CPC turns to outside sources for identifying and improving equity

CPC+turns+to+outside+sources+for+identifying+and+improving+equity

August Lawrence, Associate Editor

When problems get out of hand you bring in professionals, and that’s exactly what the College Planning Council did in its April 19 meeting.

Interim Superintendent-President Kindred Murillo introduced Frank Harris and Luke Wood from San Diego State University’s Equity Assessment Lab to the CPC — the advising group to the superintendent-president — to help address some of the issues of racism and inequality within the college’s community.

“I wanted to turn it over to [Harris],” Murillo said, “to let you make comments and gather input you feel necessary to provide effective consolation.”

As a way of acknowledging systemic racism and inequity, City College instituted town halls to hear grievances from faculty and staff.

The two experts were invited to provide guidance, external expertise and share past experiences they found useful.

Harris said they offered help with professional learning of new techniques, provided effective consultation with problem solving and effective communication, and could help collect data needed to find out where energy needs to be focused most.

Harris asked, “Where do you want to be?” and “Where do you want to see the climate of the institution?”

He said the road to togetherness is tough but he could help guide them there.

Academic Senate Vice President Ana Garcia voiced concerns.

Garcia said diversification of the president’s cabinet is needed for an increased understanding of leaders in championing and supporting certain groups.

Senate President Raeanne Napoleon brought up that, in the past, whenever anybody issued complaints through correct channels they were met with resistance. She emphasized the need for systemic change in the ways problems were dealt with.

“We do need to enroll anti-racism work into the structure, also acknowledging those structures are at a tension with some of what will happen,” the senate president said.

Napoleon also said the campus community was sensitive and fragile.

“Facts land as personal attacks,” Napoleon said while asking how to move forward.

“I would like to see us move from a relationship of ‘nice’ and trying to build trust and meaningful relationships,” Garcia said. “So we do have capacity for generative conflict.”

After listening to members of the planning council, Harris asked, “How do we engage authentically, extend grace, but also hold folks accountable? How do we create the norms and build the trust and start a climate with critical and collegial conversations?”

Harris said he and Wood will work with City College over the next year or so.

Christopher Johnson, associate dean of student affairs, told the council of plans for the upcoming commencement.

“This year we get to celebrate accomplishments, achievements and completion,” Johnson said.

This is the first in-person commencement since COVID-19 forced the school to halt in-person instruction. Johnson said safety requirements will follow college requirements and “at this time there are none.”

The ceremony is at 5 p.m. on Friday, May 13 at City College’s La Playa Stadium.

Not only will the class of 2022 graduates be honored, but alumni from 2020 and 2021 who couldn’t walk due to COVID-19 are welcome to participate as well. Live Spanish interpretation translation headsets will be offered, as well as American Sign Language interpretations. The event will be live-streamed with Spanish interpretation available.

“Just to let everybody know we are live and in-person,” the student affairs dean said.

The CPC will reconvene for its final meeting of the semester on Tuesday, May 3.