Student trustee candidates don’t know who owns the Alamo Colleges.
By Zachary-Taylor Wright
Alicia Moreno and Angelina Jacobs were sworn in as board student trustee and student trustee alternate respectively, during the special board meeting April 19 at Killen Center.
There were four candidates from this college and Palo Alto, Northwest Vista and St. Philip’s Colleges, who were required to be enrolled at one of the Alamo Colleges, have a grade-point average of 2.5 or higher, have completed 12 college-level course hours and be able to serve from May 1 to April 30, 2018.
The candidates were allowed a 10-minute introduction before being asked a series of uniform questions from each board member.
Out of the four, the responses of two candidates swayed the board.
Moreno, a veterinary tech freshman at Palo Alto College, has a 4.0 grade-point average and 12 accumulated credit hours.
Jacobs graduated with a liberal arts degree from St. Philip’s College in December with a 3.28 grade-point average and has 64 accumulated credit hours.
District 1 trustee Joe Alderete asked the candidates how they would deliver messages from the board to students, saying the student trustee would be responsible for “carrying popular decisions made by the board that may not be popular with the community.”
Moreno said providing students with background and scale on decisions made by the board might help students understand unpopular decisions.
“Presenting a united front is necessary and sometimes it’s simply not going to be what they want to hear,” Moreno said.
Moreno said working with the Student District Council would be one of the most important components in communicating between the trustees and students.
Jacobs expressed trust in the board’s decision-making.
“Well, there are several situations where the answer or decision that comes down is not a popular one,” Jacobs said. “But, I’m sure every measure and every possibility has been weighed to come up with that decision.”
Jacobs said her primary job would be to understand the board’s decisions and support them, explaining to students how those choices will benefit them even if they don’t immediately understand the benefits.
District 2 trustee Denver McClendon asked the candidates who owns the Alamo Colleges.
Moreno was the only student to provide the correct answer, saying she believes the public taxpayers own the college.
Jacobs said she was not sure who owned the Alamo Colleges but accepted the question as a personal challenge to research.
McClendon asked the candidates what the greatest responsibility and challenge for the student trustee might be.
Moreno said the greatest challenge as student trustee is ensuring student-level concerns are accurately expressed to the trustees, and the greatest responsibility as student trustee is being responsible for understanding what the board is asking of the public.
Jacobs said the greatest responsibility as student trustee is ensuring the information the student trustee provides is accurate and credible, and the greatest challenge as is ensuring their decisions are ethical and choosing their words wisely.
District 5 trustee Roberto Zarate asked the candidates what “empowering our diverse communities for success” means.
Moreno said the district mission statement means the district recognizes the diversity in demographics they serve.
“I think that our mission statement means that the ACCD recognizes that each college has its own individual population,” Moreno said. “Diversity is our strength. Our mission is to make sure that each of those diverse populations have what they need for success.”
Jacobs said the district mission statement means that students’ individual needs and goals should be recognized, and students should define success for themselves.
Jacobs said some students might define success as completing a math class, or getting an English degree or finishing their degree within a preset time.
“There’s not going to be a clear path or cookie-cutter way to get things done,” Jacobs said.
District 9 trustee Jim Rindfuss asked the candidates how they intend to communicate with the five colleges.
Moreno and Jacobs said Student District Council would be a primary avenue for student opinion.
However, Moreno said it is still the responsibility of the student trustee to be in contact with the five colleges, because she wouldn’t always assume the opinions brought forth by Student District Council adequately represent the opinions of all students.