Interim President of NCCBAA Elected

Dr. Mark Robinson, interim president of the Northern California Council on Black American Affairs. Photo courtesy of CCSF website

The Guardsman

Emma Winkles

A counselor at the Southeast campus, Dr. Mark Robinson, was recently elected interim president of the newly-formed Northern California Council on Black American Affairs, a regional support network for African American community college students, faculty and administrators.

The board of the Western Regional Council on Black American Affairs recently approved the Northern California chapter, according to its Spring 2012 newsletter. The council is affiliated with both the American Association of Community Colleges and the National Council on Black American Affairs.

An official vote to elect seven permanent chapter officers will occur in early fall 2012, Robinson said.

Membership in the northern California chapter is growing.

“We just want to make sure everyone has an opportunity to play a part,” Robinson said. “Our goal is to have 100 members in the next few months.”

“The council is reaching out to all northern California community colleges,” said Michele Jaques, a City College counselor and the chapter’s interim secretary.

Encouraging students to achieve higher education at community colleges is at the core of the council’s mission, Robinson said.


Coordinator of the Council on Black American Affairs Torrance Bynum and Secretary of the council Michele Jaques at the City College Southeast Campus on Apr. 12, 2012. BETH LABERGE / THE GUARDSMAN

But supporting community college employees is also a priority.

“The organization is not only for students,” Jacques said, but also provides “professional development opportunities for administration, faculty and staff.”

The council is planning to host a mini-conference, The Black Think Tank, at City College on September 22.

The goal of the conference, Robinson said, is “to diagnose issues, provide solutions, and advocate for the state of black Americans and higher education — specifically in the community college sector.”

According to Torrence Bynum, coordinator of the Southeast campus, student enrollment at that campus, as well as the number of classes offered, has increased this semester despite the $17 million budget deficit that has caused severe cuts at City College’s other campuses.

Even though classes at Southeast have survived the recent cuts, morale at the campus has still been affected.

“There’s fear of the unknown,” Jacques said about growing concerns from faculty and staff. “There’s a lot of anger and frustration around the water cooler.”

The council’s western regional president, William H. Crawford, broached those concerns in the council’s Spring 2011 newsletter.

“We are accustomed to doing more with less,” Crawford said. “In fact, it is an important part of our history and is rooted in our culture.”

Bynum said that belonging to the council provides a sense of community, and that their goal is to share ordeals and knowledge.

“We need to unite,” Bynum said. “That’s what I want to see.”

City College is one of the largest community colleges in the nation, with nearly 100,000 students.

The Southeast campus predominantly serves students that live in the Bayview-Hunter’s Point community, an historically underserved, poor and largely black community.

The Southeast Community Facility which houses the Southeast campus was created specifically to address the needs of the Bayview-Hunter’s Point residents and was part of a mitigation agreement with the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission connected with the construction of the Southeast Wastewater Treatment Plant in 1952.

The PUC, which owns and operates the facility, presented a proposal at their March 27 joint meeting with the Southeast Community Facility Commission for the reconstruction of the five-story building.

The new design would accommodate the campus with more classrooms, develop an area for registration and enrollment, services which currently are located only at other campuses, and install a computer lab to be shared with the other community organizations that lease space in the building.

Although having their own separate facility for classes and student services would be ideal, Robinson said, “at least [the commission is] not closing the place.”


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