Student trustee set to go round two

Written by: Adam Magnoni
Back in January when The Jibsheet first reported that there could be two seats made available to students on the Board of Trustees, ASG President Jacob Peltier proclaimed “…history in the making.” The fact that Gov. Christine Gregoire knocked down the proposed legislation along with several other key higher education bills has not stopped what is the apparent destiny for the community of BCC. The Washington Student Lobby (WSL), an organization that represents over 10 institutions of higher learning including the University of Washington, Eastern Washington University, and the Evergreen State College has been fighting for higher education legislation ranging from childcare to textbook pricing and including student representation for more than 20 years. BCC has been in association with the WSL for little under a year now but is enjoying the weight that they pull in Olympia, as representation will be another top priority when legislators again convene down in Olympia. As the bill was written last session, two seats would be made available, each holding a one-year term, and the governor would then handpick the student trustees from a list compiled by BCC’s ASG. The bill only allows for a two-year trial period, thus four students serving, and then a series of reviews would be conducted to determine the permanency of the seats. The summer will bring many discussions and evaluations as to how the bill will be drafted and the final wording is up to the legislators. BCC would be the first community or technical college that would have student representation at the trustee level. The board, though not well known in daily campus life, approves the budget, sets campus policy and the college’s strategic direction. Proponents of the bill believe that direct student representation on governing boards would not only benefit the board and its actions but the effectiveness directly felt by the student populous. “Students deserve a voice in helping to shape the long-term planning of the colleges that they belong to,” stated Peltier. He went on to say, “They deserve an equitable voice compared to the constituents at four-year institutions.” In addition to the WSL’s support, student leaders from community and technical schools from around the state assembled as the Student Voice Academy (SVA) and compiled a list of top issues that they felt were of most importance to the students. The State Board for Community and Technical Colleges comes up with their legislative agenda each year and each association, i.e. the trustee association, the teachers association, etc., create their own agenda to be taken into consideration. The students have not had a direct voice, other than the WSL, which represents only one community college (BCC) in the state, until now. The SVA is another branch for students to extend and have their current plights heard. Now the students can present their own agenda to the state board for consideration. “Having that constant student feedback, that constant student perspective and also having the student actually having a vote to say,