Fremont, Calif., July 18, 2019—Ohlone College and its administration support and respect the role of all student groups on campus, including that of the Associated Students of Ohlone College (ASOC). The role of the College President and the administration is to empower student groups through an established process governed by a constitution and bylaws.
Last year the student government president and senators, as well as other students, attended numerous participatory governance meetings at the college and provided important input on items including meta-majors, the college hour, the Student Centered Funding Formula, and the Student Equity plan. As in previous years, the President and executive team members were welcomed at many student government meetings throughout 2018-19.
In June 2019, five newly elected ASOC officers unilaterally made the decision to throw out the existing student government constitution and its bylaws without seeking input from the student body or a vote as has been conducted in previous constitutional changes. The ASOC constitution, which previous generations of student leaders have used, was developed to ensure that the will of the student body, rather than that of a few individuals, is reflected in any changes. The students’ actions in this regard have been untethered from legal requirements such as the Brown Act.
The College has insisted that the newly elected ASOC officers follow board policy and applicable laws and regulations and that they acknowledge that they are not an independent authority when it comes to using taxpayer and student resources. The Board and their designees have the responsibility to ensure that the fees that Ohlone College students pay as part of the student body is spent according to proper accounting protocols. The district is ultimately responsible for how funds are utilized and must ensure that laws and the district’s policies and procedures related to student body funds are followed.
Per California Education Code 76060, Ohlone College’s governing Board of Trustees has authorized the organization of the ASOC, subject to any policies established by the governing board. The establishment of the ASOC and its functions is a privilege granted by the Ohlone Community College Board of Trustees with oversight by their designee, the President of the College, to ensure applicable laws and policies are followed.
The Ohlone College administration is, and has been, open to working with the ASOC regarding their recent concerns and looks forward to supporting them as they learn how to effectively lead to obtain their goals.