Student Trustee talks board, textbook affordability and making a difference

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Student Trustee talks board, textbook affordability and making a difference

Kelly Wynne, Editor-In-Chief

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Gloria Roark, student trustee, has seen her fair share of board controversy throughout her term. Courier Editor-In-Chief, Kelly Wynne, sat down with her to talk about the board boycott, electing a new student trustee and Roark’s plans to make the college more affordable.

ON THE BOARD:

Kelly Wynne: How did you feel knowing that the “boycott three” attended the Feb. 3 meeting? Do you think this will invoke any major changes on the board?

Gloria Roark:  Well I was watching it from my house since I could not attend due to some prior obligations (school work comes before anything for me), so when I saw them at the 5:30 meeting I was shocked. And then I think my jaw dropped when they didn’t go through with any parts of the meeting (the pledge, public comment, trustee discussion) that have been happening when there has been a lack of a quorum at our other meetings. In my opinion, that cheated the community and everyone in attendance. When they got up and left I really thought they weren’t going to come back so I was pleasantly surprised when I saw that the 7 p.m. meeting was actually happening! I was also very happy to see that the consent agenda and a few other things were able to be approved finally. But, as always, I was a bit frustrated knowing that so much of the agenda items could have been decided upon in December, but weren’t due to petty disagreements.

KW: Are the trustees working to pick a seventh member or leaving the appointment up to the Illinois Community College Board (ICCB?)

GR: I really wish I had an answer for this one, but I don’t. The way I see it is even if we do get the opportunity to discuss the appointment of a new trustee, and I mean to discuss those who have submitted applications, I don’t think we would ever agree on one person. It almost seems better, in my opinion, for ICCB to appoint a trustee for us. If we do end up having that meeting to discuss appointment of a seventh Trustee, I would not be expecting anything productive to happen during the meeting due to the disagreements within the board.

KW: Since this meeting was just to approve basic college functions, do you see the boycott continuing on more controversial agendas?

GR:  I could see it happening if we chose to hold a meeting to specifically discuss the appointment of a new trustee. I could also see it happening when the Presidential Search Committee comes to us with their recommendations for a new college president. So yes, when controversial topics come up, I would not be surprised at all to see a lack of a quorum.

KW: In the past you had mentioned that you would expect tension at the next full-board meeting. Are you surprised by how peaceful the Feb. 3 board meeting was?

GR: Honestly I think that was fake peacefulness. I think the board, at the time, was just trying to get through the agenda and avoid any conflicts or disagreements with each other by discussing as little as possible. I felt as though that meeting itself was abnormal because there was little to no discussion about any of the items, which is extremely abnormal if you keep up with the way that the board acts! I am glad that they could come together to approve important things, but I don’t think we are “in the clear” so to speak.

ON SCHOLARSHIPS

GR: I just came back from [the Illinois Community College Board Student Advisory Committee (ICCB-SAC.)] We talked about a lot of things students face, not necessarily community college students. We talked about scholarship affordability. When I came back, I got in touch with the foundation. I wanted to know how they advertise for their scholarships because I’ve asked students if they know how to apply and a lot of them have never even heard of the Foundation scholarships. They’re missing out on so much money! One of the ICCB-SAC members grabbed us these scholarship bookmarks. On the back they have how to apply for them. It’s just little steps. It’s super easy. So I asked the Foundation, and they gave me this super lengthy brochure, and I was like wow, I really like [the bookmark.] One of SAC’s ideas was to make scholarships more accessible to students so I shared the bookmark with the Foundation. After this semester, they’re going through with advertisement redesign. They took a bookmark from me, so I’m hoping they use something like that. One of the things we thought of was, what if the bookstore and the library give them out as well.

ON TEXTBOOK AFFORDABILITY

GR: That’s a huge issue, in my opinion. Textbooks are so expensive. I’ve been looking into the bookstore’s contract with Follett, and I want to renegotiate it somehow. I don’t know if people know this, but we do have a price match system at our bookstore. Not a lot of people know that. Our price match system is kind of like a price match system, but not really. What they do is they allow you to bring in a picture from online, like from Amazon or something, with the book’s price on it. They make you pay the bookstore’s price, but they give you the difference in a gift card. So, you kind of get the money back, but not really. You still have to spend it at the bookstore. It’s kind of backwards when you think about it. One of the colleges we work with, Lewis and Clark College, they offer the price match system. They’re getting back to me on whether or not they actually do the price match I have in mind, and then they give 10 percent off of that price as well. That would generate a lot of revenue at the bookstore and would save a lot of money for students as well, so I really like that idea.

 

ON UPCOMING STUDENT ELECTIONS

GR: We have one person running for the position of student trustee. There’s like five people running for vice president and I think three running for president. I was really hoping we would get someone for student trustee, but not many students know about the board, or they know about the problems with the board. They don’t know what the board actually does. I don’t know how to tell students that it’s actually a good opportunity. The girl who’s running for the position, she’s super dedicated, so I’m really excited for her. I’m excited for all of the people running for the positions. It’ll be fun for them.

KW: What would you tell someone thinking about applying for student trustee?

GR: That’s a really good question. I’m trying to think of something uplifting, but the state in which the board is in… I’m not excited to leave my position, but it’s relieving that I won’t have to go through with this much longer. I would tell the next student trustee that it will get better. The college is turning around. We’ve just been having a lot of issues lately. I think once this new trustee is seated and the new president is elected, the college will turn around. I think that’s all going to happen at the beginning of the term of the new trustee. They will have a good term. They should look at it that way rather than thinking these problems will continue. Look on the bright side of things. It’s not as scary as I thought it would be. It’s a lot of fun.

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