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The Inquirer

The student news site of Diablo Valley College.

The Inquirer

The student news site of Diablo Valley College.

The Inquirer

District denies additional powers to student trustee

Student Trustee Christina Cannon speaks about the position. (Photo by Courtney Johnson/2010 The Inquirer)

A majority on the Contra Costa Community College District governing board oppose expanding the power of its student representative.

At its March 31 meeting, the board refused to officially consider student trustee Christina Cannon’s request that she be allowed to make and second motions, as well as to attend closed session, when the topic was not a personnel or collective bargaining issue.

Cannon’s ally on the board, trustee Tomi Van de Brooke, raised the issue, arguing the added power would bring a student voice to certain issues and expand the student trustee’s learning experience.

But board Vice President John Nejedly said district trustees had voted down such a request in the past, because the student trustee is not elected by registered voters and therefore should not have the same responsibilities as the other five board members.

In a later interview with The Inquirer Nejedly said the student body already has more privileges than any other constituent group and adding more seemed unnecessary. 

“They get a seat at the table with the board, and are allowed to speak on any issue at any time, and they get an advisory vote,” he said. “None of the other groups are allowed that.”

Board President Anthony Gordon said only four of California’s 72 community college districts allow their student trustees to sit in on closed sessions, although Van de Brooke countered that more than 30 districts allow their student trustees to make and second motions.

Agreeing with Nejedly, trustee Sheila A. Grilli said, “We’re elected officials. We’re responsible to our constituents, and I don’t see that same trust being placed in the student trustee.”

Gordon called for an unofficial vote to end the discussion, with Nejedly, Grilli and Gordon in favor and Van de Brooke and trustee Jess Reyes opposed.

Cannon was disappointed in the outcome of the vote, telling The Inquirer that the board’s choice was overly conservative.

“We should not hold ourselves to the past,” Cannon said. “We should be looking to the future and seeing what we can do.”

Van de Brooke said later, “The law allows for the extension of two additional privileges by a local governing board . . . and whenever we’re delegated a chance to provide more opportunities for student trustees I think we should — especially in the absence of a reason that could bring harm.”


Contact Scott Baba at [email protected]

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About the Contributor
Scott Baba
Scott Baba, Opinion editor
Opinion editor, spring 2011. Staff member, spring and fall 2010.

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District denies additional powers to student trustee