By Jerico Magallanes
Students raised concerns about resources for non-STEM majors and access for disabled students Wednesday during Pizza with the President, an open forum with President Robert Vela sponsored by the Student Government Association.
Social work sophomore Daniel Gonzales voiced his concerns about the complication of going between McCreless Hall and McAllister Fine Arts Center.
“SAC has failed to comply with that issue,” Gonzales, who is in a wheelchair, said of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.
Vela said this college will work with any students who have difficulty accessing a building or classroom. “We will move that class to a more accessible area for that student,” he said.
After the forum, Gonzales said he wasn’t convinced nor was he optimistic about this college’s and the district’s progress on student disability access on campus.
For example, he said some classes must meet in the auditorium of McAllister and theater of McCreless, and wondered how this college could relocate those courses.
Social work student Rebecca Palmer voiced concern about a lack of resources for “underprivileged degrees” in non-STEM programs.
Vela, who said he prefers to use “STEAM” to incorporate the arts in the acronym for science, technology, engineering and mathematics, said, “We have advising pods for all institutes.”
He encouraged students to take pride in their studies and “have a plan and be active with your advisers.”
Dr. Lisa Alcorta, interim vice president of student success, offered to speak with Palmer after the forum about assistance on how to pursue her career. Alcorta studied social work at Our Lady of the Lake University.
SGA President Harley Williams asked for progress on the new Veterans Victory Center. Vela voiced a desire to include all military service members such as active duty, despite the name.
Social work student Ryan Mixon asked about resources for homeless students, in particular those battling hunger.
Vela said this college offers a food pantry program that students can participate in.
Vela also addressed prices in the cafeteria and how this college is working with Lancer’s Hospitality Food Service to find both affordable and diverse options.
Liberal arts student Ashley Cortez asked for advice for students who are parents or have begun a career and are returning to school. Vela recommended time management, stress management, commitment and staying motivated.
Mixon returned with a question about open carry and its application on this campus. Vela said this college will have to respect the law starting in fall 2017. Until then, Vela said he is working with Alamo Colleges’ attorneys to prepare this college.
SGA Secretary Frederico Gonzalez-Vidal said there was a “pretty good turnout.” About 60 people attended the hour-long session.
Gonzalez-Vidal also said SGA Treasurer Chris Lopez is working with Vela and the Alamo Colleges board of trustees on disabled access on campus.
Prior to the forum, SGA members encouraged students to sign motivational banners. Education student Jake Crevino wrote “fighting for a better cause as one” on a banner that reads “this is what community-engaged means to me … ”
Crevino said he wrote his message because it “takes more than one person to make an impact.”