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Corsairs sink Brahmas

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Brahmas faced the Corsairs “aye-to-aye” on Wednesday afternoon as the Pierce College women’s water polo team hosted Santa Monica College.

The game was close, but ended in a 9-4 loss against SMC.

Pierce head coach Judi Terhar said that despite having a lot of new faces, she thinks they’ve been doing well.

“Of all my years of coaching, this is my absolute favorite team,” Terhar said. “We only have a few players that have played for a long time and the others are brand new. It’s very easy for the better players to be frustrated with the beginners, but all they’ve done is helped each other, encouraged each other, and I’m just so proud of that.”

The first quarter started rough, with the Corsairs utility player Precelia Acosta scoring the first goal of the game.

However, Brahmas fought back with team captain Maria Sandoghdar scoring the next goal. 

Following Sandoghdar’s goal, the opposing team responded back with scoring two more goals from SMC players Alejandra Hill and Jacqueline Hernandez respectively, which left the Corsairs in the lead 3-1 in the first quarter.

Driver Mariana Villareal Guerra said she still feels like the team has been improving despite their loss.

“I think we did pretty good,” Villareal said. “We’re doing better and better every time we play, so I’m pretty happy. I’m happy to be here playing for the school.”

Assistant coach Mircea Pitariu also said that because the team is newer, every game feels like a learning experience.

“Every single game, I think of it more like lessons that we can learn and we can keep and move on to get even better in the future,” Pitariu said.

There were a handful of attempted goals by both teams in the second quarter, but only the Corsairs were successful, ending the quarter with a 4-1 lead.

The Brahmas threatened during the third quarter, with offensive player Allison Schamber scoring the team’s second goal. 

The Corsairs widened their lead, with player Deisy Mozqueda successfully scoring, giving Santa Monica a 5-2 lead.

Shortly after, player Ariel Oliveau tried to keep the gap close by scoring another point for the Brahmas, but the Corsairs were unrelenting with another goal made by Victoria Gijon.

The quarter ended with SMC still in the lead.

The air was tense during the last quarter as Pierce tried to catch up with SMC. But the Corsairs continued to score three more times putting them at a 9-3 lead.

The Brahmas showed resilience though, with Sandoghdar upping their score.

No other goals were scored for the rest of the game, and Pierce ended up losing 9-4.

This was the Brahmas’ first home game in almost two years at the Steven E. Schofield Aquatic Center. 

Terhar said that COVID-19 has been tough and that it changed the perspective for some of the players.

“It was very hard on the team as a whole to have spent a year and a half without being in the water,” Terhar said. “I think people have learned that no one wants to live sitting in a room by themselves without human interaction. The lessons that we’ve learned are just to be grateful for everything, including being grateful that we have a team.”

The Brahmas will be facing the Monarchs at Los Angeles Valley College on Oct. 27 at 4:30 p.m.

Growing his legacy

Only few coaches can say they have led a program to the top by building it from scratch.

For head soccer coach Adolfo Perez, it was no exception. He was the first coach when the program was started in 2001.

On Oct. 12, Perez got his 300th win as the team beat Cuesta College 4-1.

Perez said it was a great achievement.

“Absolutely incredible. When you look at how difficult it is to win a game, especially in the conference that we are in. To be able to say that we won 300, I can’t even put it into words,” Perez said.

Perez said that getting the 300th win had a special feeling since wins 100 and 200 came on the road.

For the 100th win, the game was at Citrus. To win number 200, the team played at Bakersfield.

Perez said he was happy that his family could have witnessed win 300 at John Shepard Stadium.

“It was great that they were at the game. They can’t attend many because of their hectic schedules, but to be able to do it at home meant much more,” Perez said.

Perez said that despite the lack of resources, one must love what they do and not make excuses.

Perez said the accolade came at the right time and despite the losses and ties they have, they are pleased to have a tough non-conference schedule.

During the pandemic, there were no sports in the Los Angeles Community District.

Perez said it was challenging because he couldn’t see his players.

“I’m also a club soccer coach. And in the club after three months, we were training outside of LA County and we were able to do it with restrictions. At Pierce it was more than a year and a half without any contact. We couldn’t even see them at the park for some pizza,” Perez said.

