Lack of courtesy in ASCC Senate


Perla Lara

I attended the February 11 ASCC Senate meeting and what I saw was a shocking lack of common courtesy for the public and for its fellow senators.

The lack of manners was so extreme that I would say either the ASCC Senate is completely oblivious to how it treats people or its behavior is intentional and malicious.

The largest problem in the meeting was the lack of courtesy. Vice President Charles Caguioa was quick to dismiss the public forum, trying to quickly move on to the next agenda topic instead of asking for a motion to extend the public forum time when there were students that wanted to be heard.

Of course, it could be argued that he just wanted to keep the meeting on schedule, but then you have to wonder why, during the following agenda items, he showed no concern for time.

During the pep band agenda item he let the discussion go well beyond the time limit when the discussion was limited to 30 seconds per speaker. He let the speakers go on without any regard for time.

During the next item, the hydration stations, the vice president again let the discussion continue without any time restrains and also constantly interrupted to take roll call.

The hydration station was also a source for a lot of confusion since not all senators were as informed as others.

Despite this, a request for a postponement of the vote on that legislation was ignored. The discussion continued until there was a vote and the plan for the five proposed hydration stations was approved.

The clearest example of a complete lack of manners began when the Senate did not go along with the proposed agenda. The first of many votes took place in order to change the first order of business, which was a discussion item proposed by the Student Affairs department to the fourth item on the agenda.

This change in the proposed agenda was, at first, seemingly harmless. It wasn’t until it was obvious how little time was given to the public forum and how the Senate disregarded what Senator Victor Villalobos had to say that it became clear something was amiss.

One senator disregarded the agenda item as having no point since there was no vote connected to the discussion, hence calling for a vote to strike the item.

As time went on, the senators began to leave one by one. When it was finally time for the Student Affairs item to be discussed and Villalobos got up to give his presentation on the topic, Caguioa decided to take another roll call and announce that one less senator would mean the end of the meeting due to not having quorum.

Immediately after that announcement, a senator stood up and walked out, forcing the meeting to end.

Caguioa’s reaction to this was truly appalling. He laughed. He laughed at the fact that Villalobos was left standing in front of the Senate, unable to give the presentation that originally should have been the first order of business.

He offered no excuse and expressed no interest in what Villalobos had to say.

His laughter and disregard for the public forum, at best, showed that Caguioa lacks manners. At worst, it showed that he had no interest in what the students of Cerritos College had to say and is looking after his own interests.

Perhaps someone needs to remind the ASCC Senate that an elected government position isn’t just a title to put on your resumé, but that it is a responsibility to serve the public.

To serve the public you must listen to what it has to say, not just your own voice and your own ideas. Just because you don’t see the point in having a discussion does not give you the right to ignore it.