By Lenin Silva
On March 3rd, 2014, seven College of the Desert (COD) students visited the California State Capitol in Sacramento to participate in legislative proceedings, and march outside The State Capitol building.
Over 113 California Community Colleges participated in the march. “We were there with student senates from the 113 community colleges in California,” related The Associated Students of College of the Desert President (ASCOD), Eleanor Campbell. “The event promoted student senates, for me this is very personal, this is what we are all about. Events like this make you understand what is going on in the world.”
“There were three priority one bills that we specifically talked about with legislators,” said Student Trustee, Andrew Campbell.
First, Assembly Bill 1557, which would allow two, instead of one students to have a vote in The House of Board of Governors.
Second, Senate Bill 1017, which pertains to taxation of oil revenues. California is the only state which does not participate in this specific tax. If successful, it would bring back revenue into the California Community College system.
And third, Senate Bill 850 (SB 850), written by Senator Marty Block from San Diego. If the bill is successful, “Community college districts may be able to take a two-year program and expand it into a four-year program, without the added cost of students having to go to a four-year institution,” related Senator Block.
SB 850 has the capacity to provide students with “a better way to actively finish a four year degree at a community college,” said Student Trustee, Andrew Campbell.
The annual “March in March” to Sacramento, is where students from community colleges and universities all over California unite and march to the California State Capitol, promoting higher education and student advocacy.
COD was scheduled to depart on Sunday, March 2nd at around 10 p.m. and return to the Coachella Valley on Monday night at around 10:30 p.m. The event was organized on a first come, first served basis and was free. The deadline to sign up for this event was Monday, February 24th at 5 p.m.
ASCOD initially planned to take 48 COD students on a bus to Sacramento where they would participate in legislative proceedings and the march outside Capitol Hill.
Eleanor Campbell, ASCOD President; Andrew Campbell, Student Trustee; Brittany Flores, ASCOD External Affairs Officer; Jose Rodriguez, Independent Senator; and COD students: Sean Wilbrecht, Jonathan Ybarra, and Thomas Hughes, were the seven students who participated.
ASCOD decided last minute to change their original plan to take 48 students due to budgeting issues.
“We had to make sure the funds were allocated at a proper time,” commented ASCOD Student Trustee, Andrew Campbell. “It came down to finances, we went over budget, we just could not take as many students this year. If we had followed through with the initial trip, bus prices, and t-shirts, then we wouldn’t have funds to fund the clubs at COD. Everything was not timed well we just did not make the deadlines.”