By Alejandra Carrillo
After 10 years struggling to establish the student representation fee, the East Los Angeles College Associated Student Union were able to get a majority vote last Winter.
The student rep fee made its way into community colleges in the year 1988.
Over the years, half of the community colleges in California implemented the student representation fee.
During the Winter semester, ELAC earned $7,909.
According to Education Code section 76060.5 of the Student Fee Handbook, approved by the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office, the Student Rep. Fee states that a student enrolled in a community college must pay a fee of $1 per semester.
The handbook also states that a student can request their dollar back for religious, political views or personal reasons.
Students can talk to Oscar Valeriano, vice president of Student Services, if they wish to get their money back. He will resolve issues or questions students may have.
Since this policy is relatively new at ELAC, some students might still wonder what this one dollar is being used for.
During the Fall semester of 2012, students voted in the school elections where the Student Rep. Fee casted enough votes to pass.
Jesse Orellana, vice president of ASU, says, “Not many students knew, and some still don’t know, what the Student Rep. Fee is. ASU tried informing students and clubs about what it was and it informed and encouraged students to get involved and vote.”
Due to students who are not well informed, ASU board members feel it is important for students to be more involved in policies that can benefit the college.
Anybody that is a student at ELAC can use the money for an event that will benefit students.
Joana Guerra, ASU Treasurer, says that if by any chance the money does not get used each semester it keeps accumulating to the next semester.
Guerra says that ASU is representing 33,000 students this semester. Without any students requesting their dollar back, this semester, ELAC should gain $33,000 from Student Rep. Fee revenue.
ASU is still waiting on results for this semester from the Fiscal Office.
ASU had planned to use this money for the March in March trip to Sacramento, but many students did not sign up to go, the money will go toward future ASU trips.
ASU board members can use some of the money for any conference or event they need to go to.
The student rep. fee is for student advocacy. Meaning, it is not only there for ASU to use.
The student rep. fee can also be used to bring a speaker to ELAC to speak about student rights or to encourage student advocacy.
Students who wish to use this money, can go to the ASU office, request a form and fill it out.
The form will then be viewed by the ASU’s board members who will determine if the student will be given the amount of money the requested.
Someday in the near future it is estimated that this extra money will let ELAC have a bigger word in education.
For example, posting posters around campus about upcoming propositions that benefit community colleges.
“Even if it is a dollar, it helps out. Don’t expect things to change overnight, it’s a stepping stone to better our school,” says Orellana.