By Francisco Delgadillo and Carly Cheung
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Associate Vice Chancellor Torrance Bynum presented a report on City College’s recent class cuts, at a special meeting of the Joint City, School District, and City College Select Committee, held Jan. 31. Chancellor Mark Rocha did not attend the meeting.
The report was given as a response to the committee’s early January request for detailed information regarding the impact of the cuts on students and the community at large. The Joint Select Committee deals with issues of mutual interest that impact The City, School District, and City College.
All the members of the Joint Select Committee in attendance expressed concern that the Chancellor’s office didn’t present any detailed demographic or budgetary impact data leaving The City, Board of Trustees, students, staff, and the public confused and alarmed about not only class cuts in the Spring semester but also the future of City College.
The brief presentation only cited City College’s mission statement and a few data points about achievements by African American and Latinx students, but without the context that members of the committee wanted to see. Bynum offered no cross-referenceable demographic or budgetary data, nor concrete or actionable answers to the many questions that members of the committee raised.
When District 10 Supervisor Shamann Walton asked him to talk about “the impacts of class cuts on students of color, students with disabilities, seniors,” Bynum turned to one of the other six City College administrators in attendance for help, saying that he didn’t have the data. The other members of the administration also didn’t have any answers for District 1 Supervisor Sandra Lee Fewer regarding the success gap over time across different student demographics and departments.
“Without any data, it’s very hard to actually look how we close the gap if we don’t really know what the gap is,” Fewer said after Bynum failed to provide any specifics. Responding to the lack of any detailed information in the report, Board of Education Commissioner Alison Collins asked, “How are you making decisions?” and later remarked City College “is part of the public trust” and that it’s imperative that decision-making is transparent.
During another round of questions, School of Social Sciences, Behavioral Sciences, Ethnic Studies, and Social Justice Dean Jill Yee clarified that one of the reasons they don’t have data is because the cuts affected the current semester which only started recently. She added that it’s their understanding that “there’s been no significant impact.”