Mohr Hall on track for fall 2020 occupation

The old Mohr Hall is the process of being demolished next to the new Mohr Hall under construction Friday, Sept. 20, 2019. (Photo by Sara Nevis|Photo Editor|

By Danielle McKinney & Rose Vega

The brick wall of a portion of old Mohr Hall, which contained City College’s nursing, allied health, geology and physics departments, stands half intact amid a pile of rubble neighboring the rising structure, the new Mohr Hall. 

Construction began in September 2018 and ever since, Los Rios Facilities Planning and Engineering Specialist Charlie Uhlymer and his teamhave been working full days to bring the project to completion. 

“My overall role is from conception to end of construction,” said Uhlymer. “I came into this project during design development, and I just helped push the project through construction documents and now we’re in construction.” 

The new Mohr Hall is projected to be completed in March 2020 and will continue to house its original departments, with classes set to resume in the fall semester, according to Los Rios Director of Facility Planning and Construction Dan McKechnie. 

“We’re really lucky to have the team we have here on this campus. It’s making this job go really smooth,” said McKechnie. 

Construction began with a partial tear-down of the old Mohr Hall, which was completed in 1962. A complete tear-down was not an option as the electrical unit that powers Mohr Hall also is the power source for Lillard Hall, according to McKechnie. The remaining section of old Mohr Hall still stands to provide power to Lillard Hall and avoid displacing more people, he said. 

Plans are still in review for new Lillard Hall, which was built in the 1960’s around the same time as Mohr hall and named after City College’s first president Jeremiah B. Lilliard.

“It’s like a hopscotch kind of thing. We tore down a portion of Mohr Hall, built new Mohr Hall, tear down the rest of old Mohr Hall, which leaves a blank spot,” said McKechnie. “We’ll build new Lillard Hall there [on the blank spot], and then once new Lillard Hall is completely constructed, we’ll tear down old Lillard Hall.”  

The new Mohr Hall designed by Dreyfuss + Blackford Architecture will be a 28,373-square-foot, environmentally sustainable building. The $17 million project began construction Sept. 12, 2018. The building which is Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certified will include low flow water fixtures, no volatile organic compound finishes, water bottle filling station and energy-efficient mechanical and electrical systems, according to City College Communications and Public Information Officer, Kaitlyn Collignon.

The team has an on-site state building inspector who works under the direction of architects and engineers. James Derrick has been a state building inspector for the past 26 years and said he enjoys his job.    

“I get to climb on beams and stuff. I get to rappel down from the roof, inspect nailing. It’s just a fun job I have,” said Derrick.

When it comes to construction, a solid team is as important as a sturdy foundation, according to McKechnie.  

“Everyone has the same end goal, which is to get done, get it [building] occupied and move on. And build a project that we don’t have to come back to,” said McKechnie.

He added that while no construction job is without setbacks, this project has operated quite smoothly.

“When you come into a large job, a multi-million dollar job like this one, you expect to have setbacks, but generally I would say they’ve all just been challenges that have been met and moved on from,” said McKechnie. 

Derrick said that when there have been setbacks, the team is swift to address the issue.  

“If I find something that not quite per the plan or codes or something and I bring it up, they’re very quick to fix it,” said Derrick.

City College President returns to campus after car accident

City College President Michael Gutierrez has returned to campus on a limited basis after spending the last six weeks healing after a car accident that left him with major injuries. He is pictured here in the Quad Sept. 2017. Photo by Bobby Castagna

Oct. 12 will mark two months since the four-car collision that left City College President Michael Gutierrez with a concussion, a lacerated liver, four compressed back fractures and 15 fractured ribs. 

In an Oct. 1 email to the City College community, Gutierrez announced his return to campus on a limited basis. 

“I am starting off really part-time—four hours a day,” said Gutierrez, the faintest scar still visible on his forehead. “I can tell you that day one while I felt fine, by the end of the day I was pretty tired, I was pretty whipped actually.”

After six weeks of focusing on his healing at home, the president is on the mend and adjusting to being back on campus. 

“As I was walking into the building, it was [with] some mixed emotions because it was a little bit of excitement mixed with nervousness mixed with even a little bit of doubt—not in my abilities as much as ‘Am I going to get tired after 30 minutes? Am I going to stay focused during the entire day?’ Am I going to be able to connect the dots with information like i used to before?’” said Gutierrez. 

