Thursday, April 24, 2014
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AB 1557 to Give Returning Vets a Voice in Community College Leadership

As the war in Afghanistan winds down, thousands of veterans are expected to fill seats at California’s public colleges and universities. Already the state’s community colleges lead the nation with more than 44,000 vets enrolled – the largest number since World War II.

That’s why Assemblymember Chris Holden (D-Pasadena) is proposing legislation to give veterans a stronger voice in college leadership, he said. AB 1557 increases the number of voting members on the Board of Governors at the California Community College system by adding two new members – both reserved for veterans.

“Veterans returning to college face unique challenges and colleges across the state are scrambling to offer support. If campuses are not prepared to help these soldiers transition from combat to college, we run the risk of alienating thousands of returning vets,” said Holden.  “With this bill we are saying, we are committed to helping our student veterans – you are not alone, we hear you.”

Currently there are 16 voting members on the CCC- Board of Governors and one non-voting member. This bill would increase that total of voting members to 18.  One would be for a student who is a current or former member of the Armed Forces. The other would be for a current member or veteran who has demonstrated expertise and leadership in veteran’s affairs. Both would be voting members.

“With thousands of student veterans attending California's Community Colleges, and the number increasing as we wind down these decade long wars, our veterans need a voice in their college leadership,” stated Patricia D’ Orange Martin, coordinator of Veterans Services, Pasadena City College. “They can assist in finding solutions that will help the California Community Colleges organize a holistic approach for assisting veterans and improving their chances for success."

The following organizations have endorsed AB 1557:

American Legion, Department of California

AMVETS, Department of California

California Association of County Veterans Service Officers

Military Officers Association of America, CA Council of Chapters

Veterans of Foreign Wars, Department of California

Vietnam Veterans of America, California State Council

California State Commanders Veterans Council

California State Military Museum Foundation

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