The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

SBCC College Planning Council discusses budget, equity issues

Nate Stephenson
CPC meeting on Tuesday Oct. 15, 2019, in the Business Communication Center at City College in Santa Barbara, Calif. The CPC recently institutionalized the Campus Climate Advisory Council, which will hold monthly open town halls with the hopes of bridging equity gaps and amplifying voices for those who are unhappy with leadership and the climate at the college.

The College Planning Council met Tuesday to discuss proposed budget solutions and further steps in college diversity, equity and inclusion planning.

Pamela Ralston, executive vice president of educational programs, opened the meeting in place of Interim Superintendent-President Helen Benjamin, who joined later in the meeting. 

Ralston overviewed recent equity efforts by the school and council members discussed how best to prepare the new superintendent-president for the divisive college climate. 

“I think it’s going to be incredibly important to be as candid, open and honest with the new president as possible,” said Academic Senate President-Elect Raeanne Napoleon. “We’re in a really rough place.”

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Multiple council members felt the new president should work to understand the school, rather than the school work to inform the president. 

“The president’s success is irrelevant. The college’s success is what matters,” said Robert Fischer, vice president of the Academic Senate.

Fischer suggested the college focus more on anti-racism training than diversity when addressing equity issues. 

He said the president would need to understand both budget issues and diversity issues when they join the school in November. 

“I think it would be good for the new president to recognize the disconnect between the board and the college,” said Academic Senate President Patricia Stark. Many members expressed their concern that the Board of Trustees does not represent the college as a whole. 

“It doesn’t feel like our voices matter anymore, especially to the board,” said Cheryl Brown, a classified staff representative. “They respect third party suggestions a lot more than they respect us.”

The council also discussed an email Benjamin sent to faulty members on Monday that said the board would explore the option of a Supplementary Retirement Plan as a means of reducing the budget deficit and to avoid possible lay-offs. 

Stark suggested that the board’s demand for a balanced budget by the end of the year brings about a “manufactured problem” that is unnecessary and could be solved in other ways. 

Stark reminded council members that City College has a $26 million reserve that the school is saving “for a crisis,” yet the school is considering drastic measures to come up with extra funds. 

The meeting was adjourned 15 minutes early so members could attend the special Board of Trustees meeting Tuesday afternoon. 

The council will reconvene to further discuss budget and equity issues at the Nov. 5 meeting.

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