Perez said the online transition was tough because there is a huge difference from being on the field to just practicing online.

“Soccer is a field sport. So when you have to do your practices through Zoom and when you really don’t have anything to look forward to, it is tough,” Perez said.

Perez mentioned how he first heard of the Pierce job.

“I coached at Mission College in ‘95 and ‘96. We were successful because we reached the playoffs. At the end of the ‘96 season, they made the decision to cut athletics,” Perez said. I was only coaching locally until I heard through the grapevine that Pierce was offering women’s soccer.”

Perez said that there were a lot of qualified candidates and the finalists were him and his coach in college.

He said that the support from former athletic director Bob Lyons was huge especially in the ‘01 season. 

“He took a chance at me because of my energy. I was very young at that time and he said I think I found the right person that will take us to the promise land,” Perez said. 

Perez said it was unbelievable, because he was hired in March of ‘01 and immediately began recruiting for that season.

He said that they began putting flyers and one of the girls contacted them after seeing the flyer in the bathroom stall.

The soccer program also made final four appearances in 2003, ‘05, ‘10 and ‘12. 

In their second appearance in 2005, the team played Long Beach. Perez had fond memories of that game.

“We went to penalty kicks. It was our best opportunity since we were playing at home. We went a player down and in the shootout we were up 3-1. They changed goalkeepers and we missed the next three and they beat us 4-3,” Perez said.

The soccer program in 2003 had an interesting anecdote. One day it was raining and Perez said they had to canoe because the field was flooded.

“It had rained like never before. I don’t believe in days off. I told the girls we needed to do some exercise. There was a storage facility that had canoes. What’s crazy is that we made news on ESPN. Someone got a hold of what we were doing and we had news stations and helicopters were flying over us,” Perez said. 

Perez said he is blessed to be coaching his 20th season.

“I never thought I would be here for 20 years. To see how successful the program has been. I’m a huge believer in journeys. I remember getting offered a Division one job in 2004 and I just didn’t feel the vibe at that time,” Perez said. “So good thing I stayed with the program.”

Perez is hopeful that the program reaches the playoffs and is looking forward to the remaining games. He’s hopeful that the team can have success in the years to come.

Perez also mentioned that it will be incredible if the school would add men’s soccer as he would be able to coach both.

Perez said he wants to be remembered as a coach who cared for his players.

“I try to see what other people may not. I want to be remembered as someone who cared about them in all aspects, not just on the field,” Perez said.

Athletic Director Susan Armenta said Perez does a great job in leading the program.

“He does a great job in doing whatever it takes to be successful,” Armenta said. “I hope we keep moving forward. The ladies are doing well and our coach is a great leader.”

Former athletic director Bob Lofrano is proud of Perez reaching this milestone.

“That’s what happens when you have continuity. Programs tend to do better. It is a reflection of what Adolfo represents to the program and the school,” Lofrano said.

Defender Julianna Euyoque said she sees Perez as a father figure to the team.

“Not many coaches can say that they have 300 wins. He is a straightforward person and doesn’t sugar coat things. He is going to be blunt and tell you straight forward.  Sometimes you may be like, I didn’t want to hear that, but it’s what you needed to hear,” Euyoque said. 

Perez dedicated this achievement to his late mother.

“She passed away in February,” Perez said. “I wish she was here to see it, but I know she saw it from up there.” 

Athletics going by the vaccine playbook

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Making the cut in sports at Pierce College will no longer just be about a player’s raw talent, speed or how dynamic they are on the field, but a question of whether they’re vaccinated or test negative for COVID-19. 

The Los Angeles Community College District Board of Trustees passed Board Policy 2900 on Sept. 1, which will require Pierce faculty, staff and students who plan to be on campus to show proof of full vaccination status or a weekly negative COVID-19 test starting on Oct. 18.

However, the school gave an extension. The new deadline for faculty is Nov. 3, while for students is Nov. 19.

Also, as a condition for employment, the policy will require proof of vaccination or weekly testing for those who have been approved for an exemption.

Pierce’s mandate comes on the heels of Los Angeles County’s vaccine mandate to cooperate with local health officials in taking measures to prevent and control the spread of COVID-19 among its student body.

