Posadas steps down as activity fee committee chair
Administration seeks new chair with a “big picture” approach.
Published: Thursday, August 30, 2012
Updated: Thursday, August 30, 2012 19:08
Student life Director Jorge Posadas, who served as nonvoting chair of the Student Activity Fee Committee since its implementation in 2006, has stepped down.
Posadas said he submitted a request to resign from the committee during the summer, and college President Robert Zeigler accepted his resignation.
“I think it was just time,” Posadas said Tuesday.
Posadas said he announced his resignation during an advisers’ brunch Aug. 23.
“They were giving me a lot of questions, the advisers, during the advisers’ brunch,” Posadas said. “And I didn’t have the answers because I wasn’t the chair anymore, so I kind of had to announce there that I’m no longer going to be the chair.”
Dr. Robert Vela, vice president of student affairs and interim vice president of academic affairs, said today that the administration did not ask Posadas to step down.
Posadas has been in charge of the committee consisting of five students and four faculty or staff when it began in fall 2006. Under his leadership, the committee refused to open meetings to the public even though they were making decisions about the expenditure of public funds. Because the committee is advisory, they were not legally required to meet in public.
Zeigler told committee members to open meetings to the public during a meeting with The Ranger Nov. 16. The Ranger has pushed editorially for open meetings.
During the second open meeting Feb. 2, Posadas allowed the group to meet without a quorum and the committee awarded $5,721.97 to four organizations. Only two student members and a student alternate were present at the meeting.
The incident caused Eddie Cruz, ethics and compliance officer for the district, to rule that a quorum consists of five members with a plurality of those being students and at least one faculty of staff member present. District Procedure F.2.3.1, which defines what constitutes a quorum, was amended for clarity Feb. 27.
In April, the committee recommended a 2012-13 student activity budget of $800,000 to Zeigler. The budget would have required a fee increase to $2 per credit hour per student, which has been proposed but has not been approved by Alamo Colleges trustees.
That proposed budget allocated $70,000 to start a second student newspaper, which Posadas said would allow students to write about whatever they chose and to cover local, state, national and international issues. The college administration quickly responded that the college already has one student newspaper and did not need another.
In May, a lack of a quorum forced the committee to cancel its regular monthly meeting. The committee was unable to review six proposals totaling $37,296, leaving four organizations in limbo and two projects unfunded.
Zeigler said Wednesday that a new chair would be chosen within the next two weeks to head the committee composed of four faculty and five students. It meets monthly to allocate funds from the $1 per semester hour fee students pay each semester.
Vela said a meeting with committee members is tentatively scheduled for 4 p.m. Tuesday to determine if they still want to participate.
The new chair will oversee the $400,000 student activity fee budget, he said. Previously, the committee allocated about $50,000 of the budget to clubs and organizations and the rest was spent by the office of student life under Posadas’ purview.
Vela said now Posadas is eligible to submit proposals to the committee for student life activities.
“If he’s needing money to supplement activities, he’s going to have to submit a proposal just like everybody else does,” he said.
Vela said of the charge to the new committee, “We’re going to definitely lay it out so that it’s very transparent, and that people are fully aware of what they need to do to apply for the money. Everything is going to be extremely transparent through the whole process.”
Zeigler said Wednesday the position is open to faculty and staff in addition to staff from the office of student life.
“I would look for someone who is kind of ‘big picture,’ that has the whole college in mind, and is focused and interested on as many students as possible benefiting from a fee that they all pay,” Zeigler said Tuesday.
Zeigler said he wants the new chair of the committee to be impartial to campus organizations.
“I would also like to see somebody who has good leadership skills, is balanced, helps everybody on the committee analyze the proposals and really determine where we’re going to get the most impact to students across the whole college,” he said.
Vela said Friday, “Our goal is to get this thing in place as quickly as possible, reconvene the committee, and begin going through the process of approving those proposals that were kind of left in limbo.”
“Our No. 1 goal is to ensure this money goes back to students and student activities,” Vela said Friday. “Through the appointment of a new chair, our focus is going to be on transparency, and making sure that there is a fair disbursement throughout the college so that every student is somehow impacted or touched by the benefits of utilizing this fee.”
For more information, call the office of student life at 210-486-0125.