”Once I made my way up the stairs, I saw two or three people that smiled at me when I came in, and all of those emotions I had kind of went away and changed to just joy being here. I’m really happy to be back.” 

Gutierrez said that while he has made significant progress as far as his healing is concerned, he is still taking things day by day. 

“Everything has healed from the outside, for the most part,” said Gutierrez. “I’ve got some scars on different parts of my face and my arms and my back. It’s really the inside that’s still not quite right. But it is what it is right now. I’m grateful.” 

“You just kind of plug away day in and day out and you try to keep negativity out of your head and thats what im trying to do,” said Gutierrez. “Even as bad as it was, it still could have been worse.”

Gutierrez said that the amount of love and support he received during his time recovering after the accident was heartwarming and overwhelming.

“My family has been really just tremendous and really supportive and helpful. The college community have all been incredibly supportive, and it’s ranged from cards, emails, flowers to people cooking meals for me and the family,” said Gutierrez. 

“It was so helpful because sometimes it’s hard to say yes—we have a lot of pride, and were like, ‘What have we done to deserve this attention?’ But people are genuinely giving individuals. My family and I talked a lot about this, and we know that if one of our loved ones or friends were in this situation, we would be giving, too. We just happened to be in this situation, and it’s OK to say, ‘Yes, thank you.’”

Gutierrez’s vehicle was rear-ended on the Yolo Causeway as he was enroute to City College’s Davis Center. He got behind the wheel for the first time last week since the accident and said he felt like a teenager who had just started driving. 

“It had been awhile,” he admitted. “I had some butterflies getting on the road. I drove to go get a haircut with my son, and on the drive back I really didn’t even think about it, so it was better.”

Since Gutierrez has been back on campus for eight days, he said he is starting to feel settled in. He said that while he isn’t quite where he was physically before the collision and still has some healing to do, he knows he will recover. 

“I really feel like I’m back at Sac City and an employee, and I really feel part of the college again,” said Gutierrez. “It took a little bit because I just didn’t have the endurance—and I still don’t—but I’ll ease myself in little by little.”

City College president continues to recover after car accident

City College President Michael Gutierrez’s video message at the Fall 2019 Convocation at the Performing Arts Center at City College on Friday, August 23, 2019. Photo by Sara Nevis | Photo Editor |

By Danielle McKinney & Rose Vega

City College President Michael Gutierrez has been on the road to recovery and remains optimistic since being released from the hospital Aug. 14. 

“All things considered, I feel very blessed,” Gutierrez said Friday in his first phone interview since the accident. 

He suffered a concussion, a lacerated liver, four compressed back fractures and 15 rib fractures in a four-car accident Monday, Aug.12. 

Gutierrez was driving westbound on Highway 50 headed toward the City College Davis Center when he was hit from behind, although he said he doesn’t recall much of the accident. 

“When I first started to wake up, I thought I was dreaming,” said Guiterrez, who added that he remembers hearing people saying that his car had been struck in a collision. 

“I started taking inventory: ‘Do I have all my limbs? I think I do. Oh, my God, I have all my teeth,’” he recalled. “I could sense myself feeling short of breath and hurt on the chest area.” 

Guiterrez said that his recovery has been slow but going well, and he has been encouraged by his doctors to start walking more. 

“I was able to sit down in the morning and put on my socks by myself and my shoes by myself,” said Guiterrez, “which is a huge accomplishment to me to be able to do that.” 

He said that while even simple things are difficult for him right now, he is grateful to be alive. 

“Having the outpour[ing] of support, the well wishes, prayers, good vibes, all of that—there are times when I want to become really emotional and just so grateful, and it hurts [physically] when I feel that,” he said. “The feelings that I get of the love that I’ve been given… I really have no words for that.” 

Gutierrez made a brief video appearance during convocation Friday. The campus community acknowledged his accident during convocation Friday, with speakers, among them Chancellor Brian King and acting President Albert Garcia, expressing their continued support for Gutierrez’s recovery. Fall semester classes begin Saturday, Aug. 24, with most students returning Monday, Aug. 26.

Guiterrez said he looks forward to returning to work and that the accident has reassured him about his purpose. 

“I know doing what I do—working at community colleges, working so that our students are able to fulfill their opportunities and their goals—I know I’m doing the right thing in my life,” said Guiterrez. “And that’s what I want to do, and I’m more sure of that than ever before.”

