Cerritos College should run itself like a public institution, not a business

The+Director+of+Equity+and+Diversity+for+the+ASCC+cabinet+Amy+Parker+talks+to+the+Board+of+Trustees+about+her+concerns+about+the+Board+on+April+12.+

Samuel Chacko

The Director of Equity and Diversity for the ASCC cabinet Amy Parker talks to the Board of Trustees about her concerns about the Board on April 12.

Amy Parker, ASCC Contributor

In 2018 and 2019, the college administration withheld cost-of-living-adjustment funds from faculty, until the administration was forced to cave. If that sounds familiar, it’s because it is.

We went through the same thing at Cerritos last year, where state COLA funding was denied to faculty until they and the student body protested.

Now, the college is denying half-time adjunct faculty the right to get health insurance via the college, even though the funding comes entirely from state law.

These aren’t the only three cases; this keeps happening every couple of years.

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Amy Parker

It transcends college presidents, transcends Business Services administrations, transcends Board of Trustees members. It’s happened for a long time – but why? Why does this happen? It’s simple: the college acts like a business.

Let’s think about how a business operates. A large business – say, one with 20,000 customers, which in this case would be the students – generally doesn’t care about the needs of individual employees. It just cares about what it thinks is “safest” and most profitable.

No wonder, then, that the college administration has decided to remove full-time staff and managers from their teaching positions.

This is going to cause problems for staff, who will lose significant income streams, and for students, who will lose access to high-quality instructional staff, sections of “rarer” classes, and some courses (like Astronomy 105L) entirely.

Businesses tend not to want to disclose their internal documents to the public. In-kind, Cerritos College has continuously neglected the California Public Records Act.

Instead of figuring out how best to fulfill people’s records requests – requests filled by almost every other government agency and college – it tries to make up excuses (however illegitimate) to get out of them.

Want to know what of your network requests on the college’s internet are being monitored?

The college won’t provide you with that information, even though it’s clearly subject to disclosure under the Public Records Act – so clearly that staff sometimes decide to leak the documents themselves.

There are so many different ways that the college acts like a business, but the most direct is self-enrichment.

During the 2022 COLA protests, it was revealed that, while the faculty received a 0% salary increase (which, accounting for inflation, means they lost a significant amount of money), the Board of Trustees increased their pay by 10% and gave President Fierro a $40,000 bonus.

If the college administration wants to claim to be working for us, they need to actually be doing so – and stop acting like a business.

It’s time to show the college administration that the “old arrangement” isn’t acceptable, that students and faculty are through with it – that they need to serve us, not us serve them.

I went to the April 12 Board of Trustees meeting, and am planning on going to the next one – and you all should too.

Come speak to the Board of Trustees, and get them to change – because this affects all of us, and all those who come after us.