Student government changes president
Omar Oseguera and Graham C Wheat, Rip Staff
September 19, 2012
Filed under News
When students returned for this semester, the person they elected as Student Government Association president was no longer in office.
Over the summer, Richard Peterson, the elected president, resigned as of June 30.
Peterson’s short experience as SGA president was not what he expected.
“I felt that everyone wasn’t on the same page,” said Peterson. “I initially took the position because I felt I could be the voice of the students for campus decisions, but after a month I felt I couldn’t really make that impact as SGA president.”
Peterson recalled getting along great with everyone in SGA, but that feelings were not mutual among some members.
“I got along fine with most of the people, but I was getting static from at least one member,” said Peterson. “As president, I wanted to be accepted by all [members] not just some.”
Another factor in Peterson’s resignation was his experience and the lack of help from members.
“When I was doing the meetings at first, I was told I wasn’t leading correctly,” he said. “Training wasn’t until mid July, but I started June 1, so I felt that if I was given more direction I would have known more,” said Peterson.
“Joyce was helpful to a point
by recommending me YouTube links to watch on the ropes of everything,” he said about SGA adviser Joyce Coleman. “I thought it would have been a little better if those who were in SGA before would have helped me out a little more and been more supportive,” he said.
Although Peterson resigned, he remained positive and did what he felt was best for the students.
“I would like it to be known that my heart was definitely in it to go the whole term and really make a difference with students,” he said.
“I wanted to be the one that they would remember. Unfortunately it only took a month to realize I wasn’t in the right place and wasn’t being accepted.
“I decided that the best thing for me and for SGA was to step out and put someone in SGA that everyone would accept. I wanted to leave on a positive note and not point any fingers.”
Peterson told Coleman and his colleagues he was leaving to pursue a full-time job.
“I thought I was going to work with a major company, which fell through,” he said. “Even if that wasn’t the issue, I would have left anyway.”
After Peterson’s resignation, now-acting president Danitza Romo quickly filled his position as president.
She officially took office July 2. Romo filled the vacancy for vice president on the executive board over the summer.
However, she held the position for a very short amount of time.
“I was only vice president for two days,” Romo said.
“According to the by-laws, when the president position is vacant, the vice president takes their position,” said Coleman about Romo’s short vice president role.
“That’s how she, over a weekend, went from being a student, to the vice president, to the president.”
Romo said it wasn’t that difficult of a change for her to make, although usually the position is trained by the current president.
“It’s a learning process,” said Romo.
“I never really pictured myself as being involved in student government, but that changed in the spring of 2011.”
Romo became involved with Safe Space, an outreach program for the LGBTQ community, through an English class at Bakersfield College.
“I took the training and fell in love with it,” she said.
“Actually I took it twice. I was approached to become a senator. I took an application and said yes.”
Even though her political career has been fast-tracked, Romo is feeling right at home.
“[This] really fits well with my life goals,” said Romo, an English and philosophy major, who wants to someday teach at a community college.
During SGA meetings, Romo is continuing to express student concerns in a number of areas, including parking and financial aid. Public safety issues seemed one of Romo’s chief concerns at the SGA meeting on Aug. 8, citing car thefts and a recent student report of gas being siphoned.
She has plans to bring students closer to BC. She wants to bridge the gap between students and staff.
“I hope to increase student involvement and increase communication between the students, faculty, staff and administrators,” she said.
“I hope to contribute to student success and also establish a sense of community at this college. My passion is education and student success.”
Rip editor in chief Patricia Rocha contributed to this story.