Student Government Policy In Violation of California Law

Photo By Jose Servin

Photo By Jose Servin

By Jose Servin

A member of student leadership denied my right to take photographs at a March 21 Associated Student Government meeting, citing a restrictive policy that violates California law.

The attorney general has found that meetings of a community college student body association are subject to the requirements of the Brown Act, according to a 2010 report published by the Student Press Law Center.

The Brown Act states, in Section 54953.5, that the public has “the right to make a motion picture or still camera recording of a public meeting.”

In the middle of a speech being given to ASG by Lilia Tanakeyowma, dean of student affairs, one member of ASG interjected loudly, ordering me to stop photographing out of respect for the members’ privacy.

I cancelled the meeting, as is my right under the Brown Act, yet they continued. I continued taking photographs.

By deciding to hold an office, all members of ASG become public figures. While we respect their individual privacy, our student leaders must know that what they do in an official capacity is the business of the public.

ASG members must learn the laws governing public meetings and rectify their unlawful policies, or renounce their roles.

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