City College president released from hospital and healing at home

City College President Michael Gutierrez is beginning his recovery process at home after sustaining injuries in a car accident Monday Aug. 12. Gutierrez is pictured here speaking at the Mohr Hall groundbreaking ceremony Sept. 12, 2018. Photo by Phoenix Kanada

City College President Michael Gutierrez was released from the hospital Aug. 14 and is now home starting his recovery. 

Los Rios Chancellor Brian King sent an email update on Gutierrez’s condition to the campus community Aug. 15 stating, “The well-being of Michael Gutierrez and his family has been at the center of my thoughts all week. The news of his terrifying accident was jarring and has certainly impacted us all. We are heartened by early signs of Michael’s improvement and grateful that, given the nature of the accident, his injuries weren’t far worse. Despite 15 broken ribs, he was able to walk the day after the accident.”

According to King, Gutierrez and his family expressed their appreciation “for the support from their SCC and Los Rios families.” He sustained major injuries in a four-car accident the morning of Aug. 12 on westbound Hwy. 50 as he was heading for the City College Davis Center.

“The outpouring of concern and assistance from the college, district and surrounding communities has been touching, and an indication of the kind of leader and person that we have in Michael,” King said. “He is loved and respected by friends and colleagues in the capital region, throughout California and across the United States.”

King also said City College will be accepting contributions to provide food delivery services to the Gutierrez family. Donations can be made in Carrie Bray’s office in Rodda Hall North 269.

According to King, Gutierrez will be focusing “exclusively on his recovery for at least the next six weeks.” King said to ensure that Gutierrez can appropriately focus on getting better, Vice President of Instruction Dr. Albert Garcia has been appointed acting president.

“It’s important that we give Michael space to focus on his recovery and know that college and district leaders have things well in hand. We are fortunate to have a great leadership team at SCC with Albert, Vice President of Administration Carrie Bray and Interim Vice President of Student Services Dr. Davin Brown, as well as incredibly talented and committed faculty and staff,” said King. “We know the college won’t miss a beat as we prepare for the beginning of another semester.”

According to The Sacramento Bee, which did not name Gutierrez in the initial story, a car driving in the fast lane struck Gutierrez’s car, which was stopped in traffic near Harbor Boulevard.

The Bee reported that the driver of the car stopped in traffic was taken to UCDMC with major injuries.

City College Communications and Public Information Officer Kaitlyn MacGregor said the president’s office has several get well cards available for anyone in the campus community who would like to send well wishes to Gutierrez. People may also drop off cards at the president’s office (Rodda North 277) that will be delivered to Gutierrez.

According to MacGregor, Los Rios Chancellor Brian King stopped by the hospital the day of the accident to offer support to Gutierrez and his family. MacGregor said City College will do whatever is necessary to help Gutierrez and his wife and two children through this ordeal.

King said it was evident Gutierrez has enormous confidence in the City College administration, faculty and staff and “their ability to kick off the 2019-20 school year with the same passion and energy that [Gutierrez] always brings.”

City College president’s condition improves after car accident

City College President Michael Gutierrez has been hospitalized after a car accident Monday Aug. 12. Gutierrez is pictured here in a conference room in Rodda Hall North Aug. 10, 2017. |Jason Pierce |

City College President Michael Gutierrez was moved out of intensive care and onto a regular floor at UC Davis Medical Center the day after he sustained injuries in a four-car accident Monday, Aug. 12.

In an Aug. 13 email to the campus community City College Communications and Public Information Officer Kaitlyn MacGregor wrote, “While [Gutierrez’s] injuries are significant, we are optimistic about his recovery.” She said that the move from intensive care was “a good indication of his improving condition, and we hope he will be home soon.”

MacGregor said that the team of City College vice presidents who are temporarily in charge of the campus visited Gutierrez and his family in the hospital. They said that Gutierrez was “in good spirits.”

The accident occurred Monday morning as Gutierrez was driving westbound on Hwy. 50 to the SCC Davis Center.

According to The Sacramento Bee, which did not name Gutierrez in the story, a car driving in the fast lane struck a car believed to be Gutierrez’s, which was stopped in traffic near Harbor Boulevard.

The Bee reported that the driver of the car stopped in traffic was taken to UCDMC with major injuries.

