Student government candidates speak up

Candidates running for Spring 2013 student government office answered questions from a moderator and students present Nov. 28 during a public forum in the Campus Center.

The first question went to current members of the Associated Students of Citrus College executive board who were once again running. Both Senator Joseph Billeter and Carlos De La Torre, commissioner at large, said that being a senator means speaking for students who do not have the time to speak for themselves.

The new applicants for senator positions then explained why they wanted to be on student government.

Candidate Roland Bachoura promised to fight for music and arts programs, stating, “California is kind of against community college programs, like the music department. If that goes away, Citrus goes away, because the music department is the backbone of Citrus College.”

Candidate Farihah Chowdhury spoke about the influence student government had on her personally, making her feel welcome on her first day of school. She added that her experience with the The Honor Society Phi Theta Kappa, the Volunteer Corps and the Citrus Business Association would help her be an effective senator.

Candidate Luis Lopez Valencia said that he hoped to be a key player in affecting change at Citrus, promising to be more than the person who just says “yes, yes, yes.” When asked what he would do to cut costs for students, Valencia recommended a few programs that could do just that, saying that he was answering as a student; “This is me to you.”

Both candidates for the vice president position have served on the ASCC Executive Board in the Fall 2012 semester. While Alejandra Morales said that she had fully developed her leadership skills in her roles as honor society president and the ASCC commissioner of activities, current vice president Nayiri Baghdassarian referred to her experiences this past semester.

”I joined ASCC specifically because I wanted to bring the college experience back to Citrus. I wanted to bring the community back to community college,” Baghdassarian said.

Morales said that her best contribution during the past semester has been her effort to make Citrus a College of Completion, raising awareness about what students can do to complete their education in spite of financial or academic limits.

While student trustee candidate Larissa Angulo could not name the members of Citrus College’s Board of Trustees, she said that she had passion for the job.

She said she hoped to create a resource center for AB 540 and international students and had spent time in the past few weeks interviewing students about their concerns.

Student trustee candidate and current ASCC senator Mariana Vega said that she had the time and experience required to do the job, citing her previous work with trustee Susan Keith.

She also said that aside from lack of funding, Citrus’ biggest problem was student apathy.

“Students don’t know how much power they have,” Vega stated.

Both student trustee candidates emphasized the need for student involvement in the effort to cut costs.

Senator candidate De La Torre said that his goal was to create hate-free zones for Gay-Straight Alliance members. Senator candidate Billeter said that he hoped to create more jobs for students as professor aids.

Perhaps the candidates’ forum could be summed up in the words of vice president candidate Baghdassarian: “Don’t worry. Good things to come.”