Citizens to be heard, but not to listen

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Ranger staff photographer Ian ColemanViewpoint by Ian Coleman

At the Alamo Community College District’s regular board meeting on Oct. 28, students, parents and faculty from Palo Alto College and this college gave trustees a piece of their mind over the transfer or “generic” degrees plan.

Students from Palo Alto have been very vocal in their opinions of how the administration should handle items on their agenda.

Protests at Palo Alto called for the board meeting to convene at the Killen Center, although the meeting was scheduled at Northeast Lakeview College, so students and parents would not have to travel as far to attend the meeting.

The board obliged Palo Alto even though there was not uproar from the other Alamo Colleges that the board was trying to move the meeting to exclude students.

But should the board oblige just one college?

Once at the meeting, students, community members and parents harassed the board for taking away their degrees, which they felt students were entitled to.

Enedina Exon-Kikuyu, parent of a student of this college who ran for the District 4 position in May and lost, shouted at the board of trustees, claiming she would rather die than allow district to take away specific degrees.

Several other members of the angered masses berated the trustees, demanding “generic” degrees be removed from the board’s agenda.

In the end, after hateful words had been flung and the battle was done, the angered masses left before the discussion item came up on the evening’s agenda. They left in their wake trash and protest signs.

Afterward, the trustees’ full attention was brought to issue and they began to discuss solutions to the “generic” degree.

How does this solve anything?

Usually when an argument occurs, both parties are given a chance to voice their opinion. This allows both parties to understand how each other thinks, and usually this leads to a compromise. But with one party being absent, there can be no resolution.

I side with student trustee Jacob Wong in asking, how informed are these students?

The board has little or no jurisdiction when it comes to generic degrees.

Jo-Carol Fabianke, vice chancellor for academic success, and Chancellor Bruce Leslie are the only two who can change this policy.

But time and time again students and parents blamed the trustees for their negligence in doing the will of their constituents.

The students, parents and faculty were successful in one aspect, bringing the trustees’ attention to the issue and bringing out the fact that people are not going to take generic degrees lightly.

Fabianke and Leslie are going to have to educate people, step-by-step, on how generic degree plans will be better for a student’s academic success.


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