Story by Anthony DeVera, reporter
Story and photo by Anthony DeVera, repoter
The Student Government Association has had to start from the ground up this school year.
“We started off trying to find our sea legs,” William (Peck) Young, Faculty Sponsor and Director of ACC ’s Center for Public Policy and Political Studies said.
In the absence of an advisor who resigned without any notice in the beginning of July this year, Young believes the organization has handled the situation well.
Along with Keisha Gray, Coordinator for the CPPPS, Young provides administrative support for the efforts of the student-run organization.
“The executive board is filled with some of the best young talent I have worked with in my entire life,” Young said.
The students have taken firm control of the direction of the organization, namely by reconstructing it from the ground up.
“We decided to create our own constitution just to have our voices in it and how we want to structure it,” Carrie Woodruff, an economics major who serves as Vice President, said.
President Alison Judice, who intends to major in Political Science, is concerned with the school community’s awareness of the SGA.
“A lot of people don’t know about [us]. A lot of people are still learning that we exist,” Judice said. “That is quite an issue. The student body has to know we’re here if we are going to be their voice.”
Attempting to maintain SGA representation on all campuses, members held a discussion which seemingly moved nowhere for more than an hour about the selection process for senators.
“We are arguing semantics,” Highland Campus Senator Garrett Grimmett said.
Throughout the discussion, senators provided opposing views in what can be described as back-and forth nonsense.
“There is a process in which we speak.” Ian Slingsby, Riverside Campus Senator, said in an attempt to police the conversation, referring to Robert’s Rules of Order.
Young advises the students to work more on listening to each other, and not waiting to speak next.
“They need to understand a bit better the Robert’s Rules of Order,” Young said. “The smartest thing they can do is listen to each other.”
In an effort to develop the skills needed to operate efficiently, SGA has hired Walter Wright J.D., a professor who teaches mediation in the Department of Political Science’s Legal Studies program at Texas State University. Wright gave a series of training sessions, which was open to all members of the ACC student body, based on a program of negotiation developed at Harvard Law School.
“We needed this yesterday,” Shant Soghomonian, the Constituent Senator for International Students said.
After a few training sessions, the students started to utilize their newly developed negotiation skills. Ongoing discussions on topics such as the senatorial selection process, now only take up to twelve minutes of the 3-hour long bi-weekly general assembly meetings.
In addition to preparing themselves for a career in politics, SGA’s efforts for the local community are currently focused on ACC’s “I CAN READ!” children’s book drive.
SGA Secretary Amy Calhoun recalled a conversation she had with a local police officer who expressed gratitude for the book drive’s efforts.
“[The officer] said there were some Christmases where [the officer’s family] couldn’t afford to get their kids gifts,” Calhoun said. “The drive allowed them to at least get something
New Group Supports Local Black Lives Matter movement in Unique Relationship
Story by Ryan Fontenette-Mitchell, reporter
Photos by Anthony DeVera and Ryan Fontenette-Mitchell, reporter
Black Lives Matter has a new ally, a resource of an organization called Allies for Black Lives.
“We are not part of the Black Lives Matter Austin general meetings,” Sacha Jacobson, coordinator for ABL, said. She said the separation was requested by BLM. “We respect that the members of BLM want their own space. We are not black,” Jacobson said in reference to the separate meeting rooms.
“ABL has a lot of work to do in order to catch up with current events about local issues regarding policing in the black community. ABL does not know what it is like to be black, and are lacking a strong grasp of understanding the history of racism in our country,” Jacobson said.
ABL supports BLM by providing financial support for public awareness projects, by informing Austinites BLM’s work to address racism and the importance of having conversations about racial injustice in our society.
“ABL provides education to ourselves and other non-black people in the Austin community and surrounding areas,” Jacobson said.
The relationship between BLM and ABL started in June. Jacobson contacted Margaret Haule, founder of the Austin chapter of BLM, to see if they would be interested in a crowd funded yard sign project. The project would produce signs reading “Black Lives Matter.”
BLM approved of the project and in 3 months, the project raised $3,625.