Pierce has partnered with Biocept that will handle the on-site baseline testing for COVID-19, and Cleared4 a monitoring service that the district will use to ensure faculty, staff and students are following the new protocols and provide contact trace reporting.

Director of Athletics Susan Armenta spoke about the importance for athletes to follow the guidelines.

“I think it’s an important mandate especially with athletics because they play high contact sports like football, basketball and soccer,” Armenta said. “It’s important to be vaccinated. It makes it a lot easier and safer for everyone involved.”

Exemptions to the vaccine mandate are available with the district, and requests can be made online. Athletes opting out of vaccinations can do so through the district’s online vaccine exemption forms. 

However, for the unvaccinated, weekly testing will be required. 

Athletes who fail to submit baseline tests will not be allowed to play until vaccination status or a negative test has been verified through Cleared4.  

Pierce College Health Center Assistant Loralyn Frederick explained how an athlete would qualify for an exemption.

“There are exemptions for medical and religious reasons but they must be approved by the district human resources,” Frederick said. “Baseline testing applies to both vaccinated and unvaccinated; the only difference is that the unvaccinated will need to do weekly testing.”

However, Armenta said that athletes with an exemption would need to take time out of their personal schedule to take care of their weekly requirements.

“Unvaccinated students or those who miss their weekly baseline testing with our athletic department will need to get it on their own and provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test before they can play,” Armenta said.

The fight to stop the spread of COVID-19 has ushered in a new era in college sports that will be measured on the vaccinated and frequent baseline testing for coaches, staff and athletes and not just games won. 

Volleyball athlete Lana Blourtchi said that because the players come into contact with a lot of people, it’s important for them to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“The testing is really good in keeping all the athletes safe and helping stop the spread of COVID-19, because we see each other everyday in practice and we play other school teams twice a week, whether it’s them coming here or us traveling to them,”  Blourtchi said. 

Ana Rangel, an outside hitter on the volleyball team, said head coach Edison Zhou cares for their safety.

“He keeps encouraging all of us to get our vaccinations and to make sure that we test weekly,”  Rangel said. “If it wasn’t for the school pushing us to get vaccinated, I probably wouldn’t, but I feel safer now after getting my first shot.”

Old Trapper’s Lodge removal still in progress

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Walking around campus, new and returning students may not be aware of the controversial art statues located on the west side of campus, depicting Native Americans as blood-thirsty fighters, kidnapping white women.

In 1988, a collection of American-Western folk art was donated to Pierce College. At the time, a board of trustees at Pierce voted to accept the collection from the John Ehn family trust. 

Now, three decades later, both faculty and students have been weighing in to remove these pieces of art that no longer represent their worldview.

Professor James McKeever was one of the first faculty members spearheading the issue, bringing attention to the offensiveness they represent to the Native American community and the social impact they have on campus life.

“Nine years ago, a student brought these statues to my attention, and I didn’t know they existed,” McKeever said. “At the time, I had students in a social justice group called Blatigenous, which stands for Black, Latino, and Indigenous. Together we walked over to see the statues and agreed that they needed to be removed.”

The collection was created by John Ehn (1897-1981), an animal trapper from Michigan who settled in California in 1941. He brought tales and myths of the Old West with him. 

The sculptures of cowboys and Indians stood in front of his Old Trapper’s Lodge motel located in Burbank. When Burbank Airport was expanded, the family was forced to donate the art, containing narratives that by today’s social standards are considered racist and offensive.  

“Throughout the years, we’ve had a few roadblocks in removing them, the first being that they’re considered a state landmark,” McKeever said. “Second, there was no one who knew how we got the statues, nor could find an official agreement to the terms of keeping them. At times I would bring attention to these statues at the academic senate and Pierce College Council meetings, yet there was nothing being done. We recently had someone who’s interested and wants to take the statues.”

Brian Walsh, a history professor at Pierce, has been another faculty member pushing for the removal of the Old Trapper’s Lodge statues from campus. He and McKeever have long awaited seeing the removal process.

“The summer of 2020, and the protests, you see statues coming down without waiting for the paperwork,” Walsh said. “It seems that now the winds are on our back, now’s the time these things need to go. I know the board recently approved donating them to the Valley Relics Museum, so we just want to make sure the process goes as smoothly as possible.” 