In an Aug. 12 email sent to the campus community by MacGregor wrote, “This morning, President Gutierrez was in a serious car accident and, while he is conscious and believed to be stable, he is currently at the hospital being treated for several major injuries.”

MacGregor said it is not clear how long Gutierrez, 50, will be away from campus.

“I haven’t heard anything about him having surgery,” said MacGregor. “Hopefully, we will get an update on his recovery and timeline, but I’m sure it will take at least a few days to really know the extent of his injuries.”

According to MacGregor, Los Rios Chancellor Brian King stopped by the hospital the day of the accident to offer support to Gutierrez and his family. MacGregor said City College will do whatever is necessary to help Gutierrez and his wife and two children through this ordeal.

In the interim, Vice Presidents Albert Garcia, Carrie Bray and Davin Brown will each step into a temporary role as administrator in charge of the college on different days, MacGregor said.

MacGregor said the president’s office has several get well cards available for anyone in the campus community who would like to send well wishes to Gutierrez. People may also drop off cards at the president’s office (Rodda North 277) that will be delivered to Gutierrez.

Gutierrez became president of City College in July 2017 after working in higher education in Texas since 1992, according to the City College website. Among other roles, he served as executive vice president for academic affairs and student success at Eastfield College in the Dallas Community College District. 

According to an article in published Aug. 20, 2017, Gutierrez said that he “believes strongly in the value of community colleges, and is grateful that he has the opportunity to help the community.

“‘It does feel like we are changing the lives of people in our community by allowing them the opportunity to transform,’ Gutierrez said. ‘I’m all in. It really does feel like I’m giving back to the community that I serve.’”

Gov. Gavin Newsom visits City College, shares news of second year free tuition

Governor Gavin Newsom signs bills SB 76, SB 77, and SB 93 and then speaks to assorted body of students and community about the Affordability Budget in the quad at City College on Monday, July 1, 2019. Photo by Sara Nevis | Photo Editor |

By Danielle McKinney & Rose Vega

Nearly 200 faculty, staff, students and children gathered in the City College quad July 1 to hear Gov. Gavin Newsom announce that state residents will be able to attend any California community college for free for two years as part of the 2019-2020 Affordability Budget he just signed into law.

Minutes before speakers took the stage, Newsom signed into law SB 76, SB 77 and SB 93.  SB 77, is the bill granting free tuition to community college students for a second year. Californians can already attend the first year of community college for free, after the passage in 2017 of AB19, the California College Promise program, which allocated $46 million to the state’s 114 community colleges.

“Higher education is not just CSU and UC,” said Newsom. “The first door on higher education is community college, and we are proud to have a second year of community college free.”

Newsom said that his budget for the 2019-2020 fiscal year provides $2.4 million to City College to cover student tuition. 

City College Student Senate President Kimberly Ramos made the opening remarks and introduced Anthony Rendon, speaker of the Assembly. Rendon spoke to overcoming limitations faced by government officials who seek funding to aid issues, such as health care for immigrant students, programs for homelessness and the cost of higher education. 

“I’ve been told we can’t help college students who need basics like food and shelter to go along with their academic needs. Whether it’s social services or K-12 education or work protection, we have often heard the same refrain of ‘we can’t do that,’” said Rendon. “This year we are proud to turn that around. This year we can say ‘we can do all of that.’”

According to Rendon, Newsom’s budget will expand healthcare access, increase housing production, invest in education and increase the Cal-EITC Working Families Tax Credit. 

President Pro Tempore of the California State Senate Toni Atkins expressed gratitude to everyone who worked to bring Newsom’s budget to fruition. 

“We have agreed to a budget that is bold and responsible, and I am extremely proud of the final product,” said Atkins. “Californians can look at this budget and be reassured that we have our eyes on the future—both in the goals we should strive for and the challenges we must prepare for.”

Atkins said that Newsom’s budget gives the people of California what they deserve—a budget that makes investments in their future.

“We came across with a budget that reflects the collective wisdom, not just of us, but each and every one of you,” said Newsom, adding that California values shine through in the Affordability Budget.

“We’ve got a lot of challenging issues in this state, and we have a lot of work to do, nothing no more challenging than what’s up on this board addressing the issue of affordability,” Newsom said gesturing towards a poster board outline of his Affordability Budget.

According to Newsom, California is growing faster than the United States and as a state, it is not just about growth but about inclusion. 

