Faculty Federation rally takes to the street

Business+professor+Jerry+Ramos+holds+a+placard+at+the+Faculty+Federation+rally+on+Wednesday%2C+May+4+on+Studebaker+and+Alondra.+The+rally+moved+on+to+the+administration+quad+at+5%3A30+and+ended+at+the+Cheryl+A.+Epple+Board+Room.+Photo+credit%3A+Karla+Enriquez

Business professor Jerry Ramos holds a placard at the Faculty Federation rally on Wednesday, May 4 on Studebaker and Alondra. The rally moved on to the administration quad at 5:30 and ended at the Cheryl A. Epple Board Room. Photo credit: Karla Enriquez

Karla Enriquez

A placard flew in the wind, it read in blue letters “50 million on the backs of students.”

The red power of a thank you shirts were visible from the outskirts of the college as the Faculty Federation and students rallied on Alondra and Studebaker on Wednesday, May 4.

Anthropology professor Monica Bellas held the sign, which was a message about the board of trustees.

“The board of trustees has a stock pile of $50 million and they’re not spending it on classes or students, [it is not being] spent on hiring new faculty to teach classes. By law [the board] only has to have $5 million in reserve and [the board] refuses to release $45 million to fund students for education.

“As a professor it makes me feel very angry, we are here to teach students, Cerritos College is not to function as a bank.”

English professor Lyndsey Lefebvre was seen in red attire and adjunct professor buttons emblazoned all around her sweater.

“We just want to call attention to the community that we want the dollars that [are being] given to this campus to be spent on students and if you spend on students you have to spend on the teacher.”

Moving on to the board

The rally which started at 3 p.m ended at 5:30 p.m. moved to the administration quad immediately and lasted until the board of trustees meeting.

Staff, faculty, and students then moved into the Cheryl A. Epple Board Room where 19 cards were filled out for public comment on the faculty wage negotiations.

Board President Dr. Shin Liu stated, “We are at an impasse right now because the district and the faculty cannot reach an agreement and we will try our best to reach [one]

“But we respect faculty and we respect the people who work here and we will consider faculty’s needs but also, students are first we will make a good and wise decision to serve our students and the faculty who helps us too.”

Student Martha Meza gave an emotional speech during the board of trustee’s public comment expressing her support and appreciation for her professors.

“The part time teachers they care for students, most of the tenured teachers they care about us. I am a disabled student, I have a learning disability and I have professors who support me for my needs and part-time students have to run to go teach another class.

“That is why I support them and I want to be a voice for them, not only for them but for me too and for everybody especially those with learning disabilities,” she said.

Students caught in the middle

Liu stated that the the college wants to serve the students better.

“I feel sorry of course because we serve our students but also our students can understand sometimes parents argue, we don’t necessarily agree all of the time, but we will try to reach agreement at this difficult time we hope students can understand we want to serve [them] better, it’s not to give students a hard time.”

Dr. Fierro stated that the district met with a mediator on Monday, May 2 from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and the next meeting is scheduled for Thursday, May 19.

He added that the conversation is ongoing.

“It is a problem that obviously we need to through this situation to address the issues because it is clearly affecting the campus community.”

AB-1725 and the Master Plan

Sociology professor Bobbi Lee Smart stated during public comment that the college is not following assembly bill AB-1725.

“Im not sure of all of the details of the assembly bill, but it came out in 80s or the 90s and it basically says that the CSUs, the UCs, and the community colleges are supposed to have 75 percent full time faculty and only 25 percent part time.

“The purpose of part timers is to fill a void […] it is not supposed to be the backbone of the community, but now it is the opposite. It is about 65 percent part-time here and only 35 percent full time, so it is completely skewed, which affects students.”

The Assembly Bill Smart is referring to is AB 1725 signed in 1988 by Governor George Deukmejian which has a part that addresses the goal for colleges to have a 75:25 ratio.

“I also talk about the master plan which came out in the 60s, that says that community colleges, CSUs and UCs were created public growth for citizens of California to educate us, to give us a good job, to help us and they are supposed to be tuition free.

“There’s other people in terms of faculty that are older than me that went to college for free. Arnold Schwarzenegger went to Santa Monica College and paid $6 a semester in fees.

She continued, “The CSUs at that same time in the 70s were about $15 a semester, for a whole semester.”

According to UC Berkeley archives, The California Master Plan for Higher Education was developed in the early 1960 by a survey team from the UC Regents and State Board of Education.

The Donahoe Act placed some of the key elements of the plan was signed into law on April 1960.

About 60 agreements were formed creating a large network of public higher education in terms of enrollment. The system created includes community colleges, CSUs and UCs.

Smart compared that to what students currently pay for tuition.

“Why? Why do they have $50 million in reserve and why am I teaching a class of 60 why are you paying $1,900 for me to teach a class of 60? Where is the money going?

“I am paid for by the state of California, I am not paid by your tuition. These are questions that students should be asking,” she concluded.

As of Summer 2016 enrollment fee at Cerritos College is $46 per unit while students who are non-residents of California or International Students, with our without F-1 visas pay $259 per unit.