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The Channels

The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

Tensions rise as senate discusses $3 million grant for Latinx students


Tensions were high during the first Academic Senate meeting of the semester as faculty considered City College’s growing concern that not all voices are being heard on campus.

Discussion regarding a grant that would potentially bring the school up to $3 million over the next five years led to an emotionally-charged conversation in which many senators expressed uncertainty over how the grant would be handled. 

“These funds are targeted funds,” said Economics Instructor Ruth Morales.

City College must submit an official application for the grant by Feb. 10.

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According to the proposal, the grant would supply up to $600,000 a year that would be specifically used to “expand educational opportunities for, and improve academic attainment of Hispanic students,” who make up over 35% of the student population.

“We have a history of mismanagement or redirecting grants,” said Morales. “It needs to be very clear that the management of this is very important.”

Some faculty were worried that their input was not being properly considered in the decision-making process.

“The faculty voice is being stifled. It feels like we’re not being heard,” said Academic Senate President-Elect Raeanne Napoleon.

This comes on the heels of Melissa Menendez, one of the five faculty appointees on the Strategic Enrollment Management Committee, sharing her decision to leave the committee in an open letter read to the senate during public comment.

Menendez, a tenured, full-time professor, removed herself from the committee after raising concerns that “there was a problem with the process of how decisions were made,” and that this “seems to reflect a larger pattern occurring on this campus,” that not all voices were being heard in decisions that affect the entire school.

“The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior,” said English Assistant Professor Annette Cordero, commenting on how the grant should be handled.  “We need to have Latinx faculty, Latinx personnel driving this.”

In addition to the grant discussions, senators overviewed the results of two student engagement surveys from 2018-2019, which showed many areas City College will look to improve in the coming years.

Students responded 2-3% lower than other California schools when asked about meeting with academic advisors, counselors or teachers, but up to 5% higher when asked about using tutoring, study groups or working with classmates outside of class. 

“There’s a lot of work to be done,” said Academic Senate President Patricia Stark.

The Academic Senate will reconvene next Wednesday on Jan. 29.

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