“We cannot live in the richest and the poorest state and live in a just society,” said Newsom. “We have got to mind that gap.”

Newsom said that he is not focusing on redistribution but rather on predistribution by seizing the opportunity gap, the readiness gap and the achievement gap. He believes that achievement starts at the beginning of life, before people enter the education system.

The Affordability Budget invests in education for Californians, paving the way to universal preschool, recruiting and retaining qualified educators and facilitating tuition freezes at the UC and CSU levels, according to Newsom.

Newsom talked about the California earned income tax credit, explaining how the budget more than doubles the investment in the Cal-EITC to $1 billion, which will increase the number of participating households from 2 million to 3 million.

According to Newsom, the Affordability Budget preserves health coverage for Californians and includes a series of proposals that reduce health care costs and increases access for families. Newsom said that he believes in universal health care. 

“California became the first state in the country today to provide subsidies for families earning as much as $150,000. They’re gonna get an average on a monthly basis $120 to help them with their Medicare costs,” said Newsom.

Newsom recognized the homelessness epidemic and spoke to the importance of mental health services in the fight against homelessness. His budget includes a $1 billion investment to provide homelessness emergency aid, increase mental health support and fund rapid rehousing and basic needs initiatives for students in the University of California, California State University and the California Community College systems.

Newsom acknowledged that there is still more work to be done, but that this budget is a solid first step to managing the affordability crisis. He said the state needs to start focusing on income and wealth disparities, help support the middle class, and address the issues of housing and homelessness in California.

“We are well on our way to a more enlightened future,” said Newsom. 

Los Rios Chancellor fields questions on student needs

Los Rios Chancellor Brian King addressing campus concerns with City College students, staff, and faculty during the Brown Bag with Brian event at the Learning Resource Center room 105 April 3. King spoke about student food inconsistency and housing, website accessibility and performance, and new faculty pay issues as well as other topics. Photo by Sara Nevis |

Faculty and administrators sipped lemonade, crunched on cookies and discussed ways to help students overcome current barriers to their higher education goals with Los Rios Community College District Chancellor Brian King April 3.

King sat on a table in the Learning Resource Center and spent an hour addressing comments and concerns as well as answering questions from the nearly 30 faculty, staff and administrators who attended the informal gathering.

The conversation started with discussion around Assembly Bill 302, a proposal that would require community colleges to grant overnight access to campus parking facilities for homeless students to sleep in their vehicles. AB 302 will be heard in the Assembly Higher Education Committee later this week.

King expressed gratitude that the conversation kicked off on topics that can benefit students.

“The biggest barriers that our students face are things like housing insecurity and food,” said King. “The illusion that free college—which means that students don’t have to pay fees—solves the problem is something that we really have to battle together. Because some of our friends in the legislature who have championed the fee payment—we need to remind them that that’s just one of many pieces of the puzzle for our students.”

According to King, City College students pay the most money out of pocket to attend school— more than a low-income, full-time student at UC Davis or Sacramento State University.

“The net cost is higher at a community college, so that’s really contrary to the perception that people have that if fees are free, problem solved—let’s go on to the next higher ed issue,” said King.

While discussing community college fees, King mentioned the Promise Program, which was signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown, that grants first-time, full-time students free tuition for their first year of community college.

“It’s wonderful that our first time full time students can attend fee-free,” said King. “But that is nowhere near the end of the struggle that our students face.”

According to King, there is proposed state legislation this year to expand financial aid, but there’s no funding stream for expanding financial aid for community college students.

“It’s one of those tough issues. If the Legislature would say that some of our operating dollars should go to student financial aid, that’s a very hard balance. The first-year free under Gov. Brown and the second year proposed by Gov. Newsom are both about $40 million that come out of community college operation dollars,” said King. “That’s a hard decision to make because if we’re providing dollars for the fees, it’s taking dollars away from filling the positions for other student needs and faculty and staff.”

King said that it’s unfortunate that the Los Rios district has to spend time looking for private resources because state funding is not what it should be.

“K-12 is funded substantially higher per student than community colleges. CSU is funded substantially higher per student than we are. UC Davis is funded substantially higher per student than CSU, and our students have the greatest needs,” said King. “It’s completely backwards. The whole system of higher education is backwards and it’s wrong. And we say that, and we advocate for it, and change is slow because our four-year partners have a lot of political power and have other revenue streams as well.”

