Equity for Student Leaders Bill Heads to Governor's Desk

August 31, 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 Assembly passed Assembly Bill 844 by Assemblymember Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) today with a 50-23 vote. 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. The bill will also enable AB 540 and other non-resident students to serve as the trustee representative of their community college district as long as they attend a college in that district and are elected by their peers to serve in that capacity.

"Student leaders are democratically elected by their peers and are entitled to equitable treatment for their service regardless of their legal status. These students pay student fees just like every other student, and thus, should be entitled to equal treatment." said Lara. "The robust debate we witnessed on the Assembly Floor today serves as a reminder that we must continue our fight for equity within all segments of society and I am honored to lead this fight for these students who give so much to our state and the students they serve" 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.

AB 844 heads to Governor Brown’s desk for signature.