December 2, 2023

California Baptist University announced on Sept. 8 the creation of a new Student Senate and the dissolution of the previous student governmental body, Associate Students of California Baptist University (ASCBU).

Chris Hofschroer, dean of students, said the decision was made through careful analysis of issues and a general lack of effectiveness encountered with the ASCBU model.

“Lack  of  student engagement and low voter turnout is what led to these discussions and is what eventually lead to the disbanding of ASCBU and their recommendation of creating a new Student Senate model,” Hofschroer said.

In the past, ASCBU student representatives were elected by the student body. However, the new Student Senate has a different selection process. Instead of holding student body elections, the schools and colleges across campus, as well as other departments such as Student Services, the International Center, Spiritual Life and Athletics, nominate student representatives. The representatives must meet certain requirements, including having completed at least one semester as a full-time traditional undergraduate student at CBU, having a 2.5 cumulative GPA or above and being in good standing with CBU from a behavioral standpoint.

Nominees are invited to apply to be a representative on the Senate. Each application goes through a committee-based review, ultimately resulting in 17 student senators to represent the student body. This selection process is already underway with the goal of having the first set of senators selected by Oct. 1.

“The Student Senate will serve as a formal conduit through which student-related concerns, views and interests can be communicated to university officials,” Hofschroer said. “In support of the Student Senate, the university will provide meaningful opportunities for the Student Senate to meet with, receive information from and engage in dialogue with university officers and university officials.”

Joe Adcock, associate dean of students, will serve as adviser for the new Student Senate. He said he believes the Student Senate will be more effective in representing student needs because it will have a clearer focus on existing to act as a way for students to interact with university officials about student-related concerns than ASCBU did.

“Our desire is to have senate be a good representation of our current traditional undergraduate population,” Adcock said. “The hope would be to give all students a ‘voice’ to communicate student-related concerns, views and interests to university officials. I am excited for the Senate to become the bridge between the students and the university. 

“It will not only be an opportunity for students to communicate to administration, but for the administration to communicate with the students. There are often times where student input is needed. I feel that Student Senate will become an ideal group to come to for this valued information.”

Justice Elohim, senior graphic design major, has been involved with ASCBU since his sophomore year, when he served in the Senate as a residential representative. Elohim also served on the Executive Council as ASCBU vice president from 2021-22. During this time, Elohim said ASCBU helped plan many events, but there was an overall lack of student awareness about ASCBU.

“The shift from ASCBU to the new Student Senate may turn a few heads, but the plan for a transition has been in the works for years,” Elohim said. “It was presented to us ASCBU members at simply the right time for a transition. As the university grows we need to have proper representation of our students.”

ASCBU made the decision to transition to this Student Senate model jointly with university officials after looking into student representation at a variety of colleges and universities. As CBU moves into this new era, Adcock said he is excited to work with the Student Senate to help it accomplish its mission. As a staff member who has seen CBU transition from CBC and expand from 700 students to nearly 12,000, Adcock’s main goal is to make CBU a great place for students to thrive.

“Growth brings change, and I’ve seen a lot of it,” Adcock said. “Change is good, and I am very excited about being a part of this new chapter in student representation here at CBU. 

“I bleed Lancer Blue, and I want nothing more than to make CBU a place that students will cherish in their heart for the rest of their lives. My hope is that the Student Senate will share this desire with me and that together we can work to make that desire become a reality.”

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