Pierce’s interim president, Aracely Aguiar, was able to shed better light on the issue in regards to the removal.

“We’re moving forward, everything seems to be in full alignment in terms of beginning the removal,” Aguiar said. “The process has been approved by the family and the whole transition team. I hate to say that it’s still in progress, but we’re in a different phase, and a much better phase, in terms of getting the exhibit transferred.”

McKeever said that he hopes he’ll be notified when the removal takes place.

“I would like to invite the students who fought so hard nine years ago, back to campus to witness the removal and be part of that,” McKeever said.

Reparations begin for baseball field

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A gopher peaks his head out of his hole behind home plate to get a glimpse of some sun.

Little does he know this will be one of his last days to do it.

Pierce College’s interim president Ara Aguiar said that the school is planning to use some instructional grants to repair the sports fields, including the baseball field.

“We’re looking at utilizing some of those funds to update the fields and really give them a new face, and you know, move the gophers,” said Aguiar jokingly.

Head coach Bill Picketts said that repairs to the field were well needed due to baseball’s unique circumstances.

“I’m not downplaying any other sport, but baseball is a sport that you have to have a field,” Picketts said. “You got to have bullpens, you got to have cages, you’ve got to have a field of practice and we had none of that and it was extremely difficult.”

The order was put in place in August, but was expedited due to Pierce’s connections with Hollywood, said  Athletic Director Susan Armenta.

“Right now I think it’s been partly because of our partnerships with our vendors and the production company that have been using our facilities for rental for production.”

The show is about a college baseball turning the team around, which includes the field, leading to it’s constant and consistent improvements until done. 

“It’s about a college program that is kind of in disarray, and the field isn’t in very good shape, and through an influx of money the field starts getting better and better as the season progresses and so it kind of worked out nice for us because, as you know our field wasn’t in great shape.” said Picketts.

Picketts added he is pretty sure refurbishment began this quickly because of the production needs.

“I don’t think it would have happened, just for normal reasons, administrative issues, and taking it to the board to get approved, stuff like that.” Picketts said. “So we kind of skipped that process because the movie wanted to start shooting immediately and so they took care of some things.”

Not only does the mending of the field come at an appropriate time for the team, as they get ready for the season, but it also allows the team to play home games. 

Former Athletic Director Bob Lofrano said it was not possible in 2020. 

“Before the pandemic, the baseball team played 20 games,” Lofrano said. “There were 10 [at home] and 10 [away], the pandemic hit everything shut down. They did not play any home games because the field was unsafe.”

Lofrano said that he did not feel the school’s reasoning for why the field being unsafe was an adequate explanation.

“You’re going to hear the powers that be say that oh it’s in bad shape because of the pandemic and that’s wrong. [They’re saying] the pandemics corrupted the pipes for watering, I thought the pandemic was on humans, not on waterpipes.”

Lofrano also said he is confident the field would not have been finished anywhere close to the beginning of the season. 

“I saw an email that was put out this week about the film shoot because [the film company] is going to work on the field,” Lofrano said. “They got money, they’re going to get it to look good, like they need to. But the person who put that out said that [the field’s condition] is because of the pandemic. I call bullshit on that when you can’t play home games because the field’s not safe before the pandemic. That’s the facts.”

This also led to a dip in recruitment as some players don’t want to play on a team without a home field, said Picketts. 

“I didn’t recruit as much as I have in the past,” Picketts said. “The fact that the field was not in very good shape, it was hard to get people to come out. I actually lost some recruits because of the field. I lost a few players that I thought we’re going to return. A lot of it had to do with the field.”

Picketts is confident that with the help of the refurbishment and good team chemistry there will be a good season ahead of them. 

“I’m actually pleasantly surprised with the numbers that we have. We have a mix that I’m actually a little bit excited about,” Picketts said. “And our pitching is a little better than I thought. It’s a long way to go, and things change from now until Jan. 28 or 29 when we open up, but I have to say that I am pleasantly surprised with what I have so far.”

 

It’s open your books season, Brahmas

Correction: One of  sources on the original article was named Luna Dahler. It now says the correct name, Luna von Dahlern.

The Pierce College Library Learning Crossroads is turning the page from its pandemic chapter and has reopened its doors.

