A.S. Votes Against Graduation Banquet

A.S President Jennifer Chen (right) and Vice President Jorge Sandoval (left) at the April 23rd A.S. Board Meeting in the Cayton Center at Santa Moncia College in Santa Monica, California. Vice President's choice to vote against providing catering at the 2018 SMC graduation ceremony sharply divided the board. (Reed Curtis/ Corsair Photo)

A.S President Jennifer Chen (right) and Vice President Jorge Sandoval (left) at the April 23rd A.S. Board Meeting in the Cayton Center at Santa Moncia College in Santa Monica, California. Vice President's choice to vote against providing catering at the 2018 SMC graduation ceremony sharply divided the board. (Reed Curtis/ Corsair Photo)

The Cayton Center Lounge was packed with students on Monday, April 23, when the Associated Students Board of Directors met for their weekly board meeting. Most items on the agenda passed; however, a request for catering for this year’s Graduation Reception was denied in a vote of 6 to 5.

Campus & Alumni Relations representative Andres Munoz was called to the podium to ask for $8,917.19 to cater this year's post-graduation reception. Munoz said, "We're asking for catering, - there's food that we can give to the graduates and also to their families, its a big event that's celebrating everyone who's graduated."

The board presented no questions to the speaker and did not make any comments. However, once the vote commenced, Vice President Jorge Sandoval immediately voted "nay." After Sandoval's vote, five of his fellow board members joined him in voting down the resolution in opposition to five board members who voted in favor of the event.

Board members who voted in the affirmative appeared genuinely surprised at the result of the vote. After the meeting, Secretary Ryan Ang told the Corsair, "This makes no sense whatsoever - I was appalled." Director of Student Assistance Ana Laura Paiva also expressed her concern, saying, "I have no idea why they voted no."

Sandoval defended his vote by expressing his view that the portion of the funds already allocated by the school to the event was spent on frivolous things, such as fidget spinners and stress balls. He felt that the school was using the A.S. budget as an overflow fund, assuming that the board would pick up whatever costs the school did not cover. Sandoval said regarding Office of Campus & Alumni Relations, "You know what, you're buying unnecessary stuff then you can [cover] food, why do you need us?"

Faculty Advisor Dr. Nancy Grass expressed concern over the failure to approve funds for catering for the event without discussion, saying, "When you have large proposals that come before you, and there is no discussion, and then it is voted down without the opportunity for your constituents to hear what your concerns are, that throws up a lot of red flags for people." Dr. Grass went on to say, "You shouldn't be voting based on friendships, you shouldn't be voting based on personal vendettas, you shouldn't be voting on anything other than the properness of the proposal at hand - you may have some questions from the student body as to why you just denied their graduation party."

Other action items addressed included an awards ceremony for students in special programs such as Adelante, EOPS, and Black Collegians, and a university tour for the International Students' Forum. The board also approved a plan to improve student awareness of campus events and activities by designating six bulletin boards around the Main Campus to be used for informational purposes. Four of the boards will be designated for club information, one for on-campus events, and one for A.S. related information.