Due to mismanagement and a lack of information, less than half of the seats allocated for students are filled on City College’s shared governance committees.
Shared governance allows faculty, classified staff and students to be represented in 36 committees and subcommittees that decide college policy on a range of issues.
Shared Governance was established in September of 1993 by the Board of Trustees of the San Francisco Community College district in accordance with Assembly Bill 1725.
“Every district can create their own committee which should involve every constituent group when it comes to making a decision in the college,” said Student Trustee Jeffrey Fang.
Some committees deal with procedural matters, such as details of the graduation ceremony. Other committees tackle weightier topics like sexual harassment, college diversity, financial aid, scholarships and grading policy.
Students are encouraged to participate in shared governance since they are the ones who experience first-hand which areas are lacking in the school system. The group responsible for informing students about the importance of participation is the Associated Students.
However, out of a possible 73 student seats only 35 are filled, just 47 percent student participation in a decision-making process which effects the entire student body.
Fang said there are two factors behind the lack of students involved in shared governance, “one is the mismanagement of the Associated Students and Ocean Campus and two is that the Associated Students have not been doing effective communication outreach.”
Students also may have lost incentive to participate in student shared governance since they are no longer being paid.
According to Fang students were once paid $20 for each shared governance meeting they attended.
“The past president of Associated Students decided the money should be zeroed out, preventing SGC from paying students for participating,” he said.
Shared Governance Coordinator Attila Gabor said he heard last month that students have not been receiving compensation for the last two years. Within three days of hearing this he went to the College Advisory Council which has scheduled a meeting for May 3 to talk about the problem.
“Most of the hard work is done in the subcommittees,” Gabor said, “then the proposal is fine-tuned in the committees, then forwarded to the chancellor and finally given to the Board of Trustees.”
The process might sound simple, but just because an issue is presented in committee doesn’t mean that it will be resolved right away.
“It’s a lengthy process because it’s a democracy,” Gabor said.
Between confusion with the template format used to file issues and requests, and individuals going straight to the board instead of using the shared governance process, the committees seem to lack direction.
“There are not enough workshops for shared governance,” he said, “We should have an hour workshop for how shared governance works.”
Now may be just the right time. Last Thursday the polls closed for electing new student senators. This is a chance for the newly-elected members of the Associated Students to approach their constituents about engaging in school politics.