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

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Peralta Board of Trustees Brief 3/12: Women’s basketball win, class modality discussions, new EEO plan

Peralta+Board+of+Trustees+Brief+3%2F12%3A+Women%E2%80%99s+basketball+win%2C+class+modality+discussions%2C+new+EEO+plan

The Peralta Community College District (PCCD) Board of Trustees held a regular meeting March 12 at district offices in Oakland. Discussions touched on student retention and the trade-offs associated with a shift to distance learning, as well as incoming changes to PCCD’s Equal Employment Opportunity plan.

Laney Women’s Basketball scores a win

During public comment, Laney College Athletic Director John Beam and Laney Women’s Basketball Coach Ramaundo Vaughn spoke jointly on the achievements of the Laney Women’s Basketball Team while the six players stood behind them.

The team recently earned their third Bay Valley Conference (BVC) championship win in a row, with point guard Jada Hunter earning recognition as BVC’s Most Valuable Player and the California Community College Athletic Association’s Player of the Year for Northern California.

“We went into [the game against] Fresno City College on Saturday night against 15 people, thinking that they were gonna wear us down,” Vaughn said. Laney won against Fresno City College 66-62.

New enrollment data opens discussion on class modality

PCCD’s Associate Vice Chancellor of Planning & Institutional Research, Francisco Herrera, gave a presentation that opened a discussion on the merits and compromises of distance learning, which expanded during the COVID-19 pandemic to meet the needs of students in lockdown.

Herrera was “happy to show we are making improvements,” in student enrollment, crediting Peralta’s “Fall is Free” campaign.

Herrera’s report showed a 12% increase in full-time students enrolled at PCCD over the last three academic years. While almost all demographics surveyed saw increased enrollment, trustees noted that high school-aged dual-enrollment students and undocumented students were exceptions to this trend.

Herrera praised an “admirable” trend towards more in-person and hybrid classes in recent academic years. “We see that students are retaining better when that’s the case,” he said.

Merritt College President, David Johnson, pointed out that according to his college’s independent research, in-person and synchronous online students at Merritt pass classes at similar rates – 72.3% and 71.7% respectively – while asynchronous online students underperform them, at 67.3%.

Johnson said he was surprised his data showed that out of 100 California community colleges studied, only seven offered more online classes than Merritt does.

The difference in outcome for asynchronous students “begs the question of whether we should recalibrate and perhaps have a goal of reducing the number of online [classes],” Johnson said.

Still, he emphasized that careful consideration should be given to the accessibility of online learning: “For many students, it is working.”

Contract for new Acting CoA President approved

The resignation of Acting College of Alameda (CoA) President Diana Bajrami, along with the resignation of Maurice Jones, Acting Vice President of Instruction, was approved. The board approved a $65,655 contract to Pamela Luster, a former Mesa College President who retired in 2022, to serve out the rest of Bajrami’s term through June 30 while the district searches for a permanent president.

Luster also serves on the Board of Directors for the California Community College Baccalaureate Association, and is one of the Equity Avengers, a trio of education leaders which includes PCCD Chancellor Tammeil Gilkerson and Compton College President Keith Curry.

15 faculty receive tenure

15 faculty members across the district received tenure and were recognized for their achievements at the meeting. A reception was held in the office prior to the trustee meeting.

“Tenure is not merely a title,” Board President Paulina Gonzalez-Brito said during their speech at the reception. “It is a symbol of the trust and confidence that Peralta places in you, the faculty.”

Consent Calendar

The board moved to approve the consent calendar, is a list of agenda items that the board approves in one motion without discussion.

A release of funds in the amount of $84,628.04 to WE Lyons Construction Company for the completion of the third and final stage of the ongoing waterproofing project at Laney College was approved. This amount was the final payment to WE Lyons for the waterproofing project, representing a roughly 2.5% retaining amount of the $3,259,942.60 contract. The work was completed on Sep. 30, 2023.

Trustees also approved an amendment to an agreement with Jensen Hughes, Inc., extending a contract to replace the Laney fire alarm system by 1,668 days – about four and a half years – and to increase compensation by $166,420.00

Trustees form CCCT election committee
The board reviewed prospective nominees for the upcoming California Community College Trustee (CCCT) Board elections in April.

The CCCT board is run by the California College League of California, a non-profit that “support[s] locally elected trustees and community college CEOs to serve their students and communities by advocating on their behalf at the state and federal levels,” according to their website. CCCT Board members make education policy recommendations to “relevant state-level boards and commissions.”

Rather than nominate candidates for the April CCCT Board election, two trustees volunteered to form a committee to identify a slate of recommended candidates.

Trustee Louis Quindlen expressed discomfort with choosing between what he considered to be an indistinguishable group of candidates.

“I sat through the online presentations, I’ve read all the biographies and everything,” Quindlen said. “I still have no idea whether one candidate is better than another, and I’m kind of reluctant to just vote for incumbents because they’re incumbents.”

The recommendations will be made by Quindlen and Trustee Bill Withrow at the next regular board meeting.

Trustees question budget for EEO analysis

PCCD Director of Employee Relations Andrea Epps presented changes to Peralta’s Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) plan to the trustees, developed to comply with new California regulations.

Peralta’s Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) plan defines itself as “a written document in which a District’s workforce is analyzed and specific plans and procedures are set forth for ensuring equal employment opportunity.”

All community college districts in California are required by law to have an EEO plan.

According to Epps, this is the first time the district will have to complete its own availability analysis, which is an assessment of how many qualified individuals of underrepresented demographics are available for federal and state job openings.

More groups will also be required for the first time to complete EEO training, including trustees.

Epps said no additional funding has been allocated for trustees to hire consultants in order to complete the required analyses.

Trustee Sheweet Yohannes raised concerns about the board’s ability to complete the EEO requirements. “[The state chancellor’s office] is asking for additional work that was not part of our budget, and this is in order to serve us and them as well,” Yohannes said.

“I do think that for people who are not data people it’s going to be challenging,” Epps conceded. “I’ve sat through all of the training – I am not a data person. […] It seemed like a pretty heavy lift.”

“I teach data analytics – I know!” Yohannes remarked. “My students have a tough time, and they’re in that whole [data analytics] program. It’s going to take some time.”

The next regular board of trustees meeting will be held March 26.

About the Contributor
Desmond Meagley
Desmond Meagley, Staff Writer
Desmond Meagley (any/all) got hir start in journalism at the YR Media newsroom (formerly known as Youth Radio) in 2015, writing about public health, education, and gender until hir departure in 2019. Hir work has appeared in The SF Chronicle, The Daily Cal, Teen Vogue, KQED, KCBS and more. Xe has also been honored with awards from The Society of Professional Journalists NorCal, Public Radio News Directors Inc., and The National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association (of which Desmond is a proud member.) Through hir work at The Citizen Desmond hopes to tell compelling stories about students, as well as to increase transparency and student participation throughout the Peralta Community College District. When outside of class, xe is usually drawing, cooking, or herding their numerous household pets.
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