Town Hall Covers an Array of Community Concerns

By Claudia Drdul

Staff Writer

City College’s Board of Trustees (BOT) and interim Chancellor Diana Gonzales held a Town Hall on April 7 to answer community questions about how the college will move forward under her guidance. 

The topics of the town hall ranged from concerns about students receiving support during the COVID-19 crisis, to the future of City College’s programs amidst a continuous budget crisis. Over 50 community members submitted their comments to a City College affiliated email prior to the meeting as public comment was open until 30 minutes before it began. 

Members of City College’s Board of Trustees and newly appointed Interim Chancellor Diana Gonzales discuss current matters regarding students and COVID-19 at a City College town hall via Zoom on April 7, 2020.

Former Chancellor Mark Rocha’s abrupt decision to leave the college was brought into question by several public commenters, however, the college has taken a firm line on that matter stating that they “will not be able to share any additional information regarding the departure” of Chancellor Rocha. All the while a main concern of public commenters was how the college plans to display transparency and accountability under the next chancellor. 

As for the conclusion of the spring 2020 semester, the board determined a commencement ceremony would not be held for May graduates, however, they ask that students help them to figure out if an alternative ceremony would be beneficial. 

It was also announced that summer 2020 classes were to be held online and that the college will determine if fall 2020 courses will meet the same fate by June. However, the board anticipates the recent reductions in class offerings and programs may continue even further due to reductions from governmental budgets. 

Several comments submitted highlighted the necessity of the Older Adults Education Program (OLAD) which experienced a massive reduction last semester. A question and answer list which was posted online said “as we’ve said before, the college must prioritize offering coursework that helps students graduate and transfer, and to close the achievement gap for students of color” but “the question of older adult Learning will need to be revisited once a new, long-term Interim Chancellor is in place this coming July.”

To conclude the meeting, the college announced their plans to recruit a new Public Safety Chief since the departure of Interim Public Safety Chief James Sohn earlier this month.

Following the town hall, BOT President Shanell Williams sent out an email to some faculty members asking for their input in the college’s search for a long-term Interim Chancellor. The email contained a link to a survey for those interested in giving their opinions on the qualities the college should seek in a chancellor and a request that community members suggest candidiates for the position by emailing Williams their nominations

Williams said the BOT will finalize their interim-chancellor selection process timeline at the upcoming special meeting on April 23.

The Guardsman