Showcase fund request approved, with conflict

Students address the Associated Students of Citrus College executive board over the initial denial of a request for funds for an artist showcase on March 14 in the CI 159. ASCC revisited the item to re-vote after push back from the student body questioning their lack of support. Photo by Christopher Amurao / Clarion

Citrus College art students will receive funding for a portfolio workshop where they can display their work to four-year colleges.

The funding did not come without a fight, however.

Over three meetings, a request for $251 to the ASCC student senate was rejected, revived, negotiated down and ultimately passed for the original amount.

The initial rejection of the funding began discussion over students’ best interests, spending and perceived entitlement to funds.

For the past 16 years, colleges such as the University of Southern California, Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising and California Institute of the Arts have come to Citrus College to view and critique work done by students and give advice on their portfolios.

The majority of the funding was to provide lunch for the representatives of the colleges that come to critique the student artists’ body of work.

Students speak

Over 30 people came to attend the ASCC senate meeting March 14.

ASCC advisor Maryann Tolano-Leveque was not present, allowing the meeting to stray from typical procedure.

Students, teachers and counselors stood up and emphasized the strength of Citrus’ art program with the senate in an open forum. ASCC members Ruben Romero and Jennifer Chavez-Ramos also defended the portfolio workshop.

Senator Andrew DiGiovanna, who was not present for the initial voting, proposed a fundraiser in place of using money from the ASCC’s social activities account.

The idea of fundraising was met with skepticism.

The senate revisited the request the next week.

The Re-Vote

Only certain speakers acknowledged by the board were allowed to present March 21.

Michelle Plug, articulation officer at Citrus College, spoke to the board.

“Can you tell me the difference,” Plug said, “in terms of how you allocate the funding from one to another? Students might think that maybe there’s a bias to it. I’m kind of uncertain because I want to know the criteria is. And what’s fundraisable?”

“All these students pay for these ASCC stickers,” Plug said, before running out of time allowed to speak.

The proposal of a fundraiser was rejected for concerns that funding would not be given in the future.

“Funds have been donated,” said DiGiovanna a week after his proposal.

Nevertheless, the senate’s only jurisdiction was their own funding of the workshop and not another organization.

In a series of amendments to the request that negotiated the request down to $35, back to $251, up to $182 and back to $251, the amendment passed for the original amount.

After suggesting the final amendment for the original amount, senator Favian Fragoso said, “The art department should not have to be going through these hurdles to fundraise in the future if we don’t have such generous board members that wish to fundraise for them.”

The aftermath

After the approval of the portfolio workshop, some senators voiced concerns over spending and fear of running over budget.

ASCC senator Ian Rodrigues, who called himself a “budget-hawk,” introduced a bill to monitor spending by the board, called the Wasteful Spending Prevention Bill.

“There’s no ill intention from the senator,” said senator Sean Cazares, This is not meant to degrade, or what have you, no ill intent. Frankly I would like to know what’s in all our accounts.”

Tolano-Leveque assuaged these fears, explaining that she and her other advisors would not allow the board to spend more than the $20,650 budgeted in the social activities account.

Last year, the ASCC ended with $5,492 in budget surplus, Tolano-Leveque said. In the fall, $9,920 had been spent. As of March 14, there is under $8,000 left in the social activities account for the 2016-2017 school year. Funds are first-come, first-serve and when they run out, the board cannot spend any more.

A week later, while further discussing spending, Rodrigues gave a statement.

“It gave me a sense that they were entitled. We can’t give in to entitlements. This board needs to set a precedent,” Rodrigues said. “They were saying last meeting that they’ve been doing this for 16 years. Why stop it now? That for me feels that they were entitled to the money. Now, I was raised differently. I was taught that you weren’t entitled to a darn thing, you have to earn everything.”

“If we feel that people want money just because they’re entitled to it, we need to strike that down before it gets out of control,” Rodriguez said.

Some senators voiced different opinions on the portfolio workshop.

“I see it as tradition. I don’t see a reason why this board should go against that tradition. It’s at the core of what Citrus is,” senator Juan Martinez said.

ASCC meetings are open to students at 2:30 p.m. every Tuesday. The senate will no longer meet when the advisor is not present, as a result of breaches in procedure. They did not meet April 4, as Tolano-Leveque could not attend.

The author acknowledges the selection of quotes are his own selection, which may come with bias, despite best efforts. For full audio, he can be contacted at camurao@ccclarion.com.

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I'm just trying to have a good time and produce good journalism. I'm the Web Editor for the Citrus College Clarion. camurao@ccclarion.com


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