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OCC newspaper: Cuts were 'shameless'

May 14, 2011

Editor's note: The following guest editorial was published May 11 by the student newspaper at Orange Coast College, the Coast Report, and is being reprinted here with permission.

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Despite inconsistencies in the Associated Students of Orange Coast College's proposed $1.35 million budget for 2011-12, the Student Senate voted last week 4 to 2 to pass the budget without funding the bulk of the Coast Report's $8,750 request to attend journalism conferences next year.

The Senate held a special meeting to discuss and take action on the budget, which funds various campus groups including athletics, which will receive $233,000 and ASOCC office supplies, which will cost students $13,500.

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One senator found a major flaw in the proposed budget and adamantly objected to passing it. OCC Sen. Alvaro Duque Gomez said part of the $6,850 request from the ASOCC's own College Life Committee was labeled as miscellaneous and was not itemized. The entry included attendance at conferences.

Lack of itemization was the reason the Senate gave for not approving the Coast Report's request.

Duque Gomez said if the College Life received the funding it would contradict the reasoning that the Senate was using to not fund the Coast Report, and called it inconsistent, unfair and said it could tarnish the reputation of the Senate.

He made two motions to amend the budget to either restore the funds to the Coast Report or remove the funds from College Life, but both motions failed.

The decision by the majority of the Senate to ignore Duque Gomez is bad enough, but what raises even more concern is what seemed to be an obvious resentment of the Coast Report's complaints.

While it is understandable that the Fiscal Affairs Council would want a request with as much information as possible, the issue of itemization sounded like an excuse that they could fall back on after all the previous reasons didn't hold up.

Several other reasons given — including a 10% to 15% cut across the board, a promise that other groups also weren't funded for conferences, and that the request was too high — just didn't pass muster when allocations were compared and requests were examined.

The itemization issue is the only one that stuck.

Duque Gomez was right. In order to maintain transparency and consistency, the Senate needed to make the allocations as fair as possible. When given the opportunity to remedy the situation, most of the senators seemed eager to accept any reason to say no to the Coast Report's request.

It makes us wonder if the Senate decided to dig in its heels when challenged rather than repair its error. The group's lack of concern for parity and the enrichment of their fellow students isn't what they were elected to do and they should be embarrassed and ashamed by their lack of responsibility to their constituents.

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