Campus Attacks Not Legally Protected
State-run colleges and universities are not liable for assaults committed on campus, a state appeals court has ruled, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
The court ruling said college students are considered adults and because they attend a college voluntarily, they have no legal basis to expect the college to protect them from campus crime.
The ruling stems from a lawsuit filed by a UCLA student who was stabbed in the neck in October 2009 by a mentally disturbed classmate. The unprovoked attack took place in a campus chemistry lab.
Guns on Campus Movement Grows
Legislation allowing concealed handguns on college campuses is gaining momentum, the Washington Post reported.
Nine states have passed such legislation. In Texas, Kansas, Arkansas, Mississippi, Oregon and Wisconsin universities can determine how the law is regulated. But Idaho, Utah and Colorado allow concealed guns on the campus regardless of the schools’ position.
At the University of Texas in Austin, according to the Post, faculty and students have challenged the campus carry law with some faculty threatening to leave the university.
State CCC Chancellor to Retire
State California Community College Chancellor Brice Harris announced on Oct. 13 his retirement effective April 2016.
In a tweeted message Harris said: “With mixed emotion I will retire in April. So lucky to have served this great system with outstanding faculty and staff in CA,” reported Inside Higher Ed.
Harris stepped in as CCC chancellor in 2012 after overseeing the Los Rios Community College District for 16 years. The CCC system serves about 2.1 million students across 113 colleges.
U.S. Department of Education Under Secretary Ted Mitchell called Harris an “extraordinary” leader who led the California system at a challenging time, Inside Higher Ed reported.
“He’s been a tireless advocate for the system and for the power of community colleges in general to change individual lives and the lives of communities. He’s been a valuable partner. I wish him well in his retirement,” Mitchell said, in a statement.
A Little Flooding Strikes Conlan Hall
It’s business as usual on Oct. 14 in Conlan Hall following two recent separate days of flooding that also forced temporary closure of the bookstore on the Ocean campus.
The first flooding occurred on Oct. 9 when a underground water weak surfaced beneath a Conlan Hall walkway City Notes reported. The flooding affected use of restroom facilities in the building forcing employees and visitors to use restrooms in adjacent buildings.
Continued issues with a water line led to a second flood in Conlan Hall on Oct. 13 that forced the closure of the bookstore. The closure prevented students from purchasing blue composition books or Scantron forms necessary for mid-term exams, City Notes reported.
Fairness in Accreditation is Now Law
Legislation that requires the California Community College chancellor to solicit feedback from stakeholders on the performance of a regional accreditor is now law.
Gov. Jerry Brown signed on Oct. 4 AB 404 authored by Assemblymember David Chiu.
Under AB 404 all feedback will be transmitted from the CCC system to the federal government to assist them in their deliberations about the effectiveness of an accreditor like the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges.
California would become a model demonstration state in this arena, said Jonathan Lightman, executive director of the Faculty Association of California Community Colleges.
Teachers Union Protests Cuts and Contracts
By Michaela Payne/ Copy Editor
American Federation of Teachers union, AFT Local 2121, picketed at Ocean campus Tuesday Oct. 20 for fair contracts and against proposed cuts to classes and programs of “as much as 26 percent,” according to protest organizers.
“It will mean a loss of faculty jobs and lack of access for students in this city,” Disabled Student Programs and Services faculty member Malaika Finkelstein said, and the administration has “forgotten that they’re here to support what we do.”
“Can’t let ‘em cut like that. It’s not OK,” English as a second language instructor Kate Frei said.
“If you give us a fair contract we won’t have to go on strike – but we will if we have to!” AFT 2121 President Tim Killikelly said over a bullhorn.
AFT 2121 plans to picket at every City College campus. “We’re doing a series of ascending actions, in impact and the numbers involved, to show the administration that we’re unified and ready to do whatever it takes to get a fair contract and defend our students – which we see as very related,” labor and community studies department chair Bill Shields said.
The college’s administration is pushing for a “technocratic wave of productivity” with more students and fewer classes, he said.
“This is a very standard corporate game plan. ‘We cut you, demand more work with less and then punish you,’” Shields said, who used to teach two classes but is now required to teach four and no longer has the help of a secretary whose job was cut.
His class sizes have grown, allowing less time with each student. “As a department chair I’m happy – we get more money for the department. As a teacher, I’m horrified,” he said. “It’s a pleasure to go deep with people and counsel them.”
ESL instructor Frei yelled, “I already have 50 students in my class!”
“The issues you’re facing here at City College are very similar to issues other faculty are facing here and around the country,” Jobs With Justice executive director Gordon Mar said. The laborer advocacy group will release a study comparing faculty wages at City College, San Francisco State and the San Francisco Art Institute on Thursday Oct. 22 in Multi-Use Building room 140 at 12:40 pm.
(Video by Bridgid Skiba/The Guardsman)