By Claudia Drdul
A dozen student organizers gathered in the Multi-Use building on Feb. 4 for a public meeting that focused on student experiences and needs, after City College administrators announced a plan for drastic class cuts.
In response to a budgeting strategy that would eliminate hundreds of low-enrolled courses over the next seven years, Jennifer Worley, president of City College’s teachers’ union, AFT 2121, wrote an open letter that addressed faculty concerns.
“Rather than issuing unilateral cuts to departmental schedules, we ask you to work collaboratively with faculty and department chairs to create a fall schedule that is not solely informed by the budget, but rather maintains and expands quality programs and access for students,” President Worley said.
This semester, City College students formed their own alliance to combat what AFT 2121 calls “draconian cuts to departmental budgets.”
Student activists Marcos Cruz and Mica Jarmel-Schneder, who believe in the power of numbers, shared similar concerns among their peers. They recognized the only way for students to be heard by administration is to develop a space where students are able to voice their concerns freely and find creative solutions.
Together, they established “CCSF Students’ Rising,” a forum where students can discuss campus concerns and receive timely follow-up on the status of such issues.
“Students want change in a lot of ways so hopefully they’ll see the assembly as a good way to start that change,” Cruz said.
After days of promoting the assembly, the first meeting of “CCSF Students’ Rising” was called to order.
The first priority was dedicated to creating a master list of issues student experienced around campus, including poor building maintenance, understaffed departments, and a lack of basic resources such as free transportation. Above all, the group agreed that transparency is what City College students need most.
After the first hour of general discussion, the group broke into various focus groups to share their struggles with registration, financial aid, and other pressing issues.
Students in one group expressed their frustration with the seemingly decreasing number of staff members in the financial aid office. As a result of long waiting times and lack of resources for international students, some individuals must visit multiple advisors due to the inconsistencies in the information provided.
Following the deliberations of individual needs, students returned to a group discussion and delved into strategy and assembly goals. Those in attendance hope to identify the needs of others on campus, build a community centered around peer support and have more access to college and city money allocations.
Cruz believes the meeting served its purpose and hopes the assembly gains more visibility to the community.
“We want people to know about the space and once we have enough voices, we can start organizing around more concrete issues,” Cruz said.
The next “CCSF Students’ Rising” meeting will be held on Mar. 4, in MUB. Students interested in joining the assembly can contact Marcos Cruz at firstname.lastname@example.org