By Hannah Asuncion
Due to COVID-19, virtual campaigns are the new normal, but it isn’t the only factor we have to face this coming November. Four City College Board of Trustees seats are up for grabs, and there are various newcomers as candidates with different paths they want to take.
Now the question is, which candidate will you vote for; more specifically whose future plans will most likely improve the well-being of City College?
In order to make an impact at City College, we need to consider the most important factor: the students. Not only do the Board of Trustees have to listen to the student’s requests; they need to take action to make them happen.
Alex Randolph, who is currently on the Board of Trustees won’t be running for re-election, but he will fulfill his term, ending on December 31, 2020.
According to his statement in the online publication Medium, he has taken a lot of time to think about this huge change in his life. He has decided that “although this chapter is closing, it won’t be the end of my public service.”
“I still have so much to give back for the opportunities given to me and for the adventurous life I’ve been allowed to have so far. I can’t wait to see where my journey will take me next,” Randolph said.
It’s great to know that although Randolph’s term ends soon, he will continue serving his community. I believe that we need more people who advocate for students, just like what Randolph did.
Victor Olivieri first ran for Board of Trustees in 2018. Olivieri decided to run in this election “to try and stave off the disaster we are in now.”
“Two years later, and without much change from the Board of Trustees, I’m back at it again and hoping that this time I will be able to help steer City College in the right direction and stop the cycle of deficit spending and class cuts.”
With over 15 years of experience that included building university buildings, directing comprehensive curriculum reviews, and overseeing hundred million dollar budgets, Olivieri believes his expertise will be vital to the school.
Olivieri was once a community college student, so he understands students and he’ll “make sure our budget and decisions reflect that.” He also has a 10-point plan which revolves around putting the students first. For example, student-centered restructuring of all the academic, workforce development, and community programs.
Having someone on the Board of Trustees who empathizes with students will certainly improve the college’s interest in the long run.
Ivy Lee, also a current Board of Trustees member, is not running to serve another term. Lee, appointed Mayor London Breed in July 2018, was required to run in November 2019 due to election laws.
Lee realized although she wanted to continue serving the public interest, being a board member was out of the question due other responsibilities including working as Mayor Breed’s policy advisor and her family commitments.
Lee also realized that there isn’t enough time in the world to “work 60 hours or more a week, try to be the parent you want to be and the partner you want to be, and then also try to devote the time and energy needed to be a responsive, accessible, and fully-informed trustee.”
Geramye Teeter is a first time candidate for public office. His main reason behind running is to become a part of the solution to City College’s problems, which he believes has become more essential than ever.
“The COVID-19 Pandemic, the Budget Crisis, and the issues of Racial Injustice (just to name a few) will require unique, creative solutions from accountable and transparent leaders.” Teeter is a Queer Cisgender Black man, but he does believe that “a person’s identity and their background are only as good as their substance.”
Teeter advocates towards fighting the Climate Crisis and feels that no one in his field displays his urgency, which is why he built his candidacy around his Call to Action. He has led various teams in developing a climate policy initiative and building practices at the sustainability department at UCSF.
His goal is to have City College reach carbon neutrality for all campus buildings by 2030, which would reduce or even end the college’s budget deficit. This will allow the Board to invest in both the academic and technical programs like the Workforce Development.
“It is a program that would provide students better workplace opportunities during and after college, especially those who are the most economically vulnerable,” Teeter said. “The tools they will be able to utilize in order to become successful industrial and business leaders will be more invaluable as our city climbs out of the pandemic.”
Teeter would be such a great addition as a board member because he’s the type of person who “kills two birds with one stone.”
Alan Wong, a first time candidate, is running to guarantee that both working and immigrant families can utilize City College’s resources. Wong is currently an Education Policy Advisor for Supervisor Gordon Mar, where he helped draft and advance the Free City College legislation allowing a decade of Free City College.
“The passage of the legislation resulted in at least $15 million in funding for ‘Free City College’ each year for the next ten years and an improved program design that provides increased financial benefits for low-income and equity students.”
Wong believes that “we must not overlook marginalized communities and start meeting unaddressed needs to break the cycle of social and economic inequity.” If elected, Wong pledges to improve City College through workforce development, student equity, and fiscal oversight and transparency.
Wong is the candidate that represents working and immigrant students and families who get to attend City College which opens doors like it did for him and his family.
Jeanette Quick is a first time candidate who believes “that we need a fresh and independent voice to stabilize the College’s funding, ensure that it stays accredited, and expands to serve quality education to a diverse student body and faculty.”
Quick stands out from her fellow candidates because she is the only one who is currently a student at City College. For the past three years, she experienced firsthand how class and service cuts impacted her fellow classmates. She is also the only candidate who has 15 years of experience in financial management.
