Wi-Fi, cafeteria continue to frustrate

Pierce College faculty and staff articulated diverse opinions about the school’s Wi-Fi connectivity, and its lack of cafeteria vendors.

Attitudes ranged from frustration to indifference at the Academic Senate meeting on Oct. 20, in BUS 3200. While Wi-Fi has worked in the the Library / Learning Crossroads building, it has been difficult to connect to elsewhere on campus.

“It’s a very complicated, frustrating issue for everybody that’s dependent on technology,” Chemistry department chair Isidore Goodman said.

Despite the issue’s complexity, Goodman offered a solution to the problem.

“Put pressure on your dean to communicate with IT,” Goodman said. “Make sure that IT is aware of these issues.”

Computer applications and office technologies professor and Academic Senate treasurer Joe Perret was less inclined towards Goodman’s “peaceful fight for connectivity.” Instead, he urged people to express their frustration to get a resolution.

Senators were not much happier about the state of the Library/Learning Crossroads cafeteria. However, they didn’t have a solution for the cafeteria that has had one vendor since it opened.

“There was a study done one year ago with a possibility of a single provider district-wide,” Perret said. “They have to come back to the president with recommendations this semester.”

A single, district-wide vendor could spell trouble for some of the Los Angeles Community College District (LACCD) schools, academic senate president Kathy Oborn said.

“If they do bring in this vendor then there’s too much competition,” Oborn said. “And then the schools that have the program will lose the revenue from selling food to the students. Therefore, they will die.”

Oborn was not optimistic that the cafeteria would be filled with new vendors in the near future.

“So yes, our new beautiful cafeteria will probably be sitting there for some years until we get to a different place,” Oborn said.

Profitability has been an issue in sourcing new cafeteria vendors, Perret said.

“I think it is one of those insolvable problems,” Perret said. “The difficulty in solving the problem is that nobody can come in here and provide the service and make money.”

Pierce lost almost $2 million in 2009 in an unrelated issue when it failed to meet its Faculty Obligation Numbers (FON), Perret said.

FON was designed to balance each LACCD’s schools numbers of full-time and part-time faculty.  Pierce hired too many part-time faculty, and was fined 75 thousand dollars per full-time faculty member that wasn’t hired.

“The penalty is almost exactly the difference between a full-time faculty member and a part-time faculty member,” Perret said.

Pierce has made hiring a priority so it doesn’t get fined again, Perret said.

“In order to prevent colleges from over utilizing part-time faculty, they set up a fixed ratio,” Perret said. “Two thirds has to be full-time faculty. They don’t want the majority of the faculty to be part-time.”

The district will hire 157 new faculty, and divide them between the nine LACCD schools, Perret said.

“We have a $1.8 million debt from not meeting it one year,” Perret said. “I think it goes back to 2009, and they just haven’t sent us a bill.”

The next Academic Senate meeting is on Monday, Nov. 3, at 2:15 p.m. in the Great Hall.


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