By Renee Bartlett-Webber
City College is at a turning point in its history. The school is currently facing declining enrollment, enhanced accreditation monitoring, teacher layoffs and program consolidations. Amidst these challenges, there are now three new faces on the Board of Trustees: Anita Martinez, Susan Solomon and Vick Van Chung were elected as a unit on a platform to roll back some administrative decisions.
As candidates, they campaigned to rehire faculty who were laid off and emphasized restoring the English program. “We’re sad to see that City College has slowly descended into a two-year college for transfer students only, away from the community college that I was always intended to be,” Vice President Martinez said in a video featuring the three candidates.
As vice president of the board, Martinez brings 28 years of experience across three community colleges. She admits that, like many new students, she will face a learning curve to get up to speed as this is her first time serving on a board. “I welcome input from everybody, all the campus constituencies, but the people I welcome input [from] the most are the students, because I was a teacher. We exist as a college for the students.” Martinez encourages students to reach out to her at email@example.com and (415) 239-3921.
Trustee Solomon has been an active teacher and union organizer for many years and just recently retired as president of United Educators of San Francisco. She is passionate about facilitating participatory governance to ensure that the college functions for the students. “We were elected to do a job, and so we are responsible to our stakeholders” Solomon said.
Board member Chung served as student trustee from 2020-2021. As a child of refugees, Chung is passionate about helping low-income, marginalized communities of color. They have been a student at and advocate for City College for the past four years. “While I hope students see me as an additional student voice on the board, more importantly, I hope my experience encourages more students to get involved at the college and deeply engage with the resources available to them.”
The three members shared some of their goals with The Guardsman:
- Participatory Governance: Trustee Chung has “met with Dr. Martin weekly all in an effort to build collegial trust and effectiveness amongst board members and our administration.” Trustee Solomon wants to “make sure that constituent voices are heard and the participatory governance system is actually working to its full capacity. There can be a difference between making space for voices and letting those voices inform the work.”
- Enrollment & Registration: Martinez is excited that a Request for Proposal (RFP) is going out to hire a firm who will address registration issues. “We have to make sure that we have the curriculum in a college that will attract the students and we have to have the services that will help the students do everything they need to register and start their classes.”
- Budget: Both Martinez and Solomon are on the budget committee. “It makes more sense to align a budget to goals than align goals to a budget,” said Solomon.
- Accreditation: Martinez is looking forward to meeting with the visiting team of the accreditation commission in the fall. She remains optimistic that this will provide a positive outcome.
- Facilities: As chair of the Facilities Board, Solomon hopes to get back some of the custodians that were laid off last year. “It really just feels like there aren’t enough now to take care of the grounds in the buildings.”
While the newest members of the board have expressed their goals for City College, only time will tell how their intentions will come to fruition. With just a few weeks on the board, many at the college anxiously await how these trustees will put their campaign promises into action.