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

Peralta Board of Trustees Brief: FabLabs, facilities, chancellor contract

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(Photo by Li Khan/The Citizen)

The Peralta Community College District (PCCD)’s governing board held its penultimate regular meeting of the year on Nov. 14.  During the three hour session were public over Peralta’s Digital Fabrication Labs, updates to the state of campus facilities, and the approval of the contract for PCCD’s new chancellor.

Public Comment

Written by Satch Alvarez

During the public comment section of the Board of Trustees meeting, fourteen people spoke in support of additional funding for Peralta’s Digital Fabrication Labs, known as the FabLabs.

The FabLabs provide a space for students, faculty, and staff to work on projects that utilize equipment including 3D printers, laser cutters, vinyl cutters, a waterjet, and an embroidery machine. There are two labs, at Laney College and College of Alameda respectively.

FabLab staff Levi Williams speaking at the board meeting on Nov 14. (Source: PCCD Youtube)

FabLab staff Levi Williams started off the public commenting by speaking to the Fab Lab’s usefulness, and its issues with funding. 

“Over the eight years since their inception, the FabLabs have run almost entirely off of grant funding. This model has proven unsustainable in the long run and the future of these resources is in jeopardy,” Williams said. 

According to Williams, other class departments borrow and utilize the FabLab’s equipment and work space. Williams also said that since 2017, over 1,400 students across 11 departments have used the Laney FabLab, while over 700 students across 16 departments have used the College of Alameda FabLab. 

“The truly special thing here is that the Peralta FabLabs are the only publicly accessible resource in the Greater Bay Area that provides this training,” Williams said.

Many of the speakers were current students, who relayed personal stories related to working at the FabLab. 

Student Darryl Brown spoke about how he was able to develop his skills by testing out tools and equipment, rather than waiting years after training or via an internship. Brown says this has helped him stand out as an applicant for jobs and college transfer applications.

Facilities Report and Third-Party Facilities Assessment 

Written by Sam O’Neil

After updates from the four college presidents, Interim Vice Chancellor of General Services, Atheria Smith, gave a presentation on the status of facilities. Smith outlined the status of the 90 Day Projects, a list of 396 maintenance and repairs across the four colleges determined to need immediate addressing.  

239 tasks have yet to be completed, 181 of which are at Laney College.

The majority of outstanding “90-Day Projects” tasks are at Laney College. Screenshot taken from facilities presentation

When Trustee Paulina Gonzalez-Brito raised concerns about the amount of issues that are still unresolved at Laney, Interim Chancellor Jannett Jackson admitted that “some of the items on this list have been identified sometimes five years ago.”

Smith also discussed ongoing maintenance tasks not on the 90-Day Projects, including a deep cleaning of campuses, upgrading fire alarms, and installing electronic keyless door systems districtwide.

A state program provided California Community Colleges with a total of $840,655,000 in order to aid them with maintenance and instructional support. PCCD was initially awarded roughly $11.5 million through this program, but the state later recalled over $6 million from those projected funds, according to Smith. 

A breakdown of the state funding for scheduled maintenance and instructional support provided to each college and the district office. Screenshot taken from facilities presentation

After the presentation, Trustee Louis Quindlen asked about the status of the Laney elevators, after a recent email sent to Laney students stated that three elevators were offline and undergoing service. Smith stated that all the elevators are operational, but that they were “tagged out” because of an issue with paying the inspection fees. When asked about repairs to the elevators in the Laney Tower building, Smith said that one elevator has been modernized while the other is functional, and they will be assessed one at a time.

On Nov. 15, a Citizen reporter confirmed that one of the two elevators in the Tower Building was marked “out of service,” with the entrance blocked by a traffic cone.

Later in the meeting, the board discussed a proposal to move forward with a third-party facilities assessment. The board voted to postpone the item until the January board meeting.

Chancellor Contract

Written by Ivan Saravia

During the meeting, the board made the final decision in confirming Tammeil Gilkerson into the role as PCCD’s next Chancellor by approving her finalized contract. The contract entails a $392, 735 annual salary, and a term lasting three and a half years beginning Jan. 4.

The board held no larger discussion regarding the contract, holding the vote and continuing on with the agenda. Gilkerson’s initial appointment was approved by the board during a closed session meeting on Oct. 31 by a 6-1 vote, with Trustee Sheweet Yohannes as the sole detractor.

When The Citizen reached out to Yohannes for comment regarding her initial vote, she stated “Based on the qualitative and quantitative data that I gathered, that we all basically had apart from the additional board interview, my interpretation led me to that response. Besides that, I’ve actually never personally worked with her. I hear amazing things, and I can’t wait to get pro-active.”

Gilkerson’s contract includes $1000 monthly pay for auto expenses, as well as funding for professional development with an executive coach, who must be agreed upon by both Gilkerson and the board. The contract also includes a stipulation that Gilkerson must provide the board with an annual “written notice from a practicing physician of her fitness for duty.”


Correction 11/30/23 10:55 PM: This article has been updated to clarify the exchange between Smith and Quindlen about the status of the Laney Elevators.

About the Contributors
Satch Alvarez, Staff Writer
Satch is entering his second semester at Laney College. Originally from the LA area, he moved with his parents to the Midwest and stayed there until receiving his engineering degree from Ohio State. After some years of working in engineering and sales, he has moved to the East Bay to spend time with family and develop himself. Now, he is excited to be a member of the Citizen to explore the field of journalism. In his leisure time, Satch likes to run, explore neighborhoods,  and cook some new stuff.
Sam O'Neil, Associate Editor
Full of ambition, this is Sam’s second semester at Laney and as Associate Editor of The Citizen. Stumbling into the journalism class in Fall 2023 thinking it was a basic news writing class, he quickly fell in love with the craft, and became obsessed with anything related to Peralta and its community. He currently holds the proud badge of attending every single PCCD Board of Trustees meeting since he started here.
Ivan Saravia, Staff Writer
Ivan Saravia was born in Berkeley and lived his whole life in San Leandro. He is a freshman at Peralta, with strong ambitions of becoming a writer. Ever since he was in elementary school, he’s had a deep fascination and desire to understand all the little nuances in language and communication. In his free time nowadays he loves writing and deciphering music, especially artists like Fiona Apple, Bob Dylan, and Lou Reed. As the child of an extremely prideful Oakland Native, it was a given at some point in his life he would end up attending an Oakland School. He’s always had a great love and appreciation for what he considers his “second home,” and would be deeply proud to serve the community of Oakland. He is beyond excited to be a part of this publication and learn as much as he can from his peers and this given opportunity.
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