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Assembly turns into ASU meeting

Presentation fails to attract audience

By Shawn Whatley, staff writer
On April 26, 2014

  • Associated Student Union Director of External Affairs Kirsten Kwon talks about Senate and Assembly bills targeted for community colleges during the ASU-hosted General Assembly held in LA-100 on Thursday. Qing Huang / The Advocate

To help promote its upcoming election and raise awareness of local and statewide issues affecting community colleges, the Associated Student Union held a General Assembly on Thursday.
Hosted in LA-100 at 4 p.m., the assembly covered a range of issues, including new state mandates under the Student Success Act, California Senate and Assembly bills, the district bond measure and the upcoming ASU elections.
Unfortunately, the ASU's attempt to inform students of state and local issues affecting community colleges was not noticed by the student body as only one person showed up.
"Everything was last minute," ASU parliamentarian and presidential candidate Antone Agnitsch said. "Students aren't going to attend if they don't know about it."
The assembly was moderated by ASU President Ysrael Condori, who started the meeting with a YouTube video titled, "Student Success Initiative: Priority Registration."
In the video, California Community Colleges Chancellor's Office Dean of Matriculation and Early Assessment Sonia Ortiz-Mercado detailed the new enrollment priority policy and the strict qualification guidelines regarding the Board of Governors fee waiver.
Condori also gave a presentation on local bond Measure E, which, if passed this June will help fund the development and improvement of campus facilities, structures and systems at the three colleges in the Contra Costa Community College District.
The only person in attendance that was not a ASU member was CCC alumnus and advocate of Measure E, Janice Leighton-Armah. Armah said that the funding provided to the district through measure E would help make things easier for students, faculty and staff at all three colleges.
ASU faculty adviser Ericka Greene said, "It's always a good thing to present these issues, even if there is (only) one person in the audience."
Greene said that students had other concerns such as work and midterms to deal with, so it was understandable that students did not attend, but added, "I wish more students were able to attend."
Agnitsch said that the ASU needs to advertise these events in different ways. The social media platforms used were not effective in drawing in an audience.
He said the ASU needs to work better as a team to reach out to students through social media in order to promote awareness of issues that concern the development of community college and campuses in the state.
ASU Director of External Affairs Kirsten Kwon gave a presentation on various Senate and Assembly bills that relate to community colleges, which includes a bill that would allow community college districts to provide classes to inmates in city and county jails, and another in which two-year colleges would be able to offer bachelor degree programs.
The assembly ended with a discussion about the upcoming ASU election and the candidate's announcements of candidacy. ASU Director of Public Relations Valeria Avila is seeking re-election to her current position, and ASU Parliamentarian Agnitsch is running for president.
Condori said, "I expect the next batch of senators to learn from this (lack of advertising), but the General Assembly is something we will definitely do again." 

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