Lives honored at board meeting

Lives honored at board meeting

After roll call and a flag salute, Board of Trustees President David Vela requested a moment of silence for the casualties lost in the Middle East and adjourned the meeting in memory of Cindy Montañez—a friend of LACCD—and Trustee Gabriel Buelna’s daughter Gabriela Buelna, and read attributes to both.

After going through a few items on the agenda, representative reports were made.

Professor at Pierce College and AFT 1521 Faculty Guild President, James McKeever, spoke out about class cuts on campuses.

“AFT 1521 will never stand by and watch our students lose opportunities and our faculty lose jobs without a fight,” McKeever said. “Efficiency models may be best for the short-term bottom line, but are not good for growth, our students, faculty and community, or the district’s future.”

McKeever, citing class cuts at Santa Monica College, noted it was not fair to the local community which depends on the college for opportunity, and said it would not be fair to LACCD’s campuses either.

“As we approach hold-harmless, many of you are worried. We share in your concerns,” McKeever said. “Let’s work together to ensure the long-term success of our students and campuses. And last, I do want to thank President [Alfred] McQuarters for listening to the students, the faculty and the community in agreeing to cease the cuts.”

General counsel at LACCD Maribel Medina presented information about the Ralph M. Brown Act and later took time for questions.

Vice Chancellor of Workforce Development James Lancaster had a presentation on workforce education.

“Just jobs, jobs, jobs,” Vela said, after leaving time for questions. “We shouldn’t have workforce gaps with nine colleges in LA County. I know it’s tough. I actually am very impressed with all the colleges and what they are doing, filling those gaps.”

After adjourning the Committee of the Whole and before a report by the Chancellor, Vela asked that “Requests to Address the BOT Regarding Matters Not on the Agenda” be moved up so waiting students could present their comments sooner.

Brianna Vargas, a political science major at East Los Angeles College and an intern for AFT 1521, spoke about the lack of affordable housing for community college students and its impact on one’s academic journey.

“Since 2016, I have had over 11 different addresses,” Vargas said. “I’ve dealt with being kicked out, sleeping in my car, and like most students, having to live paycheck to paycheck. Today, I thank my stable living conditions to my friend’s mother, who luckily had an extra room to rent me and is willing to help me so long as I stay in school. It is unbearable to know that many students—even many in this room today—don’t have the same fortune of having things work out for them that way.”

“There is no friend’s mother’s extra room, only the daunting choice between enduring homelessness while pursuing their higher education or working full-time, stuck in the same cycle our past generations have been a part of,” Vargas added.

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