Senate Votes to Create Equity for Student Leaders

August 23, 2011

AB 844 (Lara) ensures all student leaders elected to represent their student body receive funds associated with their service

Sacramento, Calif. – The California State Senate passed Assembly Bill 844 by Assemblymember Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) with a 22-12 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 the California Community Colleges, and may receive any grant, scholarship, fee waiver or reimbursement for expenses incurred in connection with that service, to the full extent of the law.

"This measure addresses the inequities in the treatment of student leaders. Student leaders dedicate countless hours and energy to serve their fellow classmates and communities. As a former Associated Student Inc. (ASI) Vice President at San Diego State University, I know first-hand the caliber of work involved when serving in student government. I am honored to fight for equity for these students who give so much of themselves. All students who are willing to serve in this capacity deserve to be treated equally, regardless of their legal status." said Lara.

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 student government position, regardless of legal status. In the absence of an affirmative benefit such as a law, students like Pedro would have to forgo the possibility of serving and accessing funds set aside for their positions. 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.