ASDVC adviser gets ‘slip’

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Ariel Messman-Rucker

The Associated Students of DVC will vote March 16 whether to spend nearly $100,000 from its budget reserves to save three key student services positions, including that of its adviser, Adriana Lopez.

The district governing board approved pink slips last month for student services manager Lopez, as well as a dean and the director of admissions and records because of a $4 million budget deficit projected for the 2010-11 school year.

Immediately following the vote, Bill Oye, dean of student life, began formulating a proposal to preserve Lopez’s position.

“We can’t just keep cutting, cutting, cutting,” Oye said, “because eventually you’ll have nothing left.”

The ASDVC already pays $25,000 a year towards Lopez’s salary out of its Student Union Building Fee Reserve Account.

Oye recommends ASDVC increase the amount to $50,000 to cover more than 50 percent of her salary for at least a year.

Oye said the reserve account contains about $300,000 and can be spent on anything having to do with the running of the Student Union, including staff. The decision to use the funds, however, is up to the ASDVC board.

ASDVC President Lindsay St. Hill said she believes that without Lopez, the responsibilities of the ASDVC adviser will fall to Oye, much as they did the semester before Lopez was hired.

“We’re handling a big budget and trying to stay within the Brown Act and Robert’s Rules of Order,” St. Hill said.

“Without that advisory position I just see the organization collapsing.”

Lopez was hired at the beginning of the fall 2009 semester.  Her duties include advising ASDVC and the clubs program, handling cash for the clubs, organizing and training the student workers in the Student Union and managing the building.

But Lopez said her real passion lies in conflict resolution and helping students become better leaders and advocates.

 “It’s kind of like the trickle-down effect,” she said. “If the students involved with ASDVC aren’t feeling supported…then how are they going to be as effective advocating for the students?”

At the ASDVC meeting on March 2, Oye brought forward a second proposal to save two additional employee positions – the student activities coordinator and the student activities assistant – by paying 100 percent of their salaries for at least one year.

“For $40 to $50,000 we could preserve these two positions,” Oye said.

The positions, held respectively by Michelle Zapata and Betty Estrada, are part-time, 10-month jobs. Until last year, they were funded by profits from the DVC Bookstore.

Since the Bookstore has been running a deficit, these two positions have been paid for out of DVC’s general fund budget, Oye said.

Although the positions have not yet been targeted for elimination, Oye said they could be at risk, because they are part time.

The ASDVC reserve account includes more than $200,000 in a high yield bank account and another $100,000 in a second account. This does not include the $70,000 to $80,000 that makes up ASDVC’s annual operating budget, Oye said.

Once the ASDVC votes on the two proposals, they will go to DVC President Judy Walters for a final decision.

Walters was unavailable for comment at the time of publication.

St. Hill and Oye said they would consider paying an even larger portion of the salaries to save the positions.

“We have the funds,” St. Hill said. “It’s just a matter of distributing them evenly.”

 

Contact Ariel Messman-Rucker at [email protected]