Protest against Lacy, petition for resignation

Kristopher Carrasco

Denny Cristales, Editor-in-Chief

A woman, along with two other individuals, were protesting against President Linda Lacy, advocating that she resign, on Wednesday, Nov. 5, outside her office.

The woman, the mother of her daughter who attends Cerritos College, was protesting due to the fact that her daughter can’t get the math classes that she needs, in addition to her financial aid getting cut for not having full-time units or a major declared.

The two others, friends of her daughter, were carrying signs, with phrases like “Dr. Lacy fails students,” and “Dr. Lacy a fraud, resign now.”

The mother of the daughter, who refused to be identified, said, “I don’t want excuses, I want resolutions, I want answers to what is going to get our kids to the four-year (universities), and I just feel totally road-blocked here. That’s why we’re out here today.

“As you can see from our signs, it’s pretty much step up, or step down. If you’re not able to meet the criteria for what the students need, then you’re not doing what needs to be done. So, it’s time for someone else to come in and see what (his) new ideas can bring in.”

As the three were outside protesting, JoAnna Schilling came out to settle the matter, with eventually Miya Walker, Stephen Johnson and Lacy herself coming out to address the matter.

Lacy said, “Apparently she’s concerned that her daughter had a hard time getting her classes and is concerned. This is the first time I’ve seen or heard from her, so I was just trying to get to the bottom of what the complaint really was.

“And it’s kind of gearing back to Cerritos College being one of many colleges being impacted by the recession and getting classes cut, but we added a lot of classes back this year, so we’re trying to make head-way; but it was tough during the recession when we were getting cuts and cuts and cuts and try to not have that happen to students.”

The woman and Lacy had an exchange regarding the situation with her daughter, with Lacy and Johnson attempting to illustrate some solutions to her.

The woman said, “I have no problem being confronted by the issues. We’re here exercising our rights, she respectfully came out here to speak to me. However, I didn’t get all the answers that I needed.

“Her (the daughter’s) financial aid was stalled because she didn’t declare a major … so it was blocked and she ended up getting her pay six weeks later. It’s just kind of wrong to penalize the students for their financial aid when the institution doesn’t have the classes available to help the students.”

Lacy recommended to her that she could set up appointments with herself to discuss the matter further, or to talk to Johnson to deal with financial and ed-plan solutions.

Schilling mentioned that it comes down to not having enough resources.

Schilling said, “Her concern is that her daughter isn’t able to get a math class and I told her that we literally don’t have math classes to fill the needs, and that we literally don’t have enough faculty to fill the classes and to fill the need. So I was telling her about some of the programs that we’re working on with our high school partners so that we can help students to be more successful in high school before they get to Cerritos; that’s the only way you’re going to break the jam, due to the math classes that students can’t get are pre-college math classes.”

“She, understandably, wants results, and I don’t mean to be giving double-speak, because we want results, too. But I wanted her to understand that it’s complicated. And that we’re doing what we can to address the whole problem, as opposed to just today and her daughter needing a class. I told her that her daughter can come in to talk to me, because she may be unaware of some of the cohort problems on campus that could assist her in getting the classes that she needs.”

Along with the protest against her, Lacy had previously been antagonized with two online petitions, advocating her to resign, as little as two weeks ago. Faculty Senate, in its last meeting, provided an affirmation of confidence toward the president.

Lacy thinks roles, like the one of president, always serves as a scapegoat of sorts.

“You know, when you’re the president of the institution, that’s where the blame lies. Obviously, I wasn’t responsible for the recession and I wasn’t responsible for the elimination of classes during that time, but that’s who is always blamed for it. It doesn’t always feel good or feel comfortable, but I understand that that is a part of the role.”

The mother of the student still requests that people speak up about their individual experiences. She spotlighted the Nov. 18 board of trustees meeting as a place to speak up.

“I mean, it’s the consensus here; there’s a lot of money coming into the school, where’s it at? Obviously there’s a lot of different things going on; construction, board members asking for more travel money; it just doesn’t add up. And we want answers.”