Meet the candidates for 4cd governing board student trustee


From left: Jessica Cisneros, John Michaelson and Peter J. Swenson answer questions on why they should be the next 4cd student trustee on May 2, 2017 in the Student Union. (Isaac Norman/DVC Inquirer)

Isaac Norman, staff member

These are the candidates who are running for student trustee on the 4cd district’s governing board.

The student trustee advises on student interests.

The board sets the overall operating policies for the entire district and the chancellor executes those policies.

Each student trustee serves a one-year term.

The position rotates between the three colleges in the district.

It is DVC’s turn to represent student interests starting next fall.

Don’t forget voting is online and ends on Wednesday.

Peter Swenson

Swenson said that becoming the student trustee would be a better way to improve how he currently advocates.

His primary concerns are working with student vets, reducing academic costs, improving the parking situation and increasing awareness of current student issues.

Swenson currently is the President of the Horticulture Club the Commissioner of Administrative Affairs for Inter-Club Council and a co-founder of the Science Alliance.

The process of creating the Science Alliance involved modeling a new format that would better address science club needs while “not stepping on the toes of ICC and ASDVC.”

Helping create DVC Science Alliance meant asking for and incorporating student feedback which taught him what works and what doesn’t when it comes to governing and what administration looks for as well as the needs of students.

He feels all three student trustees are working together towards common issues.

Swenson said he will continue his involvement with campus affairs despite the outcome and that running for student trustee is a “thrilling opportunity whatever happens.”

John Michaelson

Michaelson said his experience in student government will allow him to start work as student trustee sooner than the other candidates.

“If you do it correctly, it should not be fun,” he said.

Michaelson previously served as the Vice President of Legislative Affairs for ASDVC, the ICC Chair, and currently is the parliamentarian.

In his capacity with Student Senate for California Community Colleges, he served as the legislative affairs director for Region 3 as well as the external affairs senator for Region 3.

He helped advocate for AB1995 by calling, writing letters, directing social media campaigns. The bill, which mandates colleges that have showers make them available to homeless students, was signed into law in September 2016.

Michaelson advocates for greater access to mental health services across the district and greater voting rights for future student trustees. He also wants to see more done to address the achievement gap.

He also wants to see more done to address the achievement gap.

“Programs (like Umoja and Puente) are beneficial to people in them but administration has not done enough to address the achievement gap,” Michaelson said.

Jessica Cisneros

Cisneros has worked as the vice president of external and internal affairs for the Latino Student Alliance (LSA) as well as an intern for Mae Torlakson’s campaign.

She would like to be the student trustee so she can be the direct line of communication with community members and the governing board; her highest priority is extending library hours.

“There are a good amount of students who need access to computers after 8 or 9 p.m.” Cisneros said. After speaking with the ASDVC President and faculty, she has been told extending library hours can be done.

After speaking with the ASDVC President and faculty, she has been told extending library hours can be done.

Connecting students with resources is also important to Cisneros.

“More people want to know more about Umoja and Puente, people need to know more about these programs and financial aid assistance, students need to know a better way of how to find these programs that will help them succeed,” Cisneros said.

Another important issue students discussed with her is improving access to drinking water.

Further, Cisneros wants to improve the multicultural center in the lower level of the student union — making it a more welcoming space for everyone to be a part of something.

For more on the candidates, watch the livestream of their debate on May 2, here.