San Joaquin Delta College President Jeff Marsee announced Wednesday the Delta College Foundation will oversee the flea market instead of the Associated Student Body Government, a move that did not sit well with the student group’s president.
“This is clearly a case of the administration doing whatever they want, because the market makes more than $500,000 a year,” said Nicholas Aguirre, ASBG president. “If they think they will do this and win, they’re crazy.”
The Delta College Foundation is the college’s nonprofit supplemental fundraising entity. It supports scholarships and special programs like Passport-to-College.
Aguirre argues the foundation, which has been idle for several years and currently has no board of directors in place, does not have the best interest of the students at heart.
The foundation has been neglected in recent years, but its role in the campus community as a fundraising organization makes it a natural choice to operate the market, said Michael Kerns, Delta’s vice president of student services.
He also added that student representation will be considered when the board of directors for the foundation is being developed.
“I’m very supportive of the need to have a student voice on that foundation, but I don’t know if it will happen,” he said.
Kerns did not say how many people Marsee may ultimately appoint to the foundation’s board.
Current student body president Aguirre, however, believes the student government is being punished for the actions of its former president and flea market coordinator Robbin Gerald Sealey Jr., 28, who pleaded guilty to grand theft in July for taking money from vendors. Sealey, who began running the market in September 2009, is set to be sentenced Oct. 6.
“The district and its former president failed to monitor him,” Aguirre said. “There was no steady director of student activities while Sealey was in charge.”
The administration said in a press release the market raises “substantial” dollars annually for ASBG activities but less than 10 percent goes to student scholarships. Aguirre said $35,000 was donated to grants and scholarships and an additional $110,000 was given to student clubs in fiscal year 2010-11.
The student government will not lose the market without a fight, Aguirre said.
“This is a major revenue source for students,” he said. “We’re going to go to court.”
The administration defended its decision.
“Individual students have every right to move forward in that direction,” Kerns said in regards to potential litigation. “I believe we are right in transferring management to the foundation.”
While the group in charge of the market is changing, it will continue to operate and vendors and customers should not expect any radical changes, Kerns said.