By Barry Saks
Student Nicholas Diaz, 21, before an audience of about 100 people of mostly students and some teachers, pleaded to the Board of Trustees on Tuesday, Nov. 13 to reconsider any possible cuts in the sheet metal program.
Diaz said the program is the only one of its kind for a radius of 150 miles and that he travels 30 miles each way each day from Los Angeles to attend classes.
When Diaz had nearly finished speaking, about a dozen students stood up, wearing black shirts with “welder” printed across them.
Another welding student, Ruben Laurente said, “Without the completion of our welding program, our chances at employment are significantly reduced.
“Many of us have made numerous sacrifices and investments into the program, such as the time spent in school, the money spent on supplies and equipment and the effort put forth into being here, fighting for what we believe in.”
While the welding students made their presence known, so did about 20 interior design students, who wore black tags, which read “interior design.” Some of the students also carried signs.
Two signs read, “No programs, no schools” and “My design and architectural ancestors built this school.”
Interior design student, Michelle Garcia, 36, who is president of the U.S. Green Building Council, a national a student club, said before the meeting she was there to defend the program from possible cuts.
She added, “I had my family. I’m still raising my children, but I want a career.”
Rosa Munoz, who is the vice president of the club said before the meeting, “The education (at LBCC) is affordable and nearby. There are private schools and universities, but I cannot afford them.”
Meanwhile, Student Trustee Jason Troia said, “As a student who’s going to transfer next year, my education is especially important to me. Yet, I have a problem placing the program that I participate in ahead of others.
“The implication is that literature is more valuable than trades or the arts. We need to avoid creating a climate where the interests of one student are placed above another.”
He then said if any programs should be cut, it should start with the Promise Pathways because it is the newest program and capital intensive. He added that if anytime it was justified to spend down the school’s reserves, it is now.
Daniel Perkins, who teaches aviation maintenance full-time and is the department head, said the program has been cut significantly over the last six to eight years with only the core maintenance program remaining.
He also claimed the data, which will be used to determine the future feasibility of the program, was under- reported by half.
Meanwhile, President Eloy Oakley said that the discontinuance process is specified in regulation, that it is an internal, academic and a professional matter, that the presentations before the trustees were not part of the process and that the role of the trustees in the process was to accept or reject his final recommendation in January.