By Richard Grimmett
Special to the Corsicana Daily Sun
Corsicana — AUSTIN — Ashley Scholten, Navarro College sophomore and president of the Texas Junior College Student Government Association, spoke on the steps of the state capitol of the importance of community college students.
Ashley, granddaughter of Joyce and Lyle Scholten of Corsicana, said students in the community/junior colleges across Texas play an important role in Texas and in state government. There are more than 72-member colleges in the Association.
She urged the public to voice their concerns through productive conversations with their elected officials. The Navarro student said community colleges face a disadvantage with regard to the funding formula which is now based on graduation rates, when completion of a degree is a mere fraction of the services offered at the community colleges.
She said it would be more beneficial to reward the colleges for milestones completed by students, such as completing a developmental course or reaching a certain number of credit hours instead of just contact hours and graduation rates.
Scholten, who hopes to pursue a law degree at Baylor University, also addressed a bill that would allow people with a concealed handgun license to carry their weapon on a college campus. She asked that it be amended to leave the decision of guns on campus to be enforced by each particular college s Board of Trustees. This would still allow the intent of the bill to be fulfilled while allowing the power of the bill to be carried through by each school at the local level.
“Texas is a vast and diverse state and what works in one area may not work in another section of the state,” Scholten said. She said the ability to carry handguns is a special right granted to us under the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States. “We are simply asking that we allow the sensibility of local governance to provide guidance of such sensitive issues as concealed handguns on campus,” she said.
She also addressed students’ concerns with House Bill 1402, which sets a limit of six dropped classes during a students’ undergraduate college history.
One of the most important issues, she said, is funding. Every year our schools hurt in terms of funding because of the way that funding is currently evaluated. Currently, she continued, schools do not receive money when a student transfers but does not graduate, which is common for community colleges. We are advocating that the legislature change how funding is formulated to account for students such as transfers.
She closed by challenging community college students voices to be heard.
“This is a day for you personally to make a difference,” she said. “Help educate our Representatives to make decisions tailored to the needs of the community college students.”
There were several hundred in attendance on the State Capitol grounds for the fifth Community College Day. She introduced other members of the executive board: Stephani Garcia, vice president, Midland College; Teasha Adams, parliamentarian, Blinn College; Nichole Rogers, treasurer, Alvin Community College; editor of the Bulletin, Eric Ochoa, Howard College, Big Spring; Convention Host, Daniel Cruz, Howard College, San Angelo; Advisor-elect, Stephanie VanCuren, Midland College, and advisor, Joe Hinojosa, Hill College, Hillsboro.