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Local colleges have different views on education code

Palomar’s interpretation of the California Education Code, the guidelines that oversee the operations of California community colleges, is different than other community colleges in the area.

While MiraCosta and Saddleback College have a bilateral process in how student funds are used; Palomar employs a unilateral process.

Section 76063 of the education code, which pertains to the student activities fund, states the following:

“The funds shall be expended subject to procedures that may be established by the student body organization subject to the approval of each of the following three persons, which shall be obtained each time before any of the funds may be expended: an employee or official of the community college district designated by the governing board, the certificated employee who is the designated adviser of the particular student body organization, and a representative of the particular student body organization.”

According to the code, a representative from the student body must be involved in the decision whenever funds are used out of the student activities fund.

According to Sherry Titus, the director of the Office of Student Affairs, her office has the final say on how the money from the student activities fund is used.

“No, and again why should they? This (showing the card’s benefit pamphlet) is what they’re funding right here … It doesn’t say that you’ll have assistance with determining outside funding for projects that is in excess of what we need,” Titus said.

At other community colleges, such as Saddleback and MiraCosta, students have the power to decide when to use the their student activities fund.

“The ASG money is student monies so whatever is funded or not funded is adjudicated by the student senate and its Vice President of Finance,” Jim Gonzalez, MiraCosta’s director of student services said.

Audra DiPadova, Saddleback’s director of student life, said “If you read 76063, the last paragraph, last sentence of that particular section I think it makes it pretty clear. Funds have to be expended with the approval of a representative of the particular student body organization.”

Palomar does not seek input from a representative of the student body.

“The ASG does not approve Student Activity Card fee expenditure,” Titus said.
Palomar’s Vice President of Student Services, Adrian Gonzalez, agrees with Titus, that student’s input isn’t required.

“So that student rep fee you absolutely have to go to the ASG. The student ID card is a revenue generation from the Office of Student Affairs to the benefits to the students. The ASG isn’t raising the funds,” Gonzalez said.

But Steve Buckman, former executive vice chancellor of operations and general counsel, said in a 2012 memo that all funds are subject to the code, regardless of how they are raised or who is raising it.

“Education Code section 76063 does not distinguish between funds that come from the district general fund and other sources,” Buckman said.

DiPadova added, “Students are supposed to be involved in any matter pertaining to their education and in the governance of the college as well so hopefully students are involved in the administration of the funding that they generate.”

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