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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Graduations, resignations and more: PCCD Trustees wrap up school year at 5/28 meeting

A+cap+at+the+Laney+College+commencement+ceremony+on+May+24+reads+in+Spanish%2C+This+is+for+my+mom+who+gave+me+everything.+%28Photo%3A+Marcus+Creel%2FPCCD%29
A cap at the Laney College commencement ceremony on May 24 reads in Spanish, “This is for my mom who gave me everything.” (Photo: Marcus Creel/PCCD)

The Peralta Community College District (PCCD) Board of Trustees convened on May 28 to bid a fond farewell to the school year.

As the meeting opened with the board’s routine reading of a statement of cooperation, Area 4 Trustee Nicky González Yuen stopped to reflect on the board’s progress towards the statement’s goals, which include building trust and following ethical governance.

“You know, we’ve been reading this statement of cooperation for a while, and I just want to remind people that this board has come a long way,” Yuen noted. “We didn’t always get along so well, and we’ve really worked hard to figure it out.”

 

District Academic Senate ‘previews’ summer activities

Matthew Goldstein, President of the District Academic Senate (DAS), was brief in his regular opening remarks for the meeting, focusing mainly on what he called “a preview of summer activities.”

The DAS will be sending a number of curriculum-involved faculty to Pasadena over the summer for a short training done by the California State Senate, to assist educators in keeping up to date with new legislation, Goldstein said.

 

PFT rep reflects on school year

Jeff Sanceri, President of the Peralta Federation of Teachers, spoke during public comment to make a quick analysis of the year. He began his comments by reflecting on the challenges that many teachers have faced over the course of the school year, including building closures and elevator malfunctions at multiple campuses.

The Laney College campus was closed several times this semester for electrical maintenance and PG&E’s shutoff, along with College of Alameda shutting down to allow the New Transportation Technology Center to perform electrical work on campus.

“But in the wake of our district-wide struggle,” Sanceri said, “our spring semester has been marked by transparency, open communication, and a general sense of optimism as to what is on the horizon.”

He closed his comments by congratulating Peralta’s new graduates, adding, “May your next job be a union one.”

 

College president reports

In their routine reports to the board, the college presidents took time to reflect on their college’s graduation ceremonies that have taken place from the previous week.

BCC valedictorian wins scholarship

Berkeley City College (BCC) President Denise Richardson highlighted this year’s valedictorian Derek Carver, for winning the UC Berkeley Regents’ and Chancellor’s Scholarship.

CoA appoints new president

College of Alameda (CoA) Acting President Pamela Luster announced the appointment of new CoA President Melanie Dixon.

“The college is very excited and hopeful in terms of inviting President-Elect Dixon,” Luster said. Dixon is set to step into the role by July 1.

Luster also announced that CoA will be walking in the upcoming City of Alameda Fourth of July Parade.

Laney to implement new Small Business Resource Center

Rudy Besikof, President of Laney College, reported that Laney awarded 300 more degrees this school year compared to last year. He also announced a new plan to implement a Laney College Small Business Resource Center in the fall.

“One story that really came and kind of touched all of us at Laney was the reduction in the number of small businesses in the community,” Besikof said. “One of the things we decided we wanted to do about it was create a business incubator on our campus.”

According to Besikof, the center would include resources on starting and maintaining a small business, host speakers, and be a “living lab”.

Merritt honors longtime cafeteria employees

Merritt College President David Johnson took the opportunity to spotlight the departure of June and Kim Kim, a married couple who has worked the past 17 years at Merritt College working at Fresh and Natural, the cafeteria for the campus.

 

Inclusive graduations celebrate Peralta diversity

PCCD Chancellor Tammeil Gilkerson highlighted several inclusivity and equity centered graduation events that she attended across PCCD during graduation week.

Among these were the Lavender Graduation Ceremony on May 15, a graduation ceremony that is held to celebrate the achievements for LGBTQIA+ students at Peralta. She also attended the Raíces Ceremony for Hispanic graduates and the district-wide African and African American Graduation.

PHOTOS: PERALTA GRADUATIONS

Courtesy of the Peralta Colleges SmugMug

Gilkerson also mentioned that she recently attended the Dr. William “Bill” Riley “Swing Fore Student Success” Golf Tournament on May 20, which she said raised over $100,000.

 

From the consent calendar

The “consent calendar” is a group of items on the meeting’s agenda that is typically approved in one motion without discussion. Trustees may pull items from the consent calendar to discuss and vote individually.

This week’s consent calendar was unanimously approved with zero items pulled for discussion.

Academics

First Floor Group LLC received $265,000 in independent consultant agreements to support dual enrollment and Guided Pathways programs at BCC and Merritt. BCC received the services for $165,000 and Merritt received the services for $100,000.

Facilities & Construction: ‘Petroleum hydrocarbons’ found in soil

Craig Communications, Inc received a $55,440 agreement to provide special services for regulatory environmental communications and project management. This would provide funds for a project which focuses on an Alameda County Department of Environmental Health directive, after petroleum hydrocarbons were found under the District’s Administrative Office and the Laney College athletic fields, according to the agreement.

Wickman Development and Construction received a combined $302,342 in change orders for the continued construction of the new Child Development Center at Merritt College. The first contract is for $66,836 in order to increase the scope of services for construction to include additional backfill and trenching that was caused by an unforeseen existing obstruction, when trying to run telecommunications for the new facility.

The other $235,506 covers an extension of the project for an additional 30 days. According to a description of the agenda item, the extension would cover the replacement of a discontinued heat pump for the HVAC system.

Hires, resignations, and more

Lily Espinoza was officially appointed as Vice President of Student Services at Laney College effective June 3. She will receive an annual salary of $196,060.

Ashish Sahni was appointed Vice President of Administrative Services at Laney College at a $196,060 annual salary. His appointment will be effective from June 11 to June 30, 2026.

The resignation of former PCCD Executive Director of Public Safety Tim Thomas was ratified effective May 14. Thomas was put on administrative leave earlier this year while facing battery charges related to an incident near district offices.

Kuniko Hay retired from Vice President of Instruction at Berkeley City College, effective July 1. She has worked as VP of Instruction since 2018.

The resignation of Sean Brooks, Berkeley City College’s Vice President of Administrative Services, was approved effective June 19. He has accepted a similar position at Las Positas College starting June 27.

About the Contributor
Romi Bales
Romi Bales, Staff Writer.
Romi Bales (they/them) is a Bay Area transplant, originally from San Diego. They are a first-year staff writer with The Citizen and have worked as an editor and Editor in Chief for several academic publications including Humble Pie Literary Magazine, The Production Online Newspaper, and Inscribe Writing and Visual Anthology. They received a Bachelor of the Arts degree in Writing and Literature from the California College of the Arts in 2020. In their free time, Romi enjoys reading and writing queer fiction novels, researching Irish culture, and memorizing information about sustainable farming practices.
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