New student trustee chosen at board meeting

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Banner will be taken down for three days during 4th of July weekend for new updates.

By Cynthia M. Herrera

Sami C. Adames, Northwest Vista criminal justice sophomore, was chosen as the new student trustee for the Alamo Colleges Tuesday during the board of trustees regular monthly meeting in Killen Center.

An alternate, Hannah Mahaffey, St. Philip’s College web design sophomore, also was chosen from five nominees interviewed April 7.

The first student trustee was Jacob Wong, psychology sophomore at this college, whose term expired Thursday. The first alternate student trustee was Rudy Padilla, culinary sophomore at St. Philip’s College.

District 4 trustee Joe Alderete said whoever takes over Wong’s position has a big responsibility.

“We hit a grand-slam home-run when we selected you, we really did,” Alderete told Wong. “You did a magnificent job. Your shoes are huge and are going to be difficult to fill.”

The new student trustee started May 1.

Adames will receive a $300 scholarship at the beginning of the fall and spring semester, but Mahaffey will not receive a scholarship, although she also is expected to attend all meetings.

Neither the student trustee nor the alternate gets to vote or is allowed in executive session.

During the citizens-to-be-heard portion of the meeting Olivia Rux, Palo Alto College Horticulture Club president, said PAC’s Student Leadership Coalition is aggressive and does not represent all students.

“There are over or around 8,000 students at Palo Alto College. They (the coalition) don’t represent all of us,” Rux said.

She said, speaking for herself and not the club, that the leadership coalition should not use the college name when trying to protest the removal of majors.

The coalition, which formed in spring 2014, has attended the citizens-to-be-heard since October 2014.

The group was created to speak up for students and their concerns. They sponsored a forum about removing majors at Palo Alto in September. President Mike Flores attended the forum.

The coalition also asked for the resignation of the chancellor.

Although the Student Leadership Coalition members are Palo Alto students, they are not an official club at the college, Rux said.

Mark Camann, music adjunct at Northwest Vista College, asked the board for a one-day extension for faculty to submit grades at the end of this semester.

He said grades are due May 16, the date for Northwest Vista’s commencement.

He said he would not be able to see his students cross the stage because he will be grading and assessing final grades to meet the deadline.

Camann said he received an email from the department chair stating that the vice president said faculty who do not submit syllabuses or grades on time are subject to a two-strikes-and-out policy and will not be rehired.

“I am anxious because I already have strike one,” he said.

Camann works part-time at the college and works elsewhere on weekends.

By law, the board cannot discuss items not on the meeting agenda, so trustees could not discuss his request.

In other news, Palo Alto plans to turn in a national application to the National Malcolm Baldrige Award in 2016, Beatriz Joseph, vice president of college services at Palo Alto, said in a presentation to the board.

The college received the Texas Award for Performance Excellence earlier this year. This was the first time the college submitted an application for the award.

Only two other organizations received the award, Memorial Hermann Sugar Land Hospital in Sugar Land and Methodist Health System in Dallas.

The Quality Texas Foundation created the award and recognizes effectiveness and sustainability.

In other business, Roger Castro, information technology services district director, told trustees Banner will be making updates and taken down for three days during Fourth of July weekend.

Castro said the IT department anticipates students and faculty will be on vacation for the four-day weekend. He expects Banner will be up and ready July 6.

The board of trustees also approved the Alamo Colleges’ participation in the CPS Energy Commercial and Industrial Demand Response Program.

In the voluntary program, CPS Energy pays incentives for customers who use less electricity at peak times in the summer months.

John Strybos, associate vice chancellor of facilities operations and construction management, said the campuses reduce their energy consumption by raising thermostats or turning off air conditioning in unused buildings when prompted by CPS. CPS contacts commercial customers to remind them about doing so based on statewide energy consumption, weather and humidity, he said.

The program, which starts June 1 and ends Sept. 30, pays a one-time payment for each performance year within 60 days of the period.

During 2013, Alamo Colleges received an incentive of $98,222 and in 2014 they received $118,000.

This year the Alamo Colleges predicts a $100,000 incentive according to the minute order.


1 Comment

  1. Regarding Coalition on

    Olivia does not represent the coalition. The coalition brings dozens of students. Olivia represents 1. The coalition is made up of many individual leaders. It was not meant to be a club. They were concerned about their respective majors, many of which were affected. Horticulture was not affected. Olivia should not speak of the majors that would have been affected. Even the faculty senate at PAC opposes the removal of majors.

    Who really represents PAC anyway? SGA at PAC was not elected. They were appointed or self-appointed. They did not hold elections at PAC last year so they really did not represent anyone. Maybe that should be investigated.

    New student trustee, please don’t follow the Wong model.

    As for Wong, bad experiment. He failed to represent students. Instead, he directed them.

    The student trustee should be elected, not appointed. Wong was critical of the coalition. He failed to represent PAC students and failed to understand the issues at PAC. He behaved too much like a parent of the students or an elected trustee. He often spoke of employers’ perspective as if he had interviewed many. Purely anecdotal information with no real data to support his statements. That is a basic idea in research. Show your data or your references. He made a good argument for why there should be more than 1 student trustee (one from each campus). Students could not remove him because he was appointed by the board. In the end, he became an instrument of the administration.

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