Mt. Hood’s Associated Student Government (ASG) will vote whether they want to merge its Executive Council and the student senate into a single governing body on Monday at noon.
Currently, they are the two main bodies of ASG. The Executive Cabinet (EC) includes the ASG president, vice president, director of finance, and a few other directors. The senate consists of various representatives who are responsible for financial matters that involve student fees.
During research conducted by MHCC’s ASG, 27 different community colleges in Oregon and Washington were evaluated and it was found that, on average, there were 8.46 students in student government roles. According to Mt. Hood’s own ASG bylaws, the ASG here requires 26, with 19 of those being voting members.
If the merger were to go through, there would be only 13 voting members on the council. The ASG president would only vote as a tie-breaker. Some new positions would be created and some current positions combined.
“The one-body system is a little bit more efficient and allows for better communication,” said Nathan Skarphol, ASG’s director of finance and one author of the bill to be voted on Monday.
Currently, the student senate has three members with a requirement of nine, and the executive cabinet is fully staffed with the required nine people.
All titles would change to “representative” rather than “senator” for the senate, or “director” for the executive cabinet. The title changes would be in order to make ASG members more approachable and not appear too “elite,” according to Skarphol.
Positions added to ASG would be representative for campus resources; representative for student support services; representative for diversity, equity, and inclusion; and a representative for academic affairs.
Skarphol said the representative for diversity, equity, and inclusion was added because “there wasn’t really anyone to represent the diverse body of students that we have and the diverse issues that they face, yet we have a Diversity Resource Center, so we realized that there’s a little bit of a problem.”
In any case, the newly shaped ASG will be responsible for managing student fees and will have the power to increase student fees.
According to Oregon House Bill 2666, which will go into effect on Jan. 1, ASG will no longer need approval from the MHCC District Board of Education to raise student fees.
“It makes it easier for the students to have a more powerful voice as to what they want to see the direction of the college being regarding the student fees and finances,” said Skarphol.
Senate and EC meetings will also converge and ASG will meet once a week rather than having the separate bodies meet separately, should the changes be approved on Monday.
The vote for the merger will be held at noon in the Council Chambers located in the Student Union. All current and EC and senate meetings are open to the public.