AS meeting on organization's constitution sheds light on in-house tensions

“At the end of the day when you have 10 other members of the board who are exhausted or feel discouraged because of what happened, is you being right really important? Is you being right that important that 10 other people and their feelings and their opinions have to be stifled because you were right?” asks AS Vice President Caitlin Corker.

During Monday’s public Associated Students meeting, tensions among the AS Directors and their adviser erupted into argument publicly.

AS was going over the new AS constitution, which Associate Dean of Student Life Sonali Bridges pushed for the group to make changes to and approve so that it could go to Joint Council the next day. The AS board then contested this, saying that they are “not allowed to make amendments to the constitution.” As the AS board tried to move through various action items, interruptions from their adviser continued. She warned them several times that “Joint Council cannot happen unless this is approved,” and the AS board proceeded to approve the new constitution, but not before Corker mentioned that three Constitution Committee meetings had already passed, leaving this as the final opportunity to make changes.

Bridges then pointed out that three AS board members went to the Constitution Committee meeting earlier that day, less than a sample of the group. After both Bridges and AS President Ali Khan stated that they felt disrespected by the other party, Bridges reiterated the AS board’s only options and they began to approve sections of the new constitution.

After the AS board approved sections one and two of the constitution, Bridges brings up Article one, section three, subsection three. The article lists sections of the California Education Code that only apply to auxiliary organizations, a designation AS does not possess although the services AS membership provides are considered auxiliary services. This was the point of discussion surrounding this particular article, the fact that it implies that AS is an auxiliary organization. However, this particular article was not eligible for change and had been discussed at the Constitution Committee meeting earlier in the day.

“A lot of it has to do with what they inserted last year,” said Corker the next day. “They inserted the reference to auxiliary that we’re an auxiliary service, which allows us certain rights compared to just being a school supported institution. We aren’t recognized as an auxiliary organization by the state, by the district, by the Board of Trustees, by the school. That reference is aspirational; we want to be an auxiliary organization, that’s how the AS feels about it.”

A heated exchange between Khan and Bridges followed after Bridges reminded the group that the constitution needed to be approved.

“According to you, you say the board can make proposals-”


“-That’s what you said so please, grab a copy of this [the AS constitution], highlight that section, and we'll reconsider that.”

Tensions were so high that Corker called for a second five-minute break, which only a few wanted to take.

Then Dean of Student Life Deyna Hearn was called via cell phone and put on speaker. She asked if there’s confusion about the new constitution.

“We have all the information we need,” said Director of Advocacy TK Flory. “Our adviser has been interrupting us with dilatory information and causing decorum.”

“So,” said Khan, “I’m at about my wits end.” He points out that she’s walked out several times, something she later said she did to keep things professional.

“We've had to rescind all the action taken during the previous Constitution Committee meetings because most of the motions were made by our adviser,” said Flory for Hearn and anyone in the Cayton Center to hear.

Bridges stated at Tuesday’s Joint Council meeting that “I was not aware, nor was the Chair, which on that day was Hasun [Khan], the first day of the Constitution Committee meeting, that I was not allowed to make motions or vote on the constitution as a part of the committee. Hasun was not aware [of] that as he was the Chair, nor was I. Hence that, the motions that they had to look over were the ones that I had made unknowingly.”

The call went ignored seconds later and the AS board returned to business. All became somewhat quiet until they approved the section on activities.

Creating activities is the responsibility of the events department and Bridges. It is an administrative responsibility. Bridges then warns the AS board after they approve the constitution’s section on activities that “the college, nor I, nor anyone has to go by what is in here because there’s ed code and administrative policies that supersedes it.”

According to Corker, these problems come with the territory.

“The biggest problem is the amount of time we have here, but that’s the nature of community college,” said Corker. "It’s not a one person problem. Everything that happens in a meeting like that, somebody could have done something different."