Cerritos College
Cerritos College • Norwalk, Calif.

Talon Marks

Cerritos College • Norwalk, Calif.

Talon Marks

Cerritos College • Norwalk, Calif.

Talon Marks

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Recent Cerritos grads still missing their diplomas

Emanuel Guadarrama
Admissions & Records Building in Cerritos College.

Four months post-commencement, most alumni from the class of 2023 who graduated in May still haven’t received their diplomas yet and the reason why seems to be obscure, according to conflicting sources.

On one hand, someone from Admission and Records, who spoke under the presumption of anonymity, said that it normally does take three to five months, which others say is still too long.

On the other hand, a former student, Amy Parker, said that the reason it took so long was that the college had refused to hire more graduation evaluators.

Parker, who was also the director of equity and diversity for ASCC, left a public comment back in August which was only recently read during a regular board meeting on Sept. 13.

Notably, none of the board members, as well as Dr. Jose Fierro, bothered to respond to her comment, which is a regular occurrence when it comes to public comments.

The comment she left spoke about how she hadn’t received her diploma yet and how people she knew missed out on job opportunities.

Coincidentally, two days after her comment was read, students and alumni received an email notification about how they would receive their certificates and/or diplomas within two weeks.

“I can’t speak to whether it was a coincidence, I’d like to think that us actually taking action and speaking would have prompted them to do it but I have no way of knowing for certain,” Parker said.

“What I do know though is that even with getting it done now, they are still way behind the actual deadline that they were supposed to have of August.”

Parker also mentioned how people she knew missed out on job and internship opportunities due to not having their diplomas.

“Some people ended up not being eligible to apply or just getting denied early on, without a copy of their diploma they didn’t have anything that they could show, not to mention… actually receiving transcripts by paper could take over four weeks.”

Dr. Fierro, the president/superintendent of Cerritos College, did later comment on the matter, he mentioned how this year the college awarded a lot of certificates and degrees.

“We awarded an incredible 1,821 certificates and 1,558 associate degrees, making it the highest number in the history of our college,” Fierro said.

He then spoke about an “address verification campaign” that the college conducts to make sure students receive their certificates and degrees, then congratulated the students.

Within his comment, he mentioned that their vendor, “mailed all of the certificates on Sept. 13, 2023.”

However, he failed to mention that after Parker’s public comment was read on Sept. 13 students didn’t receive an email saying their certificates/diplomas were mailed until two days after, on Friday, Sept. 15.

According to Parker, “I talked to people in admissions, the problem was that the college refused to hire enough graduation evaluators to actually go through everyone’s graduation information in time.”

“They could’ve hired more people, or they could’ve paid the people who were already there to work longer but they chose not to.”

Dr. Fierro commented and said that there was a campaign to verify everyone’s address but also mentioned that some students may need to still prove that they’ve graduated.

To do so they’d need to request an official transcript, which would show the certificate or degree conferral date, which Dr. Fierro said, “Can be used as confirmation of their achievement by employers and other institutions of higher education.”

Parker, however, explained that some businesses may not have the infrastructure to deal with several documents and transcripts when they could simply look at a diploma.

“Even if they had ordered transcripts, actually receiving transcripts by paper could take over four weeks,” said Parker.

Parker then went on to talk about how the college doesn’t have the best decision-making when it comes to spending its money.

As an example, Parker pointed out the difference in Dr. Fierro’s annual salary from 2021 compared to 2022.

In 2022, Fierro earned roughly $407,000, compared to the previous year where he earned roughly $354,000.

Parker said that extra money would’ve been enough to hire more graduation evaluators, so students could receive their diplomas in a timelier manner.

“So many of us either don’t care enough or people who do care are the ones who get out at a reasonable amount of time…We forget all this stuff that’s happened before, so this keeps on happening,” Parker said.


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About the Contributor
Emanuel Guadarrama
Emanuel Guadarrama, Co-News Editor
Emanuel Guadarrama is the returning news editor for Talon Marks, who’ll be covering any and all newsworthy events or stories on campus. When he isn’t working on his news section, he enjoys listening to various genres of music and reading. He also likes going on hikes, walking with his dog and spending time with his friends and family.
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