Assembly Votes to Create Equity for Student Leaders

May 12, 2011

AB 844 (Lara) Allows All Students Elected to Serve in Any Capacity of Student Government
To Receive Funds Associated with their Service

Sacramento, Calif. – Assembly Bill 844 by Assemblymember Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) cleared the Assembly with a 46-18 vote today.  AB 844 makes clear that all students, including AB 540 students, may serve in any capacity in student government at the California State University, the University of California, and California Community Colleges and receive any grant, scholarship, fee waiver or reimbursement for expenses incurred in connection with that service, to the full extent of the law.

“Student leaders are elected by their peers and provide an invaluable service for their schools and communities.  As a former Associated Student Inc. (ASI) Vice President at SDSU, I know first-hand the caliber of work involved when serving in student government. All students who are willing to serve in this capacity deserve to be treated equally, regardless of their legal status. This measure addresses the inequities in the treatment of student leaders,” said Lara.

Student leaders are elected to their positions by their school’s student body and provide an invaluable service for their schools and communities.  Many schools fund these positions, however, recent events have raised concerns regarding whether a student leader is eligible to serve in and receive funds allocated to their position due to their legal status.

The recent events involving Fresno State ASI President, Pedro Ramirez, highlight the need for clarity in the law that any student may serve in and is eligible to receive funds associated with their position, regardless of legal status.  This bill will provide colleges and universities with guidance in the administration of those funds in order to fund all student leaders who are fulfilling a paid leadership position consistent with federal law.

This bill does not require a school or university to employ a student leader.  The bill focuses on providing student leaders with a grant or scholarship, regardless of the student’s legal status.  Thus, schools would have clarity in how they administer these funds and equity would be preserved for any student who serves in these positions.

AB 844 will next be heard in the Senate.