Peaceful protest calls for reversal of diploma decision
By Tim Hernandez
A letter from Palo Alto College students prompted a change in the location of the regular board meeting to 6:30 p.m. Oct. 28 in Room 101 of Killen Center, 201 W. Sheridan.
Students, who protested the removal of a concentration on diplomas and transcripts, complained that the meeting planned for Northeast Lakeview College was too far away to enable many to attend.
The protest coincided with the South Side college’s Native American and Hispanic Heritage Month’s kickoff celebration Monday.
Juan Tejeda, professor of Mexican studies and music, introduced the Student Leadership Coalition, who led a peaceful protest of changes to diplomas and transcripts.
Psychology sophomore Christopher Giddens told the crowd about the coalition’s disapproval of Alamo Colleges’ decision to remove majors from diplomas and transcripts starting this fall for all incoming freshman.
Giddens said the coalition had submitted a request to District 3 trustee Anna Bustamante, chair of the Alamo Colleges board, to move the Oct. 28 regular board meeting from Northeast Lakeview College to a more centralized location.
The board regularly meets at Killen Center, 201 W. Sheridan, centrally located south of downtown.
The Oct. 28 meeting was scheduled at Northeast Lakeview College to coincide with a capital improvements plan celebration, public relations Director Mario Muñiz said.
Once a year, the board meets at one of the colleges for its annual board retreat. This year’s retreat is scheduled for Nov. 18 with a location yet to be determined.
After the announcements, the Student Leadership Coaltion led students away to a position not far from the celebration.
By 1:30 p.m., their numbers had grown from 13 to about 30.
Simon Sanchez, computer science sophomore and coalition leader, estimated the protest’s 30 students represent closer to 200 through email, text and Facebook supporters.
Some of the protesters sealed their mouths with black duct tape.
Sanchez said it symbolized the silencing their voices. Those without taped mouths chanted and cheered.
Giddens said district officials should stop making policy without including students’ voices in decisions.
Sanchez said, “We want the Alamo Colleges to revoke the decision to remove majors from degrees and transcripts. In the future we, the students, want more input in decisions that affect the student body.”
The board meets at 6 p.m. the third Tuesday of each month unless changed to avoid holidays or other conflicts.
A listing of meeting times for committees and the full board is online at http://www.alamo.edu/district/board/agenda-deadlines/.
An agenda is posted 72 hours before each meeting.
For more information, call board liaison Sandra Mora at 210-486-0030.