Student Civic and Voter Empowerment Act
In fall 2019, the California State Legislature passed and the Governor signed into law AB 963 or the Student Civic and Voter Empowerment Act (SCVEA).
The Act establishes "the Student Civic and Voter Empowerment Program to be conducted by the Secretary of State, in partnership with the California Community Colleges, the California State University, and the University of California."
The Act requires "each campus of the California Community Colleges and the California State University, and request each campus of the University of California,
- (1) to distribute, in consultation with the Secretary of State, campuswide emails to all students with specified voting- and election-related dates and information, and to include specified dates on all print and online academic calendars,
- (2) to post on social media reminders to students of specified voter-related dates and information, and
- (3) to designate one person per campus as the Civic and Voter Empowerment Coordinator with specified responsibilities, including developing a Civic and Voter Empowerment Action Plan.
The Act requires "the Secretary of State to evaluate the program each year, and to report to the Legislature the results of the evaluation on or before January 1, 2021, and annually thereafter.
The Act requires "the Secretary of State to develop a Students Vote Project to implement these requirements. By imposing additional duties on community college districts, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program."
How is Cuyamaca College is Fulfilling the Act?
Dr. Lauren Vaknin, Dean of Student Affairs, serves as the campus' Civic and Voter Empowerment Coordinator, the college is leading efforts to fulfill the terms of the Act.
SCVEA Work Group
The SCVEA Work Group will consists of students, faculty, and administrators. The goal of the Work Group is to: Develop a Civic and Voter Empowerment Action Plan consistent with all of the following:
- (i) The coordinator shall invite leadership from faculty and students, and administrators from each of student affairs, academic affairs, and government relations or a similar office to participate in a meeting or meetings to develop the action plan.
- (ii) The action plan shall include, but not necessarily be limited to, a campus-specific effort to increase civic learning and democratic participation, with an emphasis on civic engagement, voter turnout, and community building.
- (iii) Students shall be invited to develop the action plan and to coordinate the meeting or meetings to develop the action plan.
Civic Engagement and Voter Empowerment Resources
- California Students Vote Project "is a first of its kind partnership in the nation where all major institutions of higher education in California have solidified commitments to partner with the Secretary of State’s office and encourage student civic engagement efforts, in order to promote a democracy that is more inclusive of student voices."
- Teaching Civic Engagement Across the Disciplines "evaluates the goals, challenges and rewards of integrating civic education into the curriculum, highlighting best practices across disciplines and campuses." Editors Elizabeth C. Matto, Alison Rios Millett McCartney, Elizabeth A. Bennion and Dick Simpson have gathered a diverse group of 38 contributors who approach civic engagement education from many perspectives to deliver a text that will be a resource for any educator.