By Eliza de la Flor
Colorful sentiments for LBCC teachers, librarians and counselors were reflected in fliers and red clothes at the Board of Trustees meeting on Thursday, May 27, in T1100 at the LAC.
The red’s significance was explained in opening public comments by Lynn Shaw, an electrical professor and president of the full-time faculty union, who said LBCC employees were showing solidarity facing the tentative contract agreement between union and college negotiators.
Shaw also said stipends are not being offered fairly to all teachers as per contract and a grievance is in progress. She questioned the Board about the cost of LBCC’s institutional memberships.
President Eloy Oakley opened the agenda by recognizing Student Trustee Andrea Donado, 28, a gender studies major, with a resolution of the Board as her term ends. He thanked her “for her tenacious efforts to represent the diverse student body.
“She has strongly, and I emphasize strongly, fought for the rights of students.”
Attention was called to Board Vice President Tom Clark for his assistance as Donado’s mentor.
Clark replied, “My pleasure. She has been an asset to the Board. She has not always agreed with us, but she has done it in a very professional, intelligent way.”
Later, Donado thanked the Board and administration, citing Clark as “a great mentor” and said she will continue to be involved with students’ rights in a new position. She received a standing ovation.
An informational session on SB1440, a transfer degree program with the CSU system, was presented by Ruben Page, the coordinator at the Transfer and Career Center, Lorraine Blouin, a counseling department chair, and Ross Miyashiro, the dean of enrollment services.
The presentation included information from the Chancellor’s Office in Sacramento and said LBCC is one of the first Community Colleges in California to implement the transfer-degree system and is still a leader.
The Board unanimously passed all actions under the Academic Senate section of the agenda.
Trustee Doug Otto, who teleconferenced from New York, addressed Shaw’s comments regarding the cost of institutional memberships. Otto said, “It is important to know, especially after the comments of Dr. Shaw, that memberships are not paid for out of the fund. These are organizations that move our student successes forward.”
Regarding finances, Oakley said what LBCC had to work with from the governor’s office “is not a bad budget, but it’s not as great as we would like it to be.”
Oakley said Donado had brought to his attention the matter of students perhaps feeling intimidated to exercise their free speech on campus. He said, “We encourage our students to participate in civic engagement, to voice their concerns before this Board. To not feel any concern that your voice would not be welcomed.”
Board President Jeff Kellogg apologized and excused himself as he needed to exit before the meeting’s final comments. Clark ran the remainder of the meeting.
The meeting’s initial comments returned during closing public comments, when several teachers stood and expressed dissatisfaction with the current offer for their salary increases.
Coleen Sterritt, an art professor, said that in an analysis of employees salaries at California Community Colleges Oakley’s salary was ranked seventh and the median faculty salary was ranked 67th. Sterritt said, “We deserve a substantial performance increase.” When she finished talking, many people stood, applauding and holding signs printed with messages like, “LBCC Faculty Say Raise Us From The Bottom!”
Christiane Woerner, an ESL professor, said interim vice presidents of Academic Affairs have violated their term limits more than once. There will be interviews with three candidates for the position, currently held by Marilyn Brock, on Thursday, May 29. Warner urged the Board to follow proper procedure with term limits going forward.
Many of the speakers were followed by standing ovations.
Student Trustee for Fall 2014 to Spring 2015 David Root, 48, an auto body collision and repair major, spoke positively during the meeting of student participation in downtown Long Beach’s Pride parade, a successful Spring Sing, and upcoming awards banquets.
Asked after the meeting about his reactions, Root said, “It went very well. I liked the Donado recognition, she deserves it. Our common goal is the students.”