SBCC Trustees approve new committee despite backlash


Katie James, Associate Editor

Following contentious discussion, the Board of Trustees unanimously approved the formation of a new committee to address gender equity, sexual harassment, and civil communication issues on campus.

The committee will consist of trustees Robert Miller, Marsha Croninger and Peter Haslund who will work directly with Superintendent-President Anthony Beebe along with representatives from other campus groups. It is scheduled to report back in 30 days with a status report on its work and findings. Trustees in support of the committee felt it would allow them an opportunity for open discussion with people on campus that is not generally permitted in the regular board meetings due to the rules of conduct within the Brown Act.

Academic Senate President Patricia Stark said during public comment the release of a detailed plan of action by Beebe to address the topics the committee intends to discuss made the committee unnecessary. Significant energy and resources might be diverted from the implementation of Beebe’s plan, she said.

Many trustees agreed with Stark, saying that along with the plan there is already a gender equity workgroup on campus and a part of Beebe’s plan entails giving $20,000 of the City College’s Aspen Excellence funds to the Academic Senate for developing best practices to deal with these issues.

Krystle Farmer
James Von Essen
Krystle Farmer

Student Trustee Krystal Farmer said the committees already in place have not been effective enough, expressing disbelief the creation of yet another committee would cause much positive change.

“We aren’t trained to deal with so many of these things and I think it has been shown time and time again when the grievances have come forward. I think the bigger thing SBCC needs to look at is outside training,” said Farmer.

“I know Patricia Stark did comment on the many things we are doing, but the problem is that a lot of the people leading some of that work are the ones doing the abusing on this campus. So you’re talking about going forward with gender equity issues when the very people leading the gender equity work are the ones that have Title IX’s out against them, are the ones that are doing the abusing.”

At one point in the meeting there was a moment of tension between Board President Veronica Gallardo and Farmer when Gallardo interrupted Farmer to restate the goals on civil discourse they had passed earlier in the meeting.

Veronica Gallardo
Clint Weisman
Veronica Gallardo

“If we are going to have a discussion either we can end the discussion or this is such an important topic, but. . .” said Gallardo, interrupted by Farmer.

“You interrupt me all the time and cut me off all the time, so civil discourse to you as well Veronica,” said Farmer.

Two members of the public went up to submit public comment sheets during the discussion but it appeared they were not permitted to for some reason even though Stark who spoke earlier had also submitted her slip during the meeting.

Although the board voted to create the committee, Board Vice President Jonathan Abboud stated before the vote there was not enough consensus to warrant a decision on the matter and suggested for it to be revisited at a later meeting.

Farmer would like to continue to see more public engagement at board meetings.

“I pride myself on being transparent and honest. I highly encourage people to attend the board meetings, get involved in these conversations, participate in public comment and bring their concerns and comments to the board,” said Farmer in an interview following the meeting.