By Tonia Ciancanelli / Editor in Chief

Two trustees voiced concerns at the Tuesday, Nov. 12, meeting after the annual staff equity report revealed no significant progress in the college’s effort to hire employees proportionally reflecting the growing diversity among the student body.

Before leaving the meeting early, Trustee Roberto Uranga said he has the same issues with the report every year. “I challenge everyone to do better because these numbers aren’t impressing me.”
Co-chairs of the staff equity committee Lee Douglas, a teacher, and Vice President of Human Resources Rose DelGaudio expressed positivity throughout their report, yet Board President Jeff Kellogg agreed with Uranga, saying, “We need to get the results to reflect our community. The results are unacceptable.”

While 50 percent of the student population is Hispanic, only 57 of 220 of last year’s newly hired employees were Hispanic. Meanwhile, 17 percent of LBCC students identify as Caucasian and 118 of the new hires are Caucasian.
In an effort to increase the diversity pool among applicants, especially within the less diverse departments of math and English, the faculty internship program pairs part-time teachers with expert full-time teachers to serve as mentors. Through the program, 40 percent of applicants have been hired part-time.

Through the Latino Student Success grant and coinciding with the effort to increase success in diversity, Vice President of Student Support Services Greg Peterson said LBCC is offering $100,000 in “mini grants” to Long Beach non-profit organizations from different industries to reinforce the Promise Pathways efforts. To track data associated with Latino high school completion rates, cultural competency and what practices could lead to college completion, the model will serve as an interlocking network to aid in Latino student success.

Trustee Tom Clark said the success of Latinos in the community is essential. “If we don’t educate that population, we won’t have a workforce who sees the value of a good education. It’s to our benefit to do everything we can do to engage the Hispanic community.” Later, Area 3 Trustee Mark Bowen quietly confirmed he would join Trustee Tom Clark with no intention to seek re-election in April. No details were provided.
President of the full-time teachers union Lynn Shaw said full-time teachers have not received a raise since earning a 1 percent raise in 2008. Additionally, she presented median salaries from the other nine Community Colleges in the area to support LBCC’s low pay grade. Ranking last of the nine colleges, the average LBCC teacher with a doctorate degree earns $26,622 less annually than the highest paying college in the group, she said. Entry-level teachers with a master’s degree earn $13,264 less than the average salary at the top college, Shaw said.

After carpentry technician Thomas Hamilton spoke on behalf of the college’s support staff at the last Board meeting, the Board approved the revised academic calendar to include consecutive Board-declared holidays Dec. 23-27.
In her report, Student Trustee Andrea Donado expressed students’ concerns about textbook prices. She said the Associated Student Body and the PCC Student Council are discussing plans to pass a resolution encouraging teachers to take advantage of open source, or low-cost, textbooks to alleviate some of the cost burden on students.

The next Board of Trustees meeting will be Tuesday, Dec.10 at 5 p.m. in T1100.