College Planning Council discusses future of campus climate, equity

College Planning Council discusses future of campus climate, equity

Jacob Frank, Associate Editor

Academic counselor Gwyer Schuyler proposed a coordinated plan of action and communication at the College Planning Council meeting on Tuesday to address barriers to success among employees at City College.

Her concern stems from an anonymous online survey taken by 711 out of 2,294 recipients in 2019 on the working conditions at City College.

“We cannot let this just die,” Schuyler said.

The Employee Campus EDI Climate Survey sent shockwaves through the campus last Fall when the results came out. Although some reported positives to working at City College, others have experienced inequities and exclusion based on their personal characteristics.

Schuyler explained that “tinkering around the edges” would not be enough to change things, echoing the survey. 

If employees are not seeing real progress from the survey, she said, they will conclude that City College leaders are not serious about the problems or are incapable of fixing them, which will “further increase cynicism” towards the leadership on campus.

She suggested the creation of a Campus Climate Advisory Board with monthly open town-hall webinars and a website to increase communication by building trust and transparency among all members of the college.

Academic Senate President Raeanne Napoleon expressed her support with Schuyler during open discussion.

“There hasn’t been this concerted communication out to the faculty body … where this is what we’re doing and this is how we are doing it,” said Napoleon. “There seems to be this human element piece missing … how folks are feeling about coming to work and coming to campus.”

Since last fall, committees and organizations within City College have been planning and implementing strategies to create a more inclusive environment. 

The representatives of these organizations who sit on the Planning Council are looking for leadership from the top to bring all of these efforts together. Council chair and superintendent/president Utpal Goswami stepped in to explain his position.

“From my perspective, if you want me to lay something out there … as to what I think [are] the most critical areas that we need to focus on to move us forward, I am willing to do that,” Goswami said.

Goswami intends to understand and map each plan of action before taking charge, but is still eager to address the “lack of empowerment of employees” and loss of transparency that he’s observed from the top.

Despite the sentiments from the climate survey, Goswami reported that the fall 2020 semester and online integration had begun smoothly. The classes that are meeting in person have been cautious in respect to the coronavirus and are proceeding safely, he said.

Reports have surfaced that partying continues in Isla Vista and that City College students have been there as well. Goswami made sure that he would address this problem in a campus wide email.

The council will meet in two weeks to continue with discussions they missed and to progress their plan of action for a more inclusive campus.