Rising concerns for assembly bill helping homeless students

By Luis Castillo

Assembly Bill 302, which would allow homeless students to sleep in their cars on campus parking lots, is gaining momentum. The East Los Angeles College Budget Committee discussed, on Monday, how it would fund AB 302.

President Marvin Martinez said his main concern with the bill was that it was not as simple as just opening the parking lot to students. 

There are questions about how additional security and sanitation for the lots would be funded.

The committee said that if AB 302 were to pass, the campus would also need to keep bathrooms open at night for students.

Liability issues were also a concern the Budget Committee discussed. 

If a student were to get injured while in a campus parking lot, the the college may have to deal with a lawsuit.

The committee said that AB 302 shouldn’t be mandatory, because if the bill were to become a law, ELAC would be forced to comply. 

It also said that the people pushing the bill aren’t taking into consideration the costs they would have on colleges. 

If AB 302 were to pass, ELAC and other California community colleges would have to pay for expenses themselves.

President Martinez said he wanted the Budget Committee to be prepared in case AB 302 passes. “It’s gaining momentum,”  President Martinez said. “There are a lot of things we’re not anticipating and we have to be ready for them.”

The Budget Committee also discussed ELAC’s budgeting plan, the Student Success and Support Program (SSSP) and it’s progress since its implementation in 2012. 

The committee said the plan is coming to an end on June 30.

Dean of Student Services Paulina Palomino said the new budgeting plan, called the Student Equality and Achievement Program will include all the funding of the old plan along with additional funds.

She said that under SSSP, ELAC had the funds to hire more counselors which resulted in more students transferring and graduating. 

The committee said their goal with the new plan was to continue where SSSP left off.

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