Peralta Community College District's Only Student-Run Publication
Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Trustee Paulina Gonzalez Brito addresses the crowd at Berkeley City College’s 50th anniversary celebration. The event featured a block party along with a groundbreaking ceremony for the college’s new Milvia Street building. (Photo: Marcus Creel/PCCD)
‘We’re still rising’: BCC celebrates 50th anniversary
College throws block party and breaks ground on new building
Sam O'Neil, Associate Editor • May 6, 2024
Student Trustee Natasha Masand believes her voice has the power to impact the PCCD community.
Student Trustee Natasha Masand finds her voice
Isabelly Sabô Barbosa, Social Media Editor • March 19, 2024
PCCDs classified employees pose for a pic at the first-ever professional development day for classified professionals. PCCD Chancellor Tammeil Gilkerson reflected on the event in her report to the Board of Trustees. (Source: PCCD)
Peralta’s leadership search, CCC public safety earmark, and “rumors” discussed at 4/9 meeting of PCCD Trustees
Desmond Meagley, Staff Writer • April 24, 2024
College of Alameda jazz professor Glen Pearson demonstrates his musical talent on his classroom piano. Hes one of the newest members of the Count Basie Orchestra, a historic 18-piece jazz ensemble that took home a Grammy this year.
The humble Grammy-winning pianist leading CoA’s music program
Desmond Meagley, Staff Writer • March 4, 2024

Student elections open today. Has voter information been ‘widespread’?

(Photo: Glen Carrie/Unsplash)

Didn’t know your student body elections are today? That’s okay. We didn’t find out until last week.

On Wednesday and Friday, we reached out to the four Directors of Student Activities and Campus Life across the Peralta Community College District (PCCD). We wanted to know if there were any on-campus polling places, and what languages voter information would be available. The response? Mostly crickets. 

The only reply was from Doris Hankins, Director of Student Life at Merritt College to confirm that yes, the elections are indeed being held this Tuesday. 

According to PCCD’s Election Code Manual, also known as the Administrative Procedure 5410 Associated Student Elections, voting information must be made “widespread” and accessible.

All one has to do to find the information online is navigate confidently through a series of Indiana Jones-style traps, with poison darts and rolling boulders taking the shape of outdated information and publicly-funded website design. Easy enough. 

Treacherous as the quest was to retrieve the links to vote and candidate information, we did it for you.

Each PCCD school will hold its student body elections today and tomorrow, though not each college has the same polling hours. Berkeley City College’s website informs voters that the ballot link will be open from 8 a.m. on Tuesday until 5 p.m. on Wednesday. College of Alameda lists voting hours until 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday. Neither Laney or Merritt College have voting hours listed at time of writing.

At time of writing, the College of Alameda website lists “Voter Guide Coming Soon”, somewhat ominously. Hidden at the bottom of the website under “IMPORTANT DOCUMENTS” is the actual voter guide.

For BCC elections, a voter’s guide was uploaded online Friday and emailed to students Monday morning along with the voting link.

The polling link for Laney College student elections has been posted on PCCD’s main website, but not on Laney’s specifically before Monday. The webpage promises the link will be posted on voting days. A voter’s guide was posted Monday.

Merritt College’s most up to date information at time of writing lists four students’ Google forms petitions links with instructions to “click students’ name to sign their petition, before April 9, 2024.” According to the student election manual, candidates “must collect a minimum of 50 valid signatures of current students” before election day. 

Each of the four candidates has a hyperlinked Google form petition with access to read about them and the rules for collecting signatures. Emilyn Inestroza, running for Vice President, is the only candidate whose petition link has access permissions disabled.

PCCD’s own website updated sometime over the weekend to reflect the hyperlinks to the virtual polling places, though the link for BCC student elections does not match the one posted to the school’s individual website, instead pointing to a survey which “has already expired”. Other links also appear to be outdated, pointing to surveys titled “Spring 2022 Elections.” PCCD’s website also lists the wrong dates for student elections at time of writing.

Finding information about student elections should not be a challenge. 

Voter guides should be circulated far enough in advance, in order to give the community enough opportunity to make an informed vote. Yet even BCC, the college with the most active student government, only distributed the voter guide directly to voters the day before elections.

The student election manual states, “The Elections Committee may make a Voter’s Guide available to the campus community four weeks before Election Day.” 

The manual also requires “at least one polling place on each campus.” If there are polling places on campus, they are not listed on any of the four colleges’ websites or the district website. 

The district initially made the switch to online voting during the pandemic. Even before the pandemic, PCCD struggled with low voter turnout, The Laney Tower reported in 2017. 

The problem with low engagement in student government has continued. In 2021, The Citizen reported that the College of Alameda struggled to fill student government positions. As recently as 2023, BCC reported 155 votes out of 6,122 enrolled students.

According to BCC’s spring 2023 election results, the only previous vote tally we were able to locate, only 4 students at Merritt College and 19 students at Laney College cast a vote in the student trustee election last spring.

Student representatives deserve better than what they’ve been given. The district is accountable to its students, and the students who choose to be representatives. 

As a community college, our student government should be reflective of the diverse student body. Without accessible and widespread information, how can students be expected to make  informed decisions in choosing their fellow student leaders?

About the Contributor
Eliot Faine
Eliot Faine, Staff Writer
Eliot Faine (he/they) is a returning community college student and Journalism major. The empowerment of self determination motivates their work, and he believes the most autonomous venue is to arm communities with the truth. Sword, meet pen. Eliot opens themselves to learning something new every day, and will generally try anything at least twice. They are particularly interested in penning the stories from communities and their leaders in the movement towards a more just society.
Leave a Comment
More to Discover
Donate to The Citizen
Our Goal

Comments (0)

All Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *