The College Planning Council spent the bulk of Thursday’s meeting hearing concerns about City College’s current equity climate and complaints on the lack of visible steps on the administration’s part.
In 2019, the school issued a survey asking staff about their personal experiences with systemic inequity at City College and how it affects them personally. The survey exposed mass inequality, establishing the start of town halls addressing systemic inequity as a whole.
Many members of the staff say they feel like not enough has been done to address these issues.
“It feels like there are responses led by staff members, but the institutional support is lacking,” DSPS counselor Ana Garcia said. “I wanted to see if anyone has items they think fit under the institutional response to the survey.”
There are some, like Garcia, who say the administration is dragging its feet when it comes to addressing equity issues.
“I want to acknowledge Ana Garcia, a part time-worker and woman of color, for bringing this to CPC and the power dynamic that’s there,” Academic Senate President Raeanne Napoleon said. Napoleon also acknowledged this has been a problem for an extended period. “Why, in fall 2021, is she asking for this after a couple of years of, let’s say, ‘hiatus’ on this?”
The formation of a diversity task force was on the agenda to meet such needs.
However, the task force received mixed reviews and its sincerity and timing were brought into question.
“I want to push back on the narrative that this workgroup is the solution,” Napoleon said. “It may be one part, it’s definitely not the solution.”
Garcia said the survey results show a clear lack of trust within the community.
“I think Ana’s asking much larger questions than a workgroup can address,” Napoleon said.
Interim Superintendent-President Kindred Murillo said she heard all concerns and her number one priority is combating inequity.
Murillo said she supports the task force and is looking into hiring professionals to help in her efforts to take action. Murillo told The Channels she supports forming employee focus groups by race and ethnicity to ensure an understanding of all communities at City College and sending out another survey that includes both staff and students.
“Talking is part of it… healing from certain incidents,” Murillo said. “If we don’t do that work it’s not something we can work through… Anti-racism is personal work.”
Napoleon said she appreciated Murillo’s sentiments, but said another survey wasn’t necessary since all the information was already gathered.
“We told our stories and now those stories are being disregarded,” Napoleon said. “I was hoping to have more input from leadership… I want to hear from leadership on their dedication to this work.”
Murillo gave each dean a chance to explain what they each were doing and to outline any future plans.
“I’ve been committed to [equity work] for 27 years,” Interim Vice President of Educational Programs Kathy Scott said. “There’s issues with trust between [staff and] administration, it’s a matter of developing a respectful climate starting from the top.”
The task force proposal was held off for later discussion with the understanding that a real effort would be put forward to improve diversity and equity at City College.
“This is doable work if you’re committed to it,” Murillo said. “If you are not committed you probably won’t like working with me.”
The College Planning Council will reconvene on Nov. 2.
Correction, Oct. 25, 2021
An earlier version of this story misspelled Interim Superintendent-President Kindred Murillo’s name. This has since been corrected.