Gov. Jerry Brown has signed two important bills that give students at California State Universities a greater voice in the decisions that affect their campuses.
AB 447, introduced by Assemblyman Das Williams, D-Santa Barbara, allows a student trustee to vote at every Board of Trustees meeting. SB 325, authored by Sen. Marty Block, allows sophomores to serve as trustees.
“Students must have a voice in the events on their campuses,” Williams said. “These bills knock down the doors to create more student representation.”
The CSU system is governed by a 25-member Board of Trustees, which includes two student trustees. Two student trustees are allowed to serve on the CSU Board of Trustees for staggered two-year terms. The student trustee in his or her second year serves as the voting trustee. The second nonvoting trustee succeeds to the voting position upon the expiration of the term of the first.
In the 2012-13 academic year, however, the voting trustee missed three of six meetings for health reasons. These absences, through no fault of the student, meant that of the 25-member board, there was not a single member voting solely on behalf of students like that of a student trustee. The new law allows the second trustee to vote if the voting trustee is out.
"I am extremely proud of the work that CSU students did to guarantee the passage of AB 447,” said Sarah Couch, president of the California State Student Association. “This bill will ensure that students always have a voice on the board of trustees. We appreciate that Assemblymember Williams stood up for what was in the best interest of students."
SB 325 allows sophomores to serve as student trustees and waves tuition fees, encouraging broader participation.
“SB 325 allows about 100,000 more students a greater opportunity to serve in a trustee position, while AB 447 gives those student trustees a greater voice.” Block said. “As a former CSU professor and dean, I know that students add a critical and valuable in-the-trenches perspective to trustee deliberations and their decision making.”
— Josh Molina is the communications director for Assemblyman Das Williams.