause.

By Bleah B. Patterson

bpatterson13@student.alamo.edu 

Student District Council met Friday, gathering Student Government Associations districtwide for discussion with student trustee Jacob Wong.

All five of the colleges were represented.

On Friday, Karen Elliot, president of this college’s SGA and chair of SDC, led the meeting.

Wong discussed the Oct. 28 district regular board meeting, chastising the students from Palo Alto and this college who spoke saying he wished students had gone through the set processes.

During the meeting, 18 students, faculty and parents spoke to administrators and the board of trustees against a decision made in April to switch to transfer degrees.

The switch to transfer degrees will no longer require students to take designated classes in the 18 hours above the 42-hour core, but instead choose the courses they are sure will transfer to a four-year institution.

Wong said going through set processes helps to ensure students are informed with the latest and don’t bring up concerns and complaints that are no longer relevant.

He also said he hopes to rally the student representative groups to help make sure students feel they can use their governments to solve problems.

“They need to understand that the issues you bring to me are the issues I bring to the board,” he said.

John Overmeyer, vice president of SGA at Northwest Vista College, said NVC needed more time to decide where they stood before they could give Wong their stance.

Wong reminded him that it is his job to represent district students as a whole, not individually by colleges.

“I go to district and state my case for you guys, but I do it as a whole,” Wong said.

“Well, how do we know what you’re stating, what your case is?” Overmeyer asked.

“I state the conclusion I come to after talking with all of you,” Wong said. “And my opinion has changed the more I’ve learned. I was really angry at first, then I was more content but now I’m more skeptical. And you have to remember, the questions and answers I get only matter if we’re being told the truth. Right now (the trustees and I) are trying to find out how much truth we’re being told. And believe me, we are looking.”

Overmeyer responded saying, “Well, degrees are being devalued. I personally wouldn’t be staying for my second associate degree if I weren’t getting a concentration.”

“The problem is people saying things like that,” Wong said. “The degrees aren’t being devalued; saying it over and over doesn’t make it true. The administration is working to make sure we have something on degrees to recognize students’ achievements.”

Wong said he’s also spoken to both local and statewide businesses that told him specializations don’t matter, but instead it is experience that matters.

“You have to remember that A.A. and A.S. degrees are for (those who will transfer to pursue a) bachelor’s degrees. A psychologist can’t be a psychologist with only an associate degree. These are jobs that start you at the bottom,” Wong said.

Wong reminded the governments that students who want to go straight into the workforce after leaving the Alamo Colleges should seek an Associate in Applied Science, not an A.A. or A.S. degree.

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