She also worked for many years on student loan reform in Congress as the Senate Banking Committee’s lead advisor on consumer protection. She understands how difficult finding financial support can be, especially since she herself had almost $200,000 in student loan debt.
“Stabilizing the financing will then allow me to focus on what I really want for City College: to be able to expand the Resource Centers for Latinx, Black, API, and LGBTA+ students; expand Free City to include books, supplies, transportation, and housing vouchers,” Quick added.
Since Quick has current experience on what it is like to be a student at City College, she understands the misrepresentation students face when it comes to the Board of Trustees.
As a first time candidate, Marie Hurabiell decided to run when she heard that City College has been running a deficit for three years and is in danger of closing. She has served on the Board of Regents of Georgetown University for many years. “It seems in the past the people elected are politicians and insiders. While it is good to have some insider perspective, this approach is clearly not working.”
“Good board governance 101 requires that a majority of board members are independent. Right now it seems no board members are independent — that is not bad in and of itself, but you NEED balance. I am completely independent and will call upon my deep experience to make City College the absolute best it can be,” Hurabiell added.
Hurabiell declined all offers of endorsements in order to focus on doing what is right to save City College, which would be to set a strong foundation for finance and also to focus on what is best for the students, while holding on to great faculty.
One of the responsibilities that Hurabiell will take if elected as a Board Member would be “hiring a Chancellor who will lead CCSF with vision, financial responsibility and creativity to create a healthy learning environment to propel students to their best outcomes — whether they are to get a degree, learn a new skill, make a career change or continue learning later in life.”
This is Anita Martinez’s first time running, she is running at this specific time because it has come to her attention along with faculty, students, retired faculty and administrators how concerned they all are regarding the current state of City College.
“My campaign is not about me. It is about using what I know in service to make the college better for students and faculty. It is about revitalizing City College, not continuing to downsize it,” Martinez said. “It is about keeping City College a community college, a college of and for the community. This is the only office I will ever seek, and my commitment is 100% to City College; I will vote only for what is best for City College.”
Her commitment to conversations about systemic racism and Ethnic Studies eventually developed into a 40-year career with the goal of improving “student access and success in higher education, especially for Black and Brown students.” Martinez was invited to speak at the City College Ethnic Studies Teach-In celebrating Black History month in 2019.
With 28 years worth of experience at City College, which included 15 years of teaching in both credit and noncredit classes, and roles including Interim Vice Chancellor of Instruction and the Dean of Students, Martinez brings on a set of experiences, knowledge, and wisdom which could immediately help the Board of Trustees.
She believes critical issues like budget oversight, selection of a permanent chancellor, improving outcomes for Black and Brown students, how to diversify the college, coping with the pandemic, and planning for accreditation, can all be addressed with the right expertise.
Martinez is the representation students need on the Board of Trustees in order to support the battle for social justice. I believe that Martinez can be the one to push for the educational needs for Black and Brown students. She can help lead City College’s fight against systemic racism.
Vice President of the Board of Trustees Tom Temprano is up for reelection since he was elected back in 2016. He feels as though many challenges had to be overcome these last four years, but he was able to fulfill various achievements like securing full funding for the Free City Program for the next 10 years.
Temprano believes that it’s important to have people on the Board who have been fighting for City College the last four years. He worked closely with stakeholders at City Hall and has real experience in addressing the biggest issues on campus.
The biggest priorities according to Temprano would be creating new workforce programs while supporting the current workforce programs and also supporting people and their families who are unemployed because of COVID-19. He wants to be “finding new ways to support marginalized students. Creating the city dream center, we still need to do more for students who have base and systemic barriers, prioritizing that.”
Jess Nguyen, a student organizer for City College Collective, City College Student Says, and the Harvey Milk Club believes that the current board isn’t doing what they need to be doing especially since City College students have open demands.
“Bring accountability, they want to be politicians just to get their name out and use a political stepping stone. We don’t have people who don’t have experience. Trustees aren’t listening. Students aren’t being taken seriously,” Nguyen said.
Nguyen believes that we should connect more people together since it isn’t too late to join or be active. We can educate ourselves about these issues because they won’t get any better unless we start to participate.
“Spreading joy and resources, speaking up for marganilzed voices, we can change our school for the better. We are the voice, if we don’t speak up. If we make one or two changes, ccsf will be better off now. Build a better community and society.”
Students have to start realizing that we are the “stakeholders that mean the most” when it comes to the well-being of the college. We should be the ones being prioritized because without the students there wouldn’t be a City College to begin with. We must use our voices and speak up about all these issues around us. We can still learn how to spread awareness about our misrepresentation to the Board of Trustees.