King said that the first step is identifying that securing more state funding is a very high priority for the Los Rios district that is consistent with its values. He also said that given the fact that community colleges are not likely to have the resources that they deserve and that the students need—the district will have to keep lobbying and advocating for more funding in the Capitol.

“What we say our values are at Sac City and across the district is clear. There’s a really clear statement of values,” said King. “If there’s a dissonance between our budgeting priorities and our stated values, that’s a good thing to have a conversation about and say, ‘How can we change that?’”

King also said that the district has to have the courage to say that resources have to come from somewhere within its budget.

“Organizations like ours struggle with reallocating resources,” said King. “Now we need to reallocate the resources toward food insecurity or housing insecurity—toward equity or tutoring.”

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Student Associated Council discusses equitable use of funds for student groups

Student Senators and Executive Board Members meet to discuss spending policies. Photo by Niko Panagopoulos | Staff Photographer |

by  Danielle McKinney & Ben Irwin

After weeks of tension around the allocation of funds to student groups, the City College Student Associated Council (SAC) voted Feb. 20 to allocate up to $5,000 in matching funds to Phi Theta Kappa for members to attend a conference.

The initial controversy heated up Feb. 6 when SAC voted 14-3 to allocate an amount not to exceed $17,000 in non-matching funds from Student Representation Funds to Phi Theta Kappa—a City College chapter of the national honors society—to send up to 12 eligible students to attend the 2019 International PTK Convention in Orlando, Florida.

Six SAC board members are members of PTK, four of whom hold executive positions, according to Student Senate President Kimberly Ramos, and all of but two of whom voted for the initial $17,000 allocation and all whom voted to approve the $5,000 allocation.

However, some SAC board members raised concerns about the equitable use of the funds, money largely raised from the $1 per semester charge included in student fees.

Student Senate President Kimberly Ramos and student trustee to the Los Rios Community College board Danny Thirakul questioned the equitable use of student funds.

Ramos and Thirakul said that City College’s Black Student Union (BSU) and a student group hoping to attend a Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) Capitol Forum on Hispanic Higher Education in Washington, D.C, submitted funding requests in the fall 2018. Each group approached SAC with funds equal to their request, and received matching funds for their trips from the Student Representation Funds.

PTK, however, did not come to SAC with two requirements, according to Sheku Baryoh, City College student senator: a list of all members who would be attending the conference and matching funds, a requirement for all student groups seeking funding.

According to the funding policy in the SAC Handbook, “requester(s) must contribute at least as much as is being requested.” For example, if a group requests $100, it must demonstrate that it has already raised $100 to contribute to the project.

It is at SAC discretion to make any exceptions to this policy as stated in the SAC handbook.

“The packet that has been submitted to this board is incomplete from PTK,” said Baryoh. “Technically we should not even be discussing it and just return it back to them and say ‘submit a complete packet.’ The rules says that before any packet is submitted, it should come with the names of all members who will be attending the project. It’s not in the packet. It’s an incomplete packet, so I don’t even want to talk about it in the first place.”

Before SAC voted to reconsider the allocation of funds to PTK at the weekly SAC meeting Feb. 13, Sandra Camarena, City College economics professor and faculty chaperone adviser to the student group attending HACU, voiced her concerns during public comment.

“Of most concern to me is that the matching funds policy, as stated in the SAC Handbook was waived,” said Camarena. “Moreover, I know that the funding request I proposed to you last fall required matching funds. It is also my understanding that another request submitted by the Black Student Union was funded by your group and required matching funds.”

Also during public comment, Rukiya Bates, City College financial aid supervisor and PTK advisor, spoke about the events and activities that PTK has taken part in and expressed her support of the approval of PTK funding.

SAC voted Feb. 13 to reconsider the allocation of funds to PTK until the following week.

SAC reconvened Feb. 20 to vote on the issue. Roby Shideler, vice president of PTK at City College, spoke on the matter during public comment.

After apologizing for a lack of oversight on the funding proposal and stating that he supported the amended request of $5,000 in matching funds, Shideler vocalized some concerns with the current SAC policy on funding approval.

“When BSU asked for $3,000, they were told they needed matching funds, putting a strain on their budget,” said Shideler. “Today we are asking you not to break the status quo for our organization. We do not want the benefits that other clubs have been denied.”

Shideler said that other student organizations would agree about the issue within the Student Senate.

