Citizens to be heard, scratch that, silenced

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Board proposal disallows faculty, staff and students to speak during open forum.

A tabled policy restricting faculty and student access to the citizens-to-be-heard portion of board meetings is being readdressed in the next board meeting.

Policy B.8.1 Public Participation proposed amendment states: “The board chair shall not allow employee or student complaints at citizens to be heard without determining that the speaker has exhausted available administrative remedies.”

This keeps administration from hearing about problems for the first time at board meetings, President Robert Vela said in “Proposals limit student, employee access to trustees” published by The Ranger Oct. 19.

Student and faculty concerns must be screened by administration before trustees will even think about granting an audience during an open forum “to hear persons who desire to make comments to the board,” according to — the irony does not escape us — policy B.8.1 Public Participation.

Unfortunately, the subterfuge doesn’t stop there.

Should a faculty member or student go through the proper channels, speak with administration, yet still feels the problem is unresolved, speaking at citizens to be heard continues to be out of the question.

Instead, if the chancellor deems it worthy, a special meeting can be arranged prior to the board meeting or board retreat at the request of the board chair.

What does this say for transparency? People with an interest in speaking are being singled out and taken behind closed doors.

The administration, the media and the community are now unable to listen to grievances of those segregated.

The citizen is no longer being heard.

Or maybe students and faculty are no longer considered citizens.

So far this maneuvering has kept the chancellor looking like a golden boy to trustees while the consequences of his decision-making sow confusion, poor morale and busy work.

If this is the way trustees want to be played by the chancellor, OK.

But if there’s any life left on the board, perhaps they might remember they are elected officials accountable to their electorate, most of whom work for or attend the Alamo Colleges.

Trustees: Realize this is a bad policy and remove that portion of the proposal.

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1 Comment

  1. They do not want us to speak up for our civil and educational rights. They want to build their $58 million dollar administration complex, instead of spending our tax dollars on required text books, assistance and resources for students to achieve educational success. They do not want this community who elected them to openly talk about staff cheating students in grading after they have gone through the grievance process like I have. They do not want the media to be able to air their dirty laundry. They do not want the media to record and air the retaliation tactics that they deploy against students, staff, and community activist organization. This is an election year and the community is going to band together to get new trustees on the board who are going to look out for the best interest of this community.

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