By Brandon Richardson
A semi-circle of smiling faces lined the front of T1100 as the Board of Trustees welcomed 55 new employees and teachers hired beginning in Spring 2014 at the start of their meeting at the LAC Tuesday, Oct. 28.
Following introductions of the new hires, student trustee David Root briefly described a growing problem on campus with theft, citing a recent incident where 16 bicycles were stolen on the PCC, Thursday, Oct. 16. Root wanted the issue brought to the board’s attention and questioned what steps were being taken to counteract this growing trend. However, he did not place blame solely on the school and campus security, saying, “Students have to be proactive with their security” as well.
Root’s statements were followed up by the approval of minutes from previous meetings in which there was a dispute between Trustee President Jeff Kellogg and Sunny Zia, Area 3 Trustee. Zia felt comments she made regarding Irma Archuleta joining the board as Area 2 representative should be added to the previous minutes verbatim.
After agreement from Area 5 representative, Virginia Baxter, the comments were added to the minutes. The first topic of discussion was the introduction of a third board goal, meant to promote more interaction between the board and the employees and teachers of both campuses. In light of recent salary discussions with teachers, the Board members indicated recognized a lack of trust and low morale and hope this goal will start to build both back up.
Karen Kane, academic senate president, said, “We’re all teachers here. We’re role models and people look to us and we need to have respect for what we do. How can we do that without building relationships with our coworkers?” Douglas Otto, Board Vice President and trustee of Area 4, responded to Kane’s comments and said, “I want you to hold our feet to the fire to make sure we follow through with this.” The Board approved the goal unanimously.
The approval of certain purchase orders came next. Zia lead a heated discussion saying there was not enough information provided to vote on approval. “We need to know how the money is being spent, where it’s going and what is the source. The public has a right to know and shouldn’t have to go through exercising their right to ask for public records. It’s a disservice to us as a governing board and to the public,” Zia said.
Kellogg was the first to respond to what he called “allegations of unethical behavior and hidden spending.” Kellogg said, “I am insulted by that comment. To sit there and make those types of allegations about this Board that are unfounded and inappropriate are insulting to your colleagues here.”
The sentiment was echoed by Otto, and the purchase orders were eventually approved by the rest of the board. Zia abstained from the vote. Next were updates from ASB Vice President Lauren Christine Ho. She described the success of the Friday, Oct. 17, Beverly O’Neill Leadership Conference, the appointment of Robert Hewitt as the representative of athletics on ASB, the final position to be filled, and highlighted the homecoming tailgate event which begins at 3 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 15, followed by the game against El Camino at 6 p.m.
After Ho, an Athletics Department Student Success presentation was shown that demonstrated how hard student athletes at LBCC work to maintain their academics in order to remain eligible. Also, the Department congratulated the many successes of LBCC teams during the Fall season with football being ranked seventh in the nation and men’s waterpolo potentially first. Every trustee commended the athletics staff and coaches for all the work they do for students on and off the field.
Lastly, updates on the numerous construction projects on both campuses were given. The most notable projects are the 57,000 square foot Building V on the LAC, scheduled for completion during Summer 2015, the LAC storm water runoff by the end of 2014, retrofitting of Building C during Spring 2016 and PCC Buildings AA and BB this Fall. Buildings AA and BB will be occupied in Summer 2015.
The next Board of Trustees meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 11 at 5 p.m. in T1100 on the LAC.