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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JUMP bikes offer students discount; Solar-assisted bikes give a “boost” to students’ ride, budget

A JUMP bike parked outside of the Performing Arts Center. Megan Horn | Staff Photographer |

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s a… bike?

According to, JUMP Bike is a dockless electric bicycle sharing system operating in the United States and Germany. Sacramento partnered with JUMP to launch the first phase of a bike share program this past May which saw hundreds of electric-assist bikes distributed across the cities of Sacramento, West Sacramento and Davis.

“Originally the cities of Sacramento, West Sacramento, and Davis partnered with Social Bicycles, or SoBi, to bring a docked bikeshare system to our region. As the technology changed, so did the main companies delivering the technology. SoBi turned into JUMP and instead of heavy manual bikes, we have a fleet of fun-to-ride electric-assist bikes that are fast, convenient, and reliable.” Vice Mayor Steve Hansen explained through email on October 31.

The Sacramento area council of governments website states that there will be 900 of these electric-assist bikes distributed through the Sacramento region by years end.

“Our long-term goals are ridership and the reduction of vehicle miles travelled. Studies show that the more people we get riding bikes, the safer our roads get for everyone. The JUMP system has already been ridden a half a million miles in the system.” said Hansen via email.

A pay as you go option for JUMP bikes cost $1 for the first 15 minutes and then 7 cents every additional minute; a total of $4.15 for one hour, according to, a monthly plan costs $30 and you can use a bike for 60 minutes daily; use after the first hour is 7 cents a minute.

Not all can justify spending $4 per hour to bike ride, but JUMP offers discounts to qualifying individuals.

“They offer a student rate which is about $30 a year for an hour a day of ride time. You can use your Los Rios gmail account to sign up, thats how it identifies you as a student.” said City College’s public information officer Kaitlyn MacGregor.

The student plan is available to anyone currently enrolled in a college or university located within the Sacramento Region (University of California, Davis, California State University, Sacramento, Los Rios Community College District) according to the JUMP website.

JUMP has a “Boost Plan” that is $5 for the first year, offering 60 minutes of ride time per day for qualified residents. Cost after the first hour is 7 cents per minute. The JUMP boost plan is available to anyone currently enrolled in one of the following programs: SMUD, WIC, SHRA, PG&E Care or Cal Fresh. Details on how to enroll can be found on JUMP’s website.

Apart from the financial discount students receive by using JUMP, the option to take a bike could potentially save students time.

“I like it, I can get home from school quicker instead of walking.” said City College student Myanna Ford.

With the installation of a JUMP bike charging station next to the RT light rail on campus this past September, a plethora of bikes have been seen on and near school grounds, which means that students are utilizing this resource.

“I’ve seen them all over campus. I’ve seen them in the parking lots, I’ve seen them parked next to the parking meters. They leave them all over, that’s the thing,” says Los Rios police officer Jay Lampano. “I don’t know what the rules are and what Sacramento’s parameters are in allowing for these things to be parked anywhere but it can be bothersome for some areas.”

While the accessibility of JUMP bikes could be a benefit to many, their presence may be a hindrance to others.

“Sometimes they put it on the ramps and the ramps are being used by our ADA students. I see a lot of them though, maybe it’s an effort to keep Sacramento green, which is a good intention, but at the same time I think they should have rolled out with better provisions on where to put them so it doesn’t interfere with public safety.” said Lampano.

JUMP has rolled out a plan to incentivize users to dock the bikes in approved locations, while also ensuring the bike batteries stay charged.

“I think the goal with the charging station is that this would be a location that would always have bikes. I believe that they’re looking for ways to incentivize users to dock the bikes at the charging station when they’re starting to get low.” said MacGregor.

In an interview with Jason Calacanis on May 15, 2018, Ryan Rzepecki, founder and CEO of JUMP bike explains that you can receive credit for bringing low battery bikes to certain locations. According to Rzepecki, a $2 credit will be applied to your account for taking low battery bikes to a charging location.

“It makes me feel happy, free and makes me love where I live! It makes me feel green from not using gas.” said City College student Austin DeHerrera.


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UC transfer numbers reach record high

Representatives from over 60 universities participated in City College’s Transfer Day to teach students about admissions requirements, majors, financial aid and other support services associated with the transfer process.
Aaron Zhang | Staff Photