Murillo’s first CPC meeting covers accreditation, vaccination status

Murillo%27s+first+CPC+meeting+covers+accreditation%2C+vaccination+status

Rodrigo Hernandez, Editor-in-Chief

New Superintendent-President Kindred Murillo’s first College Planning Council meeting featured an agenda filled with discussions regarding testing and vaccine mandates, plus a heads-up on accreditation for fall on Tuesday, Sept. 7.

“I hope to help Santa Barbara move through this year as smoothly as we can move through in this time,” Murillo said.

“I keep telling people, come at this with curiosity and learning because we are a learning institution, and there’s a lot of things we learned in COVID that we can move forward on how we can do our work better.”

Before finishing her opening comments, Murillo said that the college is up for an accreditation visit in October.

City College is one of three districts in the state chosen to take part in the formative summative process. Students that attend accredited schools are able to receive federal financial aid, and have their classes transferable to the UC and CSU systems.

“It is such an honor to be chosen for this process. This speaks volumes of the confidence that the commission has in Santa Barbara [City] College, and we don’t want to take it for granted,” Murillo said.

Representatives from the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges will be visiting the campus on Oct. 12 and 13.

Murillo then brought up Dean of Student Affairs Paloma Arnold to announce the new Dream Center that will be on campus later this fall.

The Dream Center will be available to assist undocumented, AB540 and DACA students at City College.

“Essentially this will be a hub where any undocumented students can find resources, financial resources [and] information,” Arnold said. “We are very excited about this.”

There is a location reserved next to the Center for Equity and Social Justice, near the Umoja Center.

Arnold said that it will hopefully be the place where the Undocumented Student Week of Action is organized, and that the center will have free immigration legal resources available to undocumented students.

Later in the meeting, Vice President of Business Services Lyndsay Maas spoke about the change to the COVID-19 testing available on campus, the requirements for students being in-person and the difficulties with finding vendors to do the testing.

Starting Oct. 1, students will need to complete the Healthy Roster survey as well as providing proof of vaccination. Accepted proof will be either the vaccination sticker on their student ID, available at the Office of Student Life in the Campus Center, or by showing their vaccination card itself in order to enter buildings on campus.

Students who have an approved exemption will need to have a weekly COVID test. The testing times are currently on Mondays and Wednesdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Sports Pavilion. The college has recently switched to a new company, Biocept, which will be providing the testing for free. Testing is available to students, staff and faculty.

Individuals who have insurance will have the test charged to their provider, and those who aren’t insured will have their test billed to the federal government, which is how Biocept will be able to make a profit from the free tests.

“Getting a firm like Biocept to come out, they will only do so if they can make money off of the event,” Maas said.

She said that in order for the company to make this process cost-effective, they won’t test a small number of students — they ideally prefer 2,000 students a day.

Maas clarified that the school had asked other firms who would be willing to test small amounts of students for a couple of days of the week with no luck. Even when looking for firms they could pay for testing, the firms refused due to lack of demand and ability to make a profit.

The other reason the college chose Biocept is because of the company’s app and reporting system, which will keep track of the tests for the students who have an approved exemption.

Members of the council expressed concern for the lack of equity with the testing times, given that the scheduled times for classes are either Mondays and Wednesdays or Tuesdays and Thursdays. For the students who have classes on the latter days, they would have to make a trip to the campus solely to get tested if they have an approved exemption.

The College Planning Council will reconvene on Sept. 21.