A.S. rethinks re-entry job

In a meeting that saw both gavel-pounding and voice-raising, student government leaders voted Feb. 23 to change the title of the Associated Students commissioner of re-entry affairs, paving the way for a consolidation of other positions and duties.

They’re already rethinking the decision.

The A.S. Governmental Affairs Committee voted 5-1 to change the position’s title to commissioner of re-entry and alumni affairs.

The committee discussed several combinations of both commissioner (voting) and coordinator (non-voting) positions, with the goal being to save money and to “beef up” the re-entry job without taking away any of its duties to serve the student population that’s over 25 or returning to school after a significant break.

The re-entry affairs position has had rocky history since its inception more than a decade ago. Office-holders have frequently resigned mid-year, having underestimated their time commitments. Even when commissioners organized events for re-entry students, they were poorly attended. “The position is just not working, for whatever reason,” said Chela Patterson, the staff member who directs the A.S. activity fee.

Mimi Bommersbach, the faculty adviser to the re-entry students’ Phoenix Club, told the GAC the problem has been one of outreach: The A.S. has not been getting the word out.

The A.S. can’t get rid of the position without a vote of the students, but it doesn’t want to. Instead, leaders feel they can broaden the job so it draws from a wider student base.

A.S. President Michael Dailey, who cast the dissenting vote, said the next day that the GAC acted too quickly and out of frustration and now some members are having regrets.

Titling the position so specifically would not only hamstring the A.S. but also move alumni affairs to a voting power, permanently.

It’s not undoable, however, because the decision still has to go before the A.S. Board of Directors. Dailey expects the BOD will decide instead to approve the idea that the re-entry affairs position needs to be changed but leave the details and duties—even the name—for later.

With the election set for April 8-9, the A.S. has about three weeks to iron it out.