Cindy Pantoja / The Advocate
Following months of administrative adjustments, student representatives in the Council of Clubs gathered to discuss their discontent regarding the lack of communication from campus administrators.
The Nov. 15 meeting, led by the Associated Students Union, brought together representatives of COPA (Community Organizing and Political Action), SFER (Students for Education Reform), La Raza, the Black Student Union and Puente Project in SA-107.
At the meeting, all parties agreed to unite in a coalition to voice student concerns surrounding alleged secrecy on the part of campus administrators during the hiring process for the vice president of student services position.
ASU President of Club Affairs Rebecca Hernandez said, “For a position that has never been instituted on our campus, the VP of student affairs provides executive-level leadership of programming directly affecting the student body’s safety. The fact that there was a lack of transparency about these candidates and how poorly the forums were promoted, exhibits a disconnect between the administration and the students.
“The salary for an executive in this position can go up to $150,000 a year. This is a big deal.”
Some club members believe they were not taken into consideration when campus administrators decided to have the VP finalist forums on the week prior to Club Rush and other events.
COPA club President Ana Delgado said, “That week was crazy busy with Club Rush and La Raza’s Día de Los Muertos event (preparation). I didn’t know about the VP forums. I would love to have known about the candidates’ backgrounds and (hear) the importance of students voices in the forum.”
At the meeting they expressed their frustration to learning about the sexual assault records of two of the five VP finalists in the Nov. 7 issue of The Advocate and not from the people who should be overseeing student safety on campus.
“I believe the faculty should be able to present examples of their effort to make all information that affects students easily available,” ASU Director of External Affairs Laicee Brown said.
“There shouldn’t be such division between staff and students. Every staff member helps dictate student success and outcomes. We must ensure these staff members have students as their first priority.”
Even though the process for selection of the vice president of student affairs has been discontinued, the position is still vacant. The Council of Club’s main concern is that the new VP will work along with students.
Also, they said it is imperative the administration make sure whoever is hired is trustworthy.
La Raza Student Union member Minerva Arebalo said, “The most important thing here is that this is a college campus with kids from Gateway to College and Middle College High School, along with different high school students who take a couple of college classes. Administrators should not put forward anyone who could put those kids in danger.”
Another point of discontent discussed at the meeting was the belief that hazardous materials were removed during the demolition of the Liberal Arts Building and students were never informed.
Director of Business Services Mariles Magalong said the Contra Costa Community College District hired CVE Demolition to remove the hazardous material.
Terracon Consultants, which specializes in monitoring the removal of materials including asbestos and lead paint, was hired by the district to monitor the work of CVE Demolition to ensure compliance with the current codes and regulations.
Magalong said, “The contractor also has water hose equipment in addition to workers with water hoses constantly watering down the dust generated as the buildings are being demolished.”
The student coalition also questioned the administration’s decision to not cancel all campus activities during the first week of the Camp Fire in Butte County — the most destructive in the state’s history.
Smoke from the fire settled over the Bay Area for more than a week bringing with it some of the worst air quality in the region’s history.
Many meeting attendees said they were perplexed when students and faculty were made to attend classes without the college providing safety masks to protect from hazardous conditions.
At the end of the meeting, all the student representatives agreed to write a letter addressed to CCC President Katrina VanderWoude to inform her about their discontent.
The representatives of the various clubs urge students to sign the letter in agreement. It is available in the Student Life Offices in SA-107.