Incoming SBCC Academic Senate president ready to stand for equity

Melanie+Eckford-Prossor%2C+new+City+College+academic+senate+president%2C+poses+by+West+Campuss+fountain+on+April+20+in+Santa+Barbara%2C+Calif.+Although+the+new+president+did+not+run%2C+she+still+won+by+write+in+vote+and+ended+up+accepting+the+role.

August Lawrence

Melanie Eckford-Prossor, new City College academic senate president, poses by West Campus’s fountain on April 20 in Santa Barbara, Calif. Although the new president did not run, she still won by write in vote and ended up accepting the role.

Melissa Garcia, Staff Writer

Beginning in the fall, English professor Melanie Eckford-Prossor will succeed Raeanne Napoleon as president of the City College Academic Senate.

Napoleon announced her resignation at the senate meeting that was held on Wednesday, March 9. An election was held among the faculty to determine her replacement, with Eckford-Prossor winning the vote as a write-in candidate.

“I think I’ve done a really good job of challenging the power-hoarding structure that has been on campus for years,” Napoleon said. “Making sure new voices, especially voices from marginalized identities, have had a chance in those important roles where we can do things differently.”

Napoleon continued to discuss what she feels are the biggest accomplishments she’s completed as president.

She is proud of her transparency and honesty, and pushing for the vaccine mandate on campus. 

Other achievements include the work the senate has done overhauling the hiring practices to have a more anti-racist lens, and making faculty appointments to hiring committees and chairs.

“Some of my biggest accomplishments are not necessarily procedure in policy, but rather creating space for a lot of people who have been marginalized and disrespected, and pushed aside on campus for a really long time,” Napoleon said.

The president said that due to three grievances against her, multiple people slandering and lying against her, and an investigation over the summer with accusations of racism when she was asking questions about air quality for returning to campus, she will not be completing the second term. 

“I think that choice is important to share governance,” Eckford-Prossor said. “I want to serve the college and support the equity and anti-racist efforts of my colleagues.”

The incoming senate president said she is interested in continuing the new hiring policies and excited about Wood-Harris courses coming to campus. Wood-Harris is a consulting company by Frank Harris III and J. Luke Wood that trained faculty in new practices for teaching and communicating with students who have had a difficult experience in online courses. Eckford-Prosser wants to use what City College’s community learns from them as a guide for her in how to serve the college.

For her, students are at the center of everything the faculty does, and all voices on campus need to be heard.

“I want to hear everyone’s voice. I want to be a conduit for faculty concerns rather than my concerns driving anything,” Eckford-Prossor said. “Equity and antiracism, absolutely that’s central but if there’s something that the faculty thinks is important then that’s what we need to talk about.”

She said she wants to hear from people so they can work together to improve things for everyone, especially the students. 

“I really hope this new senate benefits from all the knowledge that the previous senate has done,“ she said. “I definitely want to continue focusing on equity and would like it to be a place that inspires everyone.”

The Academic Senate has its final scheduled meeting for the Spring 2022 semester on Wednesday, April 27.