The library is now open Mondays to Thursdays from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Fridays 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.  

Library Department Chair and Systems Librarian Lauren Saslow said that she is eager to have some sense of normalcy.

“I’m looking forward to going back to normal,” Saslow said. “It’s just a matter of keeping our services going and keeping us afloat during this time.”    

With the reopening, precautions have been added and librarians and staff are working on implementing them. 

Saslow said that there is social distancing between cubby holes and half of the chairs in the library are gone. Masks are required when students enter the library and certain areas have been closed off such as the computer lab and the study break rooms. 

Philosophy major Luis Cervantes said that he’s excited to return to campus. 

“It gives you that feeling that school’s really returning, not like semi-returning,” Cervantes said. “I actually thought that the library was going to be closed, so I’m pretty glad that it’s opened.” 

First year student Luna von Dahlern said that she wasn’t able to see the library when she did her student orientation. 

“I think it’s gorgeous, and I think it’s great that it’s reopened,” Dahler said. “It’s also really comforting.”  

While some students are looking forward to being in the library again, Saslow said that there were still a few concerns. According to Saslow, new computer technicians have not been hired, and the break rooms don’t have proper ventilation installed, which students have previously complained about. 

Professor Michael Habata, Cataloging Librarian, said the library prioritized making digital resources available for students during the closure. 

“Since print books were not available since we were closed, the way that you accessed the library website focused much more on ebooks and the databases,” Habata said.

Returning student Nelson Solares said that online resources were a long time coming, but also recognizes the pitfalls. 

“What I don’t like about the heavier reliance on online technology is that it makes it easier for students to not come on campus and not engage,” Solares said. 

Despite all the modernization, not many students visit the library and the library is unable to open their services to students on the weekends.

 “We don’t have funding for it to be opened on the weekends,” Saslow said. “In the past we have asked ASO to pay for the weekends. We didn’t do that this time around. We’re still trying to see how busy we’re going to be.”

 According to Saslow, there is no set maximum for students occupied because of the low turnout rate, but it’s set at 50 percent occupancy.  

For some students, the library is a place for comfort and to do their daily grind of work.

Animal Science major Alexis Destiny M. Singleton has said that the library is one of her favorite places on campus.

 “I’m very antisocial so I don’t like to be around big groups of people,” Singleton said. “I love to read [at the library].”

In Solares’ case, the library was a way to forget about everything going on in the world.

“I know that the more I come into the library, the more I generally feel like we’re opening up and the pandemic is not a thing, even if it’s just an illusion,” Solares said.

Pierce Graduation Office still behind on certificates

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It is a satisfying feeling to finish a degree or certificate and move on to the next aspect of your life. 

But last summer, students were delayed in getting necessary documents to transfer. 

This issue has caused concern among students, as many of them are trapped in limbo until the applications have been looked over and approved. 

Student Hannah Hotchkiss says that she is starting to feel the pressure of not having the documents she needs.

“I’m freaking out,” Hotchkiss said. “UCLA is emailing me saying they can’t advance my enrollment without my official transcript being sent there, and I ordered it maybe a month and a half ago from today. Probably actually longer than that.”

According to Pierce College Registrar Lorena Lopez, the delay is in part due to COVID-19, combined with three members of the review staff leaving since February.

Lopez added that the departures leave only two people left to do the work.

“In reality I have 1.5 evaluators,” Lopez said, referring to herself and one union member who can dedicate 40 percent of their time to union duties. 

Interim Vice-President of Student Affairs Donna-Mae Villanueva said that many students are reaching out about not receiving their documents. 

“Students email me because they’re frustrated about the fact that they have not yet received their transcripts,” Villanueva said. “So because they don’t know the process and who to reach out to, they are looking for a VP. That would be me.” 

Despite these obstacles, Transfer Center Director Sunday Salter said that she thinks things are moving in the right direction.

“The Vice President has got it pushed through that we are going to replace the evaluators who left so at least we’ll have a full staff again this year so that’s good,” Salter said.

Salter added that although bringing in a new staff is good, she only sees it as the first step.

“Step two is I went ahead and reached out to the University of California Office of the President to ask if they could do a data share with us.”

This data transfer would allow Pierce to know which students got into what UC schools, as well as which students attended which schools. 