“We are asking that you recognize that there is a problem with how the money is spent and recognize that the status quo is limiting student opportunities on campus,” Shideler said.

Faculty Coordinator of Student Leadership and Development Kim Beyrer responded to a public comment question about PTK members on the Student Senate voting on the allocation of funds.

“[Conflict of interest] is another piece of what you need to explore,” Beyrer said. “So when you put this on your agenda and you look at redefining your funding policy, you also need to look at how do you define conflict of interest.”

Lorenzo Cuesta, professional registered parliamentarian who oversees SAC meetings and coaches students on the board on Robert’s Rules of Order, said that the board members who are part of PTK did not have a conflict of interest.

“Conflict of interest means you are getting money that’s going in your pocket for your personal interest that has nothing to do with your obligations, fiduciary duties to this board, to the students on this campus. None of you going to that conference, are going to get money to turn around and buy an iPhone or pay Uber or something,” he said.

“There is no conflict of interest—and all of you who are voting have to vote—because that is your obligation,” he said.

Cuesta continued, “As long as you are here and you are participating, you have to do your duty. If not, then you shouldn’t be a senator. Your duty is to vote. Your voice is required. Do so.”

Not everyone on the SAC board shared Cuesta’s viewpoint. After the meeting Baryoh offered his own interpretation of conflict of interest.

“It’s the intention behind it. As long as they’re gaining something because they are going to go to that trip, that’s something that they are gaining,” Baryoh said. “I’m sorry I don’t share Lorenzo’s definition of conflict of interest.”

Beyrer said after the meeting that the participation of PTK members on the SAC board created problems.

“When [the SAC] get in trouble is when they have rules that they don’t follow because then they’re perceived as being arbitrary and unfair, and that’s always going to be problematic,” said Beyrer. “That’s partly what got us into this pickle is they initially approved it, and people were like ‘Whoa, why them and not us?’ It’s perceived as being arbitrary and unfair—doesn’t even matter if it is, it’s the perception. Perception is people’s reality.”

As Beyrer reflected on the controversy, she also said the council now has the opportunity to make a change.

“It’s unfortunate we had to go through all that,” Beyrer said. “What can turn it into a positive is if they go the next step now and do their work of rewriting their policy and taking it a step further how they define and what makes a legitimate conflict of interest and how they define that.”

Ramos said she understood the opportunity for positive change.

“We are going to create the ad hoc committee to discuss and rewrite our policy regarding matching funds,” said Ramos. “I think it’s important to also add in the transparency and accountability portion into those new policies.”

Ramos also voiced the need to collectively address these concerns. “I think it’s important to as a board come together and define what conflict of interest means to all of us,” she said.

Baryoh said he had ideas about how to move forward and prevent such controversy in the future.

“I’m going to suggest at the next meeting to hold all coming funding proposals until we have put down on paper exactly our rules, make it clear what the rules are so we will not have this controversial issue anymore, so we do not approve anything until we all have agreed on a specific rule,” Baryoh said.

The next SAC meeting is Wednesday, March 6. SAC meetings are open to the public and and take place at noon in RHN 258.


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Student equity highlighted at City College Spring 2019 Convocation

Dr. Debra Crumpton addresses the crowd at the City College Spring 2019 Convocation. Photo by Niko Panagopoulos | Staff Photographer |

The beginning of a fresh semester is underway and as we enter into this new season, the weather isn’t the only thing that is changing around City College.

“A new day has come to Sac City College,” business professor Dr. Debra Crumpton told nearly 400 City College faculty, staff and administrators who met in the Performing Arts Center yesterday morning for the Spring 2019 Convocation.

After a tumultuous fall semester, City College administrators are banding together to help generate a lasting positive change on campus.

“It’s really been galvanizing this past semester in a really positive way,” said City College President Michael Gutierrez.

Keynote speaker Dr. Luke Wood, Associate Vice President of Faculty Diversity, Inclusion and Chief Diversity Officer and Dean’s Distinguished Professor of Education at San Diego State University, gave a 90-minute lecture on how to foster racial equity in education.

“A rising tide does not lift all boats,”

said Wood in a closing statement, prodding administrators, faculty and staff to think outside the box and brainstorm ways to maximize success for all City College students.

