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By Wally Perez
District 4 trustee candidate Phillip “Felipe” Vargas wants to make it known that he is working for the students and the community.
Vargas earned a bachelor’s at St. Mary’s University and a master’s in history and philosophy from Indiana University.
Vargas believes there’s a complete breakdown in trust and leadership from the chancellor and the administration in terms of communication and it’s proven by the recent lawsuit by Dr. Craig Follins, former president of Northeast Lakeview College.
“I think we need to restructure the leadership because there is no faith there,” he said. “It starts from changing the leadership at the top, then investing resources in the faculty so that they’re relevant to the needs of millennials and the economy.”
Vargas doesn’t agree with a policy that would prevent students and faculty from speaking at citizens-to-be-heard during public meetings.
It’s unconstitutional and it won’t happen; it’s just another way to silence students and faculty, and isn’t the approach to take if you want to make things better, he said.
On the topic of pushing for more workforce certificates or funding for liberal arts, Vargas said there’s a need to do both, and more.
“I would actually push for bachelor’s degrees at the community colleges and increase a lot of the certificates,” Vargas said. “We need to serve the needs of a diverse population and increase opportunities for all students.”
Vargas said if the vision for the community college is to deal with issues that exist regarding limited job availability once students graduate or transfer, then there’s definitely a need for bachelor’s degrees, not just in applied sciences or technology but for teachers, nurses and all high-need areas in the city.
Vargas said universities want to corporatize their models of education, instead of developing the mind of their students.
“We give students these programs (7 Habits) that normalize failure, and I’m completely against them.”
When addressing the upcoming campus carry law, which will be implemented in fall 2017, Vargas said he doesn’t believe in it.
Vargas is completely against having guns on campus, and would spend his time as a trustee to make sure it would be handled properly.
“I’m not running against Casillas, I’m running for students,” Vargas said.
He believes he’s more accessible, and has more of a background in dealing with the ins and outs of university higher education culture.
“I’ve been a public servant my whole life; win or lose, I’ll continue to serve my community,” Vargas said. “My alliances are with the students and the communities that they come from.”
“It’s not just getting into office, it’s being effective once you’re there.”