Dean of student affairs addresses student concerns

Sebastian Echeverry

Dean of student services, Dr. Gilbert Contreras, was a popular talking point for some ASCC senators that attended the joint meeting between the Associated Students of Cerritos College and the Board of Trustees.

Comments like “micromanagement,” voting persuasion and taking control of agenda items were made about Contreras in the joint meeting held Wednesday, April 29.

The voices of the students were heard; however, Contreras had little to no time to respond to the words being said about him.

He said, “I’ve been on the agenda a few times but that’s to improve transparency. One of the things we put on the agenda was having ASCC Senate approve transfers and I know in the past that wasn’t done but this year I’ve been very proactive in making sure senate knows where [its] money is and where it is being transferred to.”

ASCC senator Victor Villalobos said that he was concerned about having one individual have sole control of the decisions made by ASCC.

Contreras said, “Absolutely false, when we have our conversations we’ll give our input and staff, but it always ends with ‘but in the end its your call.'”

ASCC party whip, Athena Sanchez, was present at the joint meeting and both agreed and disagreed with the concerns towards Contreras.

She said, “Students here are freshmen in the ASCC Senate and when they hear an advisor speak their mind about something it does weigh their vote.”

However, Sanchez is fully aware that guidance from an advisor is helpful and should be taken with heed.

She said, “He has pushed a lot of items for the senate to discuss as well, if you go back through, you can see a lot of budgeting items that he wants us to be pushing through which might not necessarily need to come through us like the transfer funds for the athletes.”

According to Sanchez, the tranceperancy ASCC is looking for is updates on what is being done.

Sanchez believes Contreras is looking from the perspective of faculty while ASCC looks at things from the student body perspective.

“It feels as if faculty’s objectives are being pushed onto the students,” she said.

Student trustee Daniel Flores feels that the reasoning behind the push of faculty items on student government is because Contreras does not have a budget to work with.

He said, “Unfortunately he doesn’t have his own funds to make improvements, a lot of things he is asking for are big ticket items that students have to approve, so he’ll ask ‘can we do this can we do that?’ and senate has to approve these things.”

Flores said the issue then arrises because students feel like they want their own freedom to create ideas.

He said, “The concern is, when are students going to be able to have their own ideas, when are students going to originate their own things that they want. We don’t know the skills we don’t know the structures [to do so], but Dr. Contreras knows that process.”