By Barry Saks
Before an audience of about 120 people, the LBCC Board of Trustees on Wednesday, Jan. 24, voted 4-1 in favor of accepting the recommendation by college President Eloy Oakley to discontinue 11 programs.
The four trustees voting in favor were Doug Otto, Tom Clark, Roberto Uranga and Jeff Kellogg, with Mark Bowen opposed. The advisory vote by Student Trustee Jason Troia also was against the historic cuts.
The motion included two amendments. The first amendment stated that “to the extent possible all students enrolled in any of the programs to be discontinued will either be taught out at LBCC or sent to programs, which offer similar programs with articulation with LBCC.” The second amendment stated that “discontinuance of the diagnostic medical imaging program will be extended until at least July 2014, and the vice presidents and staff will have an opportunity to work with the medical community in the Long Beach area to see if there is a way to not discontinue the program.”
The 11 programs to be discontinued are auto body, aviation maintenance, audio production, interior design, welding, auto mechanics, real estate, photography, air conditioning and refrigeration, diesel mechanics and carpentry.
When Uranga made the second amendment to exclude the diagnostic medical imaging program, he argued that students already in the program should be allowed to complete it, that there is a 97.9 percent rate of success, one of the highest success rates he has seen, and that full-time equivalency rate is higher than the college-wide rate.
Before the meeting, Paul deJung, a retired vocational teacher, said, “I see a great loss in the future for young people. I cannot understand why they are cutting some of the best vocational programs.”
Troia, before an audience of about 70 people and the Board the night before, argued that the discontinuance program was unnecessary. He said Cerritos College instead of introducing cuts will be spending down its reserves by $2 million, Citrus College will be spending down its reserves by $4.2 million, and that Cypress College and Fullerton College are waiting until July 1 to make a budget decisions.
Troia said a lack of transparency was noticed during the discontinuance process.
Troia said, “It seems our Board of Trustees is so fearful of public controversy that our default position is one of secrecy.” He also claimed that previous ASB had “improperly funded the Measure E campaign.”
Uranga, Clark and Oakley responded to Troia. Uranga said Troia’s remarks were unjust, unfair and misinformed. Uranga insisted students were involved and pointed out that the trustees had opened the meetings to allow everyone to speak, including students.
Clark reminded Troia that there is one previous meeting that went as late as 9:30 p.m. because of the large number of speakers. Oakley said he has made it clear to every student trustee, including Troia, that if they have any concerns, he was there to hear those concerns. Oakley also insisted the previous ASB funding of the Measure E campaign was done legally and responsibly.