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Saturday, January 23, 2021

Faculty elects new senate president

Change is in the forecast for Pierce with new officers elected to both the Academic Senate and the Associated Students Organization, interviews underway to fill open positions of employment, and a plan to preserve all Pierce farmlands.

The senate announced the winners of its election at a meeting on April 27, Anna Bruzzese defeated incumbent Kathy Oborn in the race for Senate president. Oborn held the position for two years.

“I’m very excited and I look forward to working with the faculty. I hope to emphasize an inclusive, inviting spirit, and focus on collective goals,” Bruzzese said. “I see myself as a representative of the senate. I’m not here to serve my own interests. My goal is to represent people, not myself.”

Oborn said she supports the decision that the faculty made.

“The faculty has spoken, and this is what they want, so I’m all in,” Oborn said. “I support the process 100 percent.”

Denise Robb, chair of the Foundation for Pierce College, said a lack of protection of the campus’ farmland led her to ask the senate for support on a feasibility study.

“We’ve lost 35 acres of the farm already in the last 40 years, and it almost became a golf course a few years ago,” Robb said. “The farm is not protected, there is no deed restriction, and there is no agricultural conservation easement.”

The senate approved support of Robb in her efforts to preserve the farm, and the use of the land for agricultural and educational purposes, but the approval doesn’t commit any actions by the senate. Its purpose is intended as an endorsement to conduct the feasibility study.

“The main point is that it can’t be used for commercial private development,” Robb said. “We’re looking into the idea of saying that our farm will only be used for agriculture, education, or agricultural education, and can’t be sold for condos or shopping malls.”

Pierce President Kathleen Burke gave an update on the hiring process to fill 30 open positions at Pierce.

“30 is a lot to do in one year,” she said. “We’re already processing through interviews and I’m already about a third of the way there,” Burke said. “We’ve made nine offers and we’re waiting on information on a tenth.”

Current ASO President Alex Oloo announced the newly elected executive officers of the ASO will see David Do take over as president, Barbara Lombrano as vice president, Carlos Castaneda as club council president and Roxanne Keramati as treasurer.

There was a low voter turnout, but Oloo said that student voting at other colleges ranks lower than Pierce. He said the ASO will focus on getting students more involved in future elections.

“The turnout was just one percent,” Oloo said. “Our number of student voters is the highest in the district.”

Career center director Joanna Zimring-Towne announced to the faculty that volunteers will be needed for the annual Go Days event. The event will be held on the Tuesday and Wednesday prior to the start of fall classes, and aims to welcome new students to Pierce.

“We provide information and resources to help students be successful in their first semester,”  Zimring-Towne said. “We have workshops on how to transfer, financial aid information, how to pick a major, good study habits, and how not to get in trouble academically.”

Zimring-Towne said the event has a positive effect on incoming and current students.

“It’s a great event, our students get a lot out of it, and so do the volunteers.”

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