Governor Jerry Brown appoints Riverside Community College student Board of Governors

California Governor Jerry Brown recently appointed 20-year-old Ravneet Kaur of Riverside to the California Community Colleges Board of Governors.

According to Director of Communications for the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office, Paige Marlett Dorr, the Board of Governors is made up of 17 members, two of whom are students. These members aid in crafting policy and guidance to the 112 colleges that are included in the California Community College system.

Kaur, a student of Riverside Community College, was a barista at Starbucks and a tutor at the college. She has volunteered at medical centers and hospitals in the past. She was also involved in student government at RCC.

Kaur’s appointment brings to light the diversity of student voices that are being heard in larger arenas. Having two students on a board that directly assists in making major changes for community colleges has the potential to lend diversity to the student voice.

“That community colleges have produced a student advocate as articulate and passionate as Ravneet, I think will reflect on all of us well,” RCC professor and student senate chair Richard Mahon said.

Voices such as Kaur’s offer a widened view into the world that a student experiences in community colleges. She and Colin Van Loon, another student on the board, have been placed in a position to offer insight into student life.

“She has been a very effective advocate for student perspective, especially for students who want the best possible education,” Mahon said.

Marlett-Dorr noted that the students on the board represent the voice of the system’s 2.1 million students.

Kaur and Van Loon provide age, gender and ethnic diversity to a board that speaks for the equally diverse students of the 72 districts involved in the California Community College system.

Associated Students of Skyline College President Nicole Harris spoke about the power of the shared opinions of the student body.

“We talk about different issues that are affecting college students, like the cost of textbooks, the cost of tuition,” Harris said.

Harris also talked about the general assembly process that the colleges go through. In these cases, certain resolutions are discussed by all the colleges and decisions are made based on the support of these resolutions.

The leadership skills that one takes away from student government were a large focus, in Harris’ opinions. In her view, getting involved with student government, voting and understanding the power that students have currently, are all important aspects of the college lifestyle.

Despite the addition of two students to the Board of Governors, there is still a potential gap of representation for some of the system’s 2.1 million students, from 112 different schools given the sheer number of students.

In California Community Chancellor Brice W. Harris’ statement (no relation to Nicole Harris) welcoming Ravneet Kaur to the board, he mentions the impact he hopes to see Kaur have on the community.

“The voices of California community college students will be well-represented with her on the board, and my colleagues and I look forward to working with her to craft policies that continue to improve on the student experience,” he said in the statement.