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College Planning Council to form Ad Hoc group to combat racism

Elizabeth Saubestre, Staff Writer

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Following a heated discussion around racism on Feb. 5, College Planning Council members returned Tuesday with a plan to form an Ad Hoc group to repair the racially charged emotional damage caused on City College’s campus.

Ad Hoc groups are used to work on projects that require concentrated and timely effort— in this case it will develop tangible solutions to the college’s recent racism controversies.

“I appreciate the efforts, and the work, and that’s really great that you heard last time, thank you,” said Gwyer Schuyler, representative of the Academic Senate. “The list is growing for this Ad Hoc group, there are a lot of people in a lot of different capacities who are interested in working on this, and might have different ideas about the way to do it.”

The basic structure for the group was outlined in a fluid document, though changes will continue to be made.

To introduce the document, Superintendent-President Anthony Beebe read from a paragraph he felt “really gets to the heart of what we’re trying to do.”

“As college leaders, we embark on a concentrated effort to improve the lives of those who work and study at Santa Barbara City College,” he read. “We embrace a shared responsibility to address racism and sexism.

“We commit to creating a college climate and culture for students, faculty, staff, and visitors to be free to live, learn, and work without discrimination.”

The task force conversation began at the last Feb. 5 meeting after Schuyler expressed her frustrations at the lack of in-depth conversations related to the racism issues on campus.

The main concerns that were addressed revolved around the best way to include community members in the group and which third party would best facilitate them.

“We’re very good at creating committees,” Schuyler said, followed by laughter from the council. “But to bridge teams, who are maybe not part of that formal structure could be helpful and supportive.”

The council decided to go with the third party facilitator option and will include two students and two members of the Black Faculty and Staff Association on the Ad Hoc committee.

Some council members expressed their uncertainty with the task force, though.

“That’s where ideas go to die… if you want something to die, you put in in a task force,” said Christopher Johnson, representative for the Advancing Leadership Association. “Is this the best way to even begin to talk about this?”

The Ad Hoc group will met at least twice in March because some members urged for the issue to be handled in a timely manner.

“We have to have some kind of stake in the ground and say here’s where we are and here’s where we aspire to go,” Beebe said.

The group will meet again on March 5 to further discuss the Ad Hoc group.

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College Planning Council to form Ad Hoc group to combat racism