COPS community organizer, 57
By Katherine Garcia
Enedina Kikuyu, a community organizer for Communities Organized for Public Service, first heard of the instructional materials issue from her daughter, Francisca Exon, a teaching sophomore at Palo Alto College.
Kikuyu works as a community organizer and also has volunteered in the political campaigns of Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff and Precinct 4 Commissioner Tommy Adkisson.
She said her daughter asked her how she felt about the e-book policy and how students would sell their books back.
“Alamo Community College really is the first step that the poorest of the poor get their foot in the door to go to college, and if they’re adding these expenses to their bill, it’s going to make college less affordable,” she said.
“That’s why I got involved; we’re making it impossible for these students — for all students — to afford a basic need.”
Kikuyu visited Palo Alto cafeteria and talked to students. Some students walked up to her and asked if she’d represent them in this campaign.
“I’m not only serving them (the students), I’m serving my community,” she said.
She said she does not believe the district should have at least 50 percent of faculty teaching as adjuncts, the goal of Chancellor Bruce Leslie. She said teachers should be able to teach full time if they want to.
She said instead of building a new administration complex, more buildings that serve more students are needed. She referred to plans to build a consolidated administration complex at Playland Park in a public-private venture.
She said the budget cuts to the libraries at district colleges do not give students adequate time to access books and materials.
“If we are a college, we should be available to them,” she said, adding students should have access to the library on Saturdays and Sundays.
Palo Alto’s library is closed on Saturday, Northwest Vista’s library is open from 8:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m., Northeast Lakeview’s library is open 9 a.m.-1 p.m., St. Philip’s library is open 9 a.m.-3 p.m. and this college’s library is open 9:30 a.m.-1 p.m. All libraries are closed on Sundays.
On the board’s plan to choose a nonvoting student trustee from nominees from each of the colleges, Kikuyu said a student trustee should be allowed to vote as a member of the board, and students should select the student trustee.
“How can you have someone as a member of the board and their vote doesn’t count?” she said, and that students should be the ones to pick a student trustee.
She said this is the first step for college students to be able to freely talk to elected officials and say “listen to us.”
Kikuyu said she would like to rotate biweekly meetings with students at all the colleges and inform them of what the board will be voting on.
She also challenges board members to meet with their district’s constituents — community members and students — often.
“I want to make them aware of how the ACCD is taking shape,” she said.