“They do a data share where they’ll share back with us in January and say okay, all these students apply from Pierce College to all of these UCs and these majors,” Salter said. “But what they don’t do is a second data share to tell us who got in.” 

Salter took the initiative of sending an email to start the process to not just get the records of who has applied, but also who got in. According to Salter, knowing who got into what school gives the transfer center a roadmap to which transcripts need to be done first according to either the semester or quarter system. 

Interim President Ara Aguiar said extra time has been taken to bring in the new hires, as well as more investment in the current staff being able to accomplish their goals.

“We have provided overtime to expedite the process,” Aguiar said. “We are making sure we are asking other individuals. In other words, expand the amount of people.”

 

Take a deep breadth

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The state of California is implementing new requirements in both the CSU and the California Community Colleges systems. 

The introduction of bills AB1040 and AB1460 require all college students to take at least one three-unit ethnic studies course before graduation.

Ethnic studies courses generally explore the dynamic, oppression and endowment that impact the four racial and ethnic groups accounting for two thirds of California’s population: Native Americans and Indigenous, African Americans, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and Latina/Latino/Latinx Americans (including Chicano and Mexican Americans).

AB1460
Bill AB1460 is the mandate published for the CSU system requiring students of any of the 23 CSU campuses to take an ethnic studies course prior to graduating the university.

California state governor Gavin Newsom passed the bill on Aug. 17, 2021. The bill will take into effect starting in the 2021-22 academic year for students planning to graduate and obtain degrees by the 2024-25 academic year.

The bill would be integrated in the CSU GE Breadth Pattern as a separate area from Area D: Social and Behavioral Sciences; instead labeled as GE category F, it will produce a consecutive reduction of a 3-unit course in Area D of the GE pattern. 

AB1040
Bill AB1040 is a California Community Colleges requirement stating that an ethnic studies course be taken before transfering to a CSU. This requirement would enable eligibility for students to meet the ethnic studies GE graduation requirements for a CSU before attending and graduating the university.

The bill would also direct each community college district in California to require students to complete at least one 3-unit ethnic studies course in order to obtain an associate degree.

Interim Vice President of Academic Affairs Donna Mae Villanueva said AB1040 has not yet been approved for implementation and that the process takes a while for approval.

“The legislation says that it would be in place by fall 2022-23 so our process requires us to start now,” Villanueva said. “Faculty have to write the curriculum and do their research, then it has to go through the curriculum committee and then through technician review. Once it gets approved, it goes to the Board of Trustees, then it goes to the state.”


Academic Senate President Barbara Anderson said that although the AB1040 bill has not been approved, the bill provides courses and opportunities for students to complete the CSU coursework before transfer.

“Many if not all of our students end up at a CSU,” Anderson said. “We, as community colleges, have the responsibility to provide the curriculum and all the key areas to support transfer. That is a big part of our mission.”

Anderson said that California community colleges are working towards development within curriculums.

“We’re still working to expand our curriculum to address the need so that every student, even though they don’t have to have it to graduate Pierce, then need it to graduate from a CSU,” Anderson said. “So we absolutely need to provide that to students. Even though the letter of the law didn’t pass for community colleges, the faculty and leaders of community colleges still want students to have that knowledge and breadth of experience in that course that’s offered. It’s unique to those ethnic studies courses.”

Sophomore Ashley Yakoub said she believes the bill would be a great addition to coursework within community colleges, including Pierce.

“I’m glad they’re doing it actually,” Yakoub said. “There’s a lot of people that take courses and they kind of go through it as their checklist. Once you take an ethnic studies course, it opens up your perspective on it.”

Yakoub said the idea of taking an ethnic studies course had already been put into action within her family’s education.

“My sister took a Chicano Studies course before she transferred to CSUN,” Yakoub said. “It really just made her more aware of the whole culture and how it is so popular in Los Angeles.”

Yakoub said she encourages the idea of learning about ethnic and racial groups.

“I think we should all learn it and get to know each other,” Yakoub said. “I feel like we’re so involved with ourselves, that taking an ethnic studies course really just opens up your perspective. It’s kind of a no-brainer for me.”

Anderson said she believes it is important that faculty are the drivers of the curriculum and that students influence that drive.

