Available student trustee wanted

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To represent students, a new trustee has to be accessible. 

Candidates for the new student trustee and alternate will be submitted to the board of trustees Feb. 29.

The students selected are required to attend all committee and board meetings and board retreats, but do not have any voting power and cannot attend executive sessions.

Their job is to be the voice of the Alamo Colleges student body, more than 57,800 students, for a year.

To represent students, the candidate chosen should be available to hear concerns and comments. But how accessible should they be?

Jacob Wong, the first student trustee, went to every Student Government Association meeting at every college.

Current student trustee Sami Adames works. She can only be reached through her ACES email or by calling board liaison Sandra Mora and leaving a message.

This campus’s SGA says both approaches are appropriate, and who can blame Adames for needing to work?

The student trustee receives a pittance of $600 split over two semesters, not even enough to pay for one class.

Even worse, the alternate receives nothing and is not allowed to speak unless the student trustee misses a meeting.

Which is what alternate Hannah Mahaffey was able to do during January’s board meeting because Adames had class.

Adames has been acting student trustee since May and should be well versed in the board’s schedule. So why is she enrolling in classes for Tuesday nights, the time of every committee and board meeting every month?

She says she has made arrangements with professors and did attend Tuesday’s committee meeting, but does that now mean she is missing class?

That would not be setting a very good example.

Could she have taken these classes at a different time or were they only available Tuesday nights? What arrangements did she make with her professors to attend meetings?

The problem is Adames will not answer these questions or comment beyond saying she has handled it.

As a public official, this is unacceptable. She needs to be transparent, one of the favorite words floating around district offices.

These classes are not even necessary for graduation. She has already finished her degree plan, but to be the student trustee, she must be enrolled in six hours.

Not exactly the in-and-out policy Chancellor Bruce Leslie preaches. (That was true of the board’s first selection as well.)

Adames’ term is ending soon anyway, but a new student trustee should consider Adames’ and Wong’s actions.

Whoever is selected needs to understand the commitment being made. While there are limitations to the job, students are still relying on this person to represent them.

Applicants need to do research on student issues. Make the time necessary to hear comments, whether in person, through email or over the phone — and that means making those avenues public information. Speak openly. Take this position seriously.

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