College Council inconsistent

Illustration by Maria Salvador, Oct. 23, 2013
Illustration by Maria Salvador, Oct. 23, 2013

The Ralph M. Brown Act of 1953 was passed in California to guarantee the public’s right to the access and notice of meetings held by any legislative body.

This includes any legislative or advisory body that is involved in Pierce’s shared governance system such as the Academic Senate, Associated Students Organization and the Pierce College Council. (PCC)

The first line of the PCC’s preamble, as seen on its Web page, states:

“Shared governance has at its core the ideals of inquiry, discourse, equity, authenticity, and service. Shared governance is not something that is achieved but a quality that a community college strives for daily.”

This excerpt is ironic because the open, authentic and idealistic tone contradicts the resistance the Roundup has encountered in the past.

On April 25, Roundup photographer Dayana Manriquez was asked to stop shooting the PCC meeting by the chair, Lyn Clark.

Roundup reporter Erika Correa was asked to cease her audio recording of the meeting.

Campus police were called and the reporters were ordered to leave.

The Roundup had been operating under the assumption that the PCC adheres to the Brown Act, but it states in its charter:

“Because the PCC is not formed by statute, it is not subject to the Brown Act.”

If the PCC strives for quality shared governance it must adjust its policy to allow for photography, audio and video recording at their meetings.

At another PCC meeting on May 23, Roundup reporters were requested to leave after Manriquez once again tried to take photos.

Clark requested that the Roundup cease all photography and recording and has on multiple occasions said that the PCC is not a Brown Act body, as has Pierce President Kathleen Burke.

Los Angeles Valley College Council received legal counsel from the district during their May 27, 2003 meeting.

Martine Magna Esq., associate general counsel for the LACCD, is recorded in the minutes saying, “In 1994 the LACCD Board of Trustees created the College Councils, and therefore the College Council is required to comply with all provisions of the Brown Act.”

A democracy requires the free flow of information from governing bodies to its constituents and The Roundup will continue to report on PCC meetings using photography, audio and video recording.