Know your rights: Cerritos College edition

Cerritos+College+is+the+victim+of+a+massive+financial+aid+scam+that+affects+most+California+Community+Colleges.+The+school+reported+that+approximately+a+million+dollars+were+lost+as+a+result+on+Sept.+22%2C+2021.+

Vincent Medina

Cerritos College is the victim of a massive financial aid scam that affects most California Community Colleges. The school reported that approximately a million dollars were lost as a result on Sept. 22, 2021.

Amy Parker, ASCC Contributor

As the Director of Equity and Diversity of Cerritos College’s student government, the Associated Students of Cerritos College (ASCC), I often work with students to combat violations of their rights and to resolve conflicts between students and faculty/administration that arise.

As such, I’ve also had to become well-versed in the rights of students here at Cerritos College.

Here are some things that you should know and can always do to stand up for yourself here:

Use the Office of Student Conduct and Grievance (OSCG)’s processes. You have a right under AP 5500 to challenge any unfair, unethical or illegal action taken on by a Cerritos College instructor or administrative member.

This includes disputing the application of certain policies which negatively impact you, as well as disputing your grades in a course.

The process is an extremely flexible option that allows for correcting many different types of wrongs that can occur at the college.

It’s also very much a student-led process; the decisions have the binding force of the college, but the meetings are run by the ASCC Chief Justice – who is always a student-appointed member of the students.

Student Rights Infographic
Here’s the the six main rights students have at Cerritos College. (Diana Morales)

Exercise your due process rights. You can never be deprived of any freedom without full due process being undertaken, including a public hearing.

This is a right guaranteed by both the federal and our state constitutions. Oftentimes, this may have to be done through an OSCG process – but in general, you always have a right to challenge something publicly before it’s allowed to affect you.

Speak truth to power by stating your opinions in public meetings. You have a right to come to any public meeting of a college governance agency – including the Board of Trustees, the various shared governance committees, and the ASCC branches – and say what’s on your mind.

This is usually done at the beginning of meetings in the “public comments” section.

You also have a right, if you are not able to attend one of these meetings, to submit a written comment which will be read allowed and submitted to the public record.

Ask the Associated Students (ASCC) for help. You can always come to any ASCC member and ask them for assistance in dealing with an issue on campus. We’re here to support you and to help you get what you need to be done.

Access public records. This is a right guaranteed by the California Public Records Act and by our state’s constitution, as well as AP 3300.

You can request any document or policy that’s been generated in the standard operations of the college, as long as there’s not an applicable exception – for instance, you can’t request another student’s personal information or grades.

Appeal unfair decisions to the next level. There’s always someone to go to if the first lines of defense against improper treatment fail. You can always look at organizational charts to determine who the next level up is.

ASCC members can also help you with figuring out who to go to, and connecting you with them. We’re with you every step of the way.