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The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

City College officials respond to results of campus climate survey


Campus leaders acknowledged the current state of City College after the results of a campus climate survey were released at the Sept. 17 Board of Trustees meeting.

“Even though the response rate was 30% for our current employees, the Board does not discount the findings,” said Board of Trustees President Robert Miller. “Clearly, the results identify significant and important issues that require sustained attention.”

Interim Superintendent-President Helen Benjamin joined City College in April, amidst a slew of racial and gender-related issues. She decided an employee-oriented campus climate survey would help gauge the state of the campus.

“When people think of their jobs, much of the time they think about their leaders and that’s where the trust has to develop first,” Benjamin said.

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The survey questions asked employees if they agreed or disagreed with statements regarding topics such as respect and discrimination, trust in leadership, and how City College handles reported acts of discrimination. Employees could respond to the statements with “agree,” “somewhat agree,” “neutral,” “somewhat disagree” or “disagree.”

The results were shown as ratings from one through five. Though only 30% of employees responded, the overall rating for the survey was 3.5 with 508 pages of comments.

The question asking if there is a “high trust level between senior leadership team and employees,” had the second-lowest rating with only 8.78% of participants completely agreeing and over 75% of participants answering “neutral,” “somewhat disagree” or “disagree.”

“The lack of trust between senior leadership and employees is a red flag, indicating that SBCC may have a toxic work culture,” said Student Trustee Kenny Igbechi.

The question with the lowest rating asked if “[City College] handles all reported acts of discrimination against employees effectively.” Barely 25% of participants chose “agree” or “somewhat agree.”

“We’re hearing this loud and clear from the employees… This is alarming and we need to be acting,” Trustee Jonathan Abboud said. “We cannot be anywhere near where we are right now.”

Another low-rated question asked employees if they believe “[City College] has no tolerance for discrimination against students based on background/characteristics.” Less than half of the survey participants completely agreed with the statement.

“What has been happening at this college is an awakening to the fact that institutional racism touches so many aspects of this campus,” Academic Senate President Patricia Stark said. “We need this recognition from the Board of Trustees down to every single person who’s on the ground that this is something that we need to put front and center of all of our lenses, all of our thinking. That has created a tremendous amount of tension.”

As the Board of Trustees discussed these results, some trustees expressed that they think the Board needs to prioritize these issues and what they focus on.

“I’d hate to see the college put too much effort into things that are extremely difficult to do,” said Trustee Craig Nielsen.

The Board of Trustees is considering how to proceed after reviewing the results and has said there will be a follow-up on the agenda of a future meeting.


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