Peralta Community College District's Only Student-Run Publication
Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Abigail McMurry, Acting President of Associated Students of Laney College, spoke against last-minute class cancellations at the May 14 Board of Trustees meeting.
Class cancellations, basic needs, and 'flying pigs' at 5/14 meeting for PCCD Trustees
Ian Waters, News Editor • June 1, 2024
Student Trustee Natasha Masand believes her voice has the power to impact the PCCD community.
Student Trustee Natasha Masand finds her voice
Isabelly Sabô Barbosa, Social Media Editor • March 19, 2024
Archives
Melanie Dixon appointed CoA President
Melanie Dixon appointed CoA President
After two years of acting appointments, the College of Alameda will finally fill the presidency with a permanent hire this summer
Ivan Saravia, Staff Writer • May 23, 2024
College of Alameda jazz professor Glen Pearson demonstrates his musical talent on his classroom piano. Hes one of the newest members of the Count Basie Orchestra, a historic 18-piece jazz ensemble that took home a Grammy this year.
The humble Grammy-winning pianist leading CoA’s music program
Desmond Meagley, Staff Writer • March 4, 2024
Archives

    Part-timers issue taken to board

    Trustees also hear from ASLC about funds taken from students’ budget

    The Peralta College Board of Trustees meeting on Sept. 9 began after clapping from the crowd due to the late start. The meeting dealt with the district budget, student success, and issues surrounding the contract rehiring pool for part-timers.
    ASLC Vice President Rose Gelin also spoke about the funds established by the student body organization being taken away March 11 by an approval from the Board of Trustees. “The fund was removed without the knowledge of the ASLC, and we are asking for the fund to be back into our account,” she said.
    Peralta Association for African American Affairs (PAAAA) President Herbert Kitchen addressed funds being distributed to the Peralta Accountability for Student Success, which specifically targets Peralta’s achievement gap.
    PAAAA submitted its district-wide proposal to Chancellor Jose M. Ortiz on June 30, which outlined the program and research. The chancellor’s response, given Sept. 6 by email, mentioned that more details will be given “along this line” in the next couple of weeks.
    PAAAA officials seek the status of its proposal and how the final decision will better serve the students. “The chain of events that now seem to be unfolding, related to past funds and regard to the achievement gap, appear to be disingenuous and disrespectful to the time PAAAA members and key district staff have spent to bring attention to this matter,” said Kitchen.
    “With recent decisions, apparently now college presidents are to use monies left to implement whatever they decide. Where is the continuity? Where is the oversight?”
    ASLC Senator Marlene Hurd discussed a survey that she and the ASLC conducted that addressed second-hand smoke on the Merritt College campus. She said 70 percent of Merritt students still encounter second-hand smoke on campus; 73 percent are bothered by it; 80 percent would like to see more enforcement on the smoke policy; 76 percent think a verbal warning would be the most effective way to inform smokers; and 77 percent would like to see a student group at Merritt College to address the issue.
    Matthew Goldstein, president of the Peralta Federation of Teachers, introduced the matter of Laney’s administration’s decision to not rehire part-timers Cynthia Mahabir and Matthew Hubbard. Both instructors represent 25 years of teaching in the district. Both teachers were given a form letter from the Laney administration in the summer stating they could not access their Peralta.edu accounts and would not be given assignments this fall.
    Janell Hampton, who teaches at Laney and is a labor organizer with the PFT, spoke out for her colleagues who were sent form letters to not rehire them. “Faculty members were told that assessments that led to passing data, fail rates, and other concepts of student success, that are not in the areas of due process agreed upon in the contract, were depended on to making these decisions to send these letters. And that is unacceptable.”
    Mahabir approached the podium, introduced herself and acknowledged the trustees, and still considers herself the PFT’s elected Part-Time Faculty Representative. She spoke for the rights of part-time teachers and the administration’s contractual requirements.
    Her focus was on job security and re-employment of part-timers, which her survey showed make up 70 percent of the district’s teachers. In 2006, she and members of the PFT negotiated the rehire pool, base load assignments, and provisions.
    Mahabir said she was one of the first people to enter and test the rehire pool. However, after teaching in the spring and taking summer off and studying new findings in the sociology field, she returned to read a letter dated July 9 to return her keys to the Tower building because she had no summer or fall courses. The letter was addressed “Mr. Mahabir,” and said that “while we appreciate the contributions you have made in the sociology department, this decision was made after considering how faculty best fit into the environment of teaching and learning at Laney College, and based on our desire to assign classes to instructors who best fit the wide range of learning needs reflected in our student body.”
    After Mahabir read that part of the letter, the audience began to hiss and boo because of the wording to find the “best fit.”
    Mahabir read her credentials as a scholar, which included publishing a book on Black Power, writing for the British Journal of Criminology, teaching at San Jose State University, graduating with a B.A. at Howard University, and earning a master’s degree at University California Berkeley.
    Mahabir also said she was selected by the American Sociological Association, and was one of 12 members of a task force of community college sociology faculty in the country, out of 1,200 community colleges.
    It was after Mahabir spoke that some of her former students came to the podium one by one to say how she inspired them, challenged them, and delivered an education they would not forget.
    Cecilia Dugas, now a student at Mills College majoring in sociology, said, “This professor was instrumental in my success in the Peralta College District.” Dugas also remarked that without Mahabir’s Sociology 5 Minority Groups class, Laney students and especially those of color would be denied an “eye-opening” education.
    Before the meeting, Matthew Hubbard said he was proud of the turnout, including more than 60 teachers and students. “But I’m also proud that people have come to support the contract for all part-time teachers.”
    He also said he moved two blocks from Laney so that he could be near his “primary place of work.” With a B.A. and postgraduate degree from California State University, Hayward, Hubbard teaches statistics at Mills College.
    He taught mathematics at Laney for 11 years, and although he says being an adjunct teacher is a hard way of making a living, “being in the preferred rehiring pool has given me stability.”
    Hubbard said he had earned his way into the rehiring pool, which was why he moved close to Laney in 2008. At age 58, and getting half his medical benefits from the district, Hubbard said going without healthcare at his age is no longer an option. “I am told I do not fit, though somehow I did fit for 32 semesters before this.”
    PFT Grievance Officer Jennifer Shanoski said, “We’re here asking Dr. Webb to immediately settle this grievance.” It was after she spoke that the room chanted “Justice for teachers!” and left the meeting before hearing the Trustees’ response. “We cannot take action on items not on the agenda,” said Trustee Abel Guillén.

    About the Contributor
    In the fall of 2019, The Laney Tower rebranded as The Citizen and launched a new website. These stories were ported over from the old Laney Tower website, but byline metadata was lost in the port. However, many of these stories credit the authors in the text of the story. Some articles may also suffer from formatting issues. Future archival efforts may fix these issues.  
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