After the project, Jacobson kept in contact with Haule, who kept sending requests to Jacobson. The position to coordinate ABL, was given to Jacobson, after BLM expressed an interest in forming a separate support group.
BLM laid out guidelines for the new ally group to follow. Public criticism has caused BLM Austin to be media shy. Whenever the media is present, BLM checks with its members to see if they would be comfortable with the media in attendance.
Haule discussed suggestions on ways to get involved with BLM. She mentioned the best ways to get involved were to attend protest and rallies, but most importantly talk to the victims of police brutality.
Haule also kept reinforcing anyone interested to get more information from the BLM website. Not once did she mention attending a BLM meeting. As a keynote speaker at the National College Media convention in Austin in November, Haule answered questions but has declined face-to -face, phone and email interviews.
Jacobson wanted to make it clear that ABL is meant to “support as a resource and does not attempt to take lead.” She also went on to say that, “ABL allies are resources rather than members.” Which begs the question is BLM about unity?
Story and photos by Anthony DeVera, Reporter
Amber Galloway – Something along the lines of not giving up, continuing to keep going, keep trying. I would say school is persevering. Continuing to go through school regardless of hardships in your life, how hard your classes may be, or sometimes you just want to give up and do something else, but we continue to go to school and move forward.
Student “S.” – As a recovering alcoholic, [perseverance] is kind of everyday, just overcoming fear and daily obstacles. I’m quite a bit older than most of the people on campus. It was quite difficult to get back into, ya know, wanting to go back to school. I’ve been divorced, my kids are grown. Regarding my identity as mom or wife, I’ve had to figure out who I was as me, myself. With my struggles with addiction, it seemed appropriate to go get my license for counseling. It’s who I am now. I’m a recovering alcoholic that wants to help other alcoholics. Spirituality played a huge role in getting me where I am today. I believe in a higher power. I also believe you can’t do anything, any big huge struggle, on your own. You need a support group, people you can trust, talk to, not judge you, and help guide you through whatever your dilemmas are.
Alanah Patterson – You never give up, no matter what you do, at least attempt to do something. I went to a leadership academy for seven years. A big part of our mission statement was perseverance. Everyday, when I complete my homework, because it takes a lot for me to sit down and actually work. I always make myself do it, and I think that’s perseverance for myself.
By Anthony DeVera, Editor in Chief
The first day of school is like New Year’s Day for scholastic institutions. Many ponder the potential academic new year’s resolutions and events posed by the upcoming school year.
For the administration, it’s the challenge of improving operations and maintenance. For teachers, it’s the challenge of translating and communicating knowledge and information to a new set of students.
For students, the considerations are as different and varied as the population itself. Some are fresh from high school, others come from the workforce and haven’t gone to school for a while. Regardless, students involved in classes at Austin Community College make an unspoken statement: “I’m here to improve myself.”
Just like students, the Accent is taking advantage of this time to develop a strong foundation. We apply our efforts to the best of our abilities, learning lessons along the way, and figure out what works and what doesn’t.
We report on the news and current events that effect ACC. We publish stories and content following concise guidelines: Is this information the student body needs to know? Is it being presented in the best form possible? Is it in context? Are all the sides of the discussion covered?
Our goal is to provide the student body with the information they need and want so they may be able to develop and form their own well-informed, educated decisions or opinions.
We at the Accent are just like you, students who are doing our best to balance the different aspects of our lives while pursuing our goals. We are a growing organization full of likable individuals, curious of the little world we have here at ACC.
If you should meet one of us covering a school event, or walking about one of the campuses, give us a tip on what you think the student body should know about. We may ask you a few questions, maybe even take a picture or two of you. We see how beautiful our community is, and we want to provide a way for you to see that too.
Anyone who chooses to further their education makes a wise investment in their future. I believe ACC truly stands by it’s motto “Start here. Get there.” I believe that ACC can help you pursue your goal of becoming the person you want to be.
So, on behalf of Accent News, I bid you welcome! I am excited to see what the future has in store for all of us.
All the best wishes,
Gaius Straka, Reporter — Anthony DeVera, Photographer
What can ACC do to improve your commute?