A citizen called for the resignation of the chancellor and the NAACP is embarrassed by SPC.
By Zachary-Taylor Wright
Members of the community expressed frustration with the district’s Capital Improvement Plan recommendations and a lack of confidence in Chancellor Bruce Leslie at the Jan. 17 meeting.
A petition was released on Change.org titled “Save Alamo Colleges” Jan. 18, echoing the sentiments presented during the citizens-to-be-heard portion of the meeting.
The petition had 15 signers as of Jan. 23.
Three family members of a Tejuan Band of Mission Indians of San Antonio spoke about frustrations with the mold and cracks in buildings at St. Philip’s College, which has $66 million in recommended upgrades, according to the board of trustee’s bond issue program.
Gloria Hernandez, scholarship coordinator at St. Philip’s, spoke for the group. She graduated from this college in 1982 with an associate of art.
In an interview with The Ranger, she said her mother attended St. Philip’s in the late 1970s, and her niece is enrolled at St. Philip’s College today.
Hernandez said she saw a sign announcing the groundbreaking on the new district support offices and questioned the board’s dedication to the colleges.
Hernandez asked the board if construction of the new district office at Playland Park was more important than the colleges’ deteriorating buildings.
The board of trustees estimated construction of the district office, construction of a physical plant, construction of a conference center, moving costs and demolition of standing buildings at Playland Park would cost the district $59.6 million, according to The Ranger.
Hernandez’s sister, Norma Kancheff, intake coordinator at Amerita Specialty Infusion Services, and niece Stephanie Kancheff, health professions freshman at St. Philip’s College, stood with Hernandez as she spoke.
Ricardo Martinez, United Public Workers of Texas chair and social worker, recalled working with board Chair Yvonne Katz, District 7 trustee, in the Harlandale Independent School District.
Martinez said the board in Harlandale agreed every school should receive a gym, which they did, and offered the first gym to the school most involved with the election.
Martinez said there was excellent voter turnout for the capital improvement plan in Harlandale that year.
Martinez accused the board of mishandling the district’s money and defended individual accreditation, saying community colleges thrive by having a niche, and it would be a mistake to change that.
Martinez brought a sign with an enlarged photo of Leslie texting at the Palo Alto College graduation ceremony in May, saying Leslie is not a very good leader. He said he opposed District 3 trustee Anna Bustamante in the May election because she publicly supported Leslie.
Martinez asked Leslie to resign and said none of his peers would vote to pass the bond issue until the chancellor resigned from his position.
Martinez addressed District 9 trustee Jim Rindfuss.
“Mr. Rindfuss, you once told me, ‘Ricardo, there seems to be a black cloud over your head because you lost two elections,’” Martinez said. “Remember that? You told me that, right? Well Mr. Rindfuss, I’m going to tell you one thing. There’s a black cloud over this whole board and the chancellor. I’d rather have a black cloud over my head than be struck by lighting.”
Maria Greene, member of the National Association of the Advancement of Colored People San Antonio Branch, said it was embarrassing to show St. Philip’s College to representatives from the national office of the NAACP.
“The board needs to address the unsafe conditions at the institution,” Greene said. “You are killing our mother, and we are not standing aside and watching it happen.”
On behalf of the NAACP, Greene asked the board to fix the accreditation issue, saying rebranding is not going to resolve the problem and rebranding would be an expensive task.
Greene said members of the local chapter of the NAACP are circulating a petition requesting the board address the accreditation issue, and State Sen. Jose Menedez, D-San Antonio District 26, has signed.
Nettie Hinton, NAACP San Antonio branch member, said the petition circulated by the NAACP has over 820 signatures.
The petition issued Jan. 18 cited the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges’ Comprehensive Standard 3.11.2, which requires an institution to “provide a healthy, safe and secure environment for all members of the campus community,” and Standard 3.11.3, which states an institution must maintain facilities that serve the institution’s “educational programs, support services, and other mission-related activities.”
The petition cites these standards as evidence the board is not meeting its requirements, saying the math and English facilities at this college are “beset with chronic mold” and the facilities at St. Philip’s College are “dilapidated.”
According to the petition, the district could accommodate these standards by decreasing the size of the new district support offices, canceling all FranklinCovey contracts and preventing the travel of board members for the next three years.
To access the Jan. 18 petition on Change.org, visit www.change.org/p/alamo-colleges-board-of-trustees-support-the-recommendations-of-the-community-advisory-committee.
For information on the NAACP’s petition, call Oliver Hill, NAACP San Antonio chapter president, at 210-224-7636.