“I think I see the shift happening,” Anderson said. “When you’re in graduate school, I think you’ll see a lot more opportunity to explore and learn from, and not from such a limited lens. It’s really important that we open up that lens, and make sure that the fabric of the American experience is not just a single perspective or thread or color because it’s not. It’s so much more beautiful when you see everything woven together and are able to see the different stories and experiences, and value them.”


Articulation Officer and Counselor Cristina Rodriguez said she believes it is important for students and faculty on the Pierce campus, as well as the Los Angeles community, to be conscious of the diversity of the Pierce community.

“This can be a very positive way to move in a different direction and to learn more about other people,” Rodriguez said. “I think this is very important for students to be more aware of issues within different ethnic groups and to have a better understanding of ethnic groups, the histories and the current issues and challenges that they face.”

LACCD Chancellor Francisco Rodriguez, an advocate and sponsor of the AB1040 bill, sent out a letter expressing the approval process of AB1040. Within the letter, he wrote:

“The lack of a diverse curriculum and a racially diverse faculty are still major issues in our state’s educational system,” Chancellor Francisco Rodriguez said. “Without honest conversations about power, privilege, what we teach in our classrooms, who teaches our students, and our own leadership, we run the risk of further perpetuating the very inequalities and disparities that we see to disrupt and improve.”

Rush on over and join the club

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The Associated Students Organization hosted their annual Club Rush event on Sept. 14 and 15 over Zoom.

 New ASO president Qais Azizi said that he wants to advocate for students expressing themselves.

“I want Pierce College to be a place where students can really be comfortable about who they are,” Azizi said.

Since Club Rush was hosted digitally, Azizi explained how ASO advisors directed students to the clubs they wanted to participate in and speak with the club representatives. 

“We followed the procedures we took last semester,” Azizi said. “We had our Zoom call, and one of our advisors shared a screen with a flyer of all the clubs that were available on campus. We had separate breakout rooms for each club and it worked pretty flawlessly.” 

At the event, each club presented their agendas and their missions. The Child Development Club specialized in educating diverse topics revolving around psychology, child care and career skills in education.

Child Development Club president Vincent Denoga discussed how he was able to make sure people involved in his club would know about future virtual meetings, gatherings, discussions and more. 

“We’re one of the few clubs who have our own Canvas shell, and we’re able to use our own platform to easily message our club advisor,” Denoga said. “We could organize stuff on our calendar. We’re lucky enough to have such an active advisor.” 

Koreatown Youth and Community Center have actually started off with communicating online with students and the communities they’re involved in. One of the club’s specialists, Aimee Newton, said that trying to recruit club members has been a bit challenging.

 “We actually started this work remotely, and it had been tricky since we wanted to go collect observations on campus and recruit students, but students have obviously been going through a lot,” Newton said.

According to Newton, the club’s focus is on working with three community colleges, including Pierce College, on a coalition against second-hand smoke.   

The clubs on campus have learned to balance this new way of connecting online. They’ve also merged that practice to form new goals of reaching more people who will be regularly updated on club activities and have more flexibility within their schedule. 

According to Azizi, this year’s ASO Club Rush had better attendance and engagement from students.

As the campus has been opened, Azizi spoke briefly about the plans ASO and the LACCD Board has in mind for this year to make sure more students feel welcomed on campus.  

“It’s still in the works so I don’t want to go into further detail about it, but there’s also board policy 2900, where there’s going to be an opportunity for a medical or religious exemption for the COVID vaccination,” Azizi said.

Azizi said that there will be three options for students to choose from: yes, no and rather not say. Students who respond yes will have to verify their vaccination by submitting their vaccine card. If students respond no or rather not say, regular COVID testing will have to be done to keep track of the possible spread and keep the campus safe.

Azizi also said that students are now required to take a daily symptom check survey from the company, Clear Four/Biotech. 

In addition, Azizi encourages more students to join a club this year and motivate themselves to have a positive mindset.

“It’s been really hard on all of us to balance the work and life schedule,” Azizi said. “One thing I could say, although it does sound cliche, is to keep persevering. I would encourage students to join a club or involve themselves in student government.”

For more information about the clubs involved, please contact ASO adviser Lara L. Conrady and ASO co-adviser Geremy Mason.