“It’s about creating awareness, identifying what our perceptions are, potentially changing perceptions and knowing that this is step one,” Gutierrez said, “Our work with Dr. Wood is just step one. He will continue to be working with us this next year. It’s going to take time but its the commitment to it and knowing that it’s not a one-and-done.”

Crumpton moderated the town hall and panel discussion with a Q & A portion that followed the keynote address.

Gutierrez, City College president; Dr. Wood, keynote speaker; Dr. Khalid White, professor of ethnic studies/African-American studies at San Jose City College; Dr. Lisa Gunderson, registered clinical counselor in Canada and licensed psychologist in the state of California; Dr. Margarita Berta-Avila education professor at California State University, Sacramento; and Nzingha S. Dugas, program manager of African-American Female Excellence (AAFE) made up the panel.

Faculty and staff were given the opportunity to anonymously write in questions, concerns or comments to the panel and have them addressed.

In response to a question asked that touched on an individual being skeptical of getting involved to help make changes because that individual feels they are being blamed for the issue, Berta-Avila stated, “What is it at the core of what we are discussing that is hurting you right now? Don’t be reactionary, get to the core of that pain of feeling blamed and at fault.”

The ongoing discussion during convocation challenged faculty and staff to look inward, check their bias and get creative about ways to bring equity home to stay at City College. Crumpton invited everyone to exercise their agency and privilege.

The conversation around ways to increase equity at City College will continue. Administrators, faculty and staff plan to work collaboratively this year to bring a sweeping wave of positive change through City College.

“We are going only into the future,” Crumpton said in her closing speech. “We are going to learn the things that we need to learn by unlearning the stuff we need to unlearn.”


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All Los Rios campuses closed due to poor air quality

City College students walk to and from classes despite the unhealthy air quality resulting from Butte County’s Camp Fire. As of Wednesday afternoon, all classes within the Los Rios Community College District are closed through Sunday.
Phoenix Kanada |

After enduring days of smoke-filled air from the Camp Fire raging in Butte County and a series of campus-wide emails circulating among City College faculty Wednesday, district officials closed all colleges for the next four days.

A RAVE alert was sent throughout the district at 3:51 p.m., saying, “Regional air conditions have not improved as anticipated, so Los Rios colleges are canceling all classes effective immediately and through the end of the week.”

For two days faculty had questioned the wisdom of keeping City College open when Sacramento State and UC Davis had closed their campuses as of Tuesday, given the unhealthy levels of air quality in the region.

“Faculty and students have been asking me why we’re open when UC Davis and CSU Sacramento made the decision to close,” said Academic Senate President Gayle Pitman in the email chain. “In particular, students attending classes at the SCC Davis Center have commented that it’s odd that UC Davis canceled classes, but classes are still being held at the Davis Center. I’ve also heard a number of students say that it feels like the college doesn’t care about them. That’s far from the truth—we care deeply about our students—but that isn’t the message they’re getting.”

According to information on AIRNow,  a website that monitors and communicates air quality in real time, Wednesday’s reading reached an air quality index of 201—considered very unhealthy. AIRNow advised that people with heart or lung disease, older adults and children should avoid all physical activity outdoors, adding that everyone should avoid prolonged or heavy exertion.

“I’d like to recommend that the college and/or district consider canceling classes for the next day or two — in line with other local area colleges,” wrote City College sociology Professor Nicholas Miller in one email. “I’ve had several students contact me about their own air quality related health problems and/or a family member’s problems that are keeping them from class.  Several of my colleagues have reported similar experiences. While class time is very precious, I wonder if holding classes is actually a disservice to our students this week.”

However, not all faculty agreed that the college should close.

“Just to play devil’s advocate here for a minute, but what difference does it make if our students are indoors at school, or indoors at home? Air quality is lousy throughout the region and cancelling classes will not change that reality,” chemistry Professor Bruce Zenner wrote in the faculty email chain.

Before the closure was announced Wednesday, masks were being passed out at the City College Health center in an effort to mitigate smoke exposure. Students were seen wearing masks and covering their mouths with scarves or their sleeves as they quickly shuffled between classes.

By late afternoon Wednesday, large numbers of people were seen leaving campus, having received word about the closure.

“RAVE alerts should have just gone out about classes being canceled,” said City College Public Information Officer Kaitlyn MacGregor. “They will be canceled through Sunday, so we’re trying to make sure everybody knows that Saturday classes are canceled, as well as Thursday and Friday. The campus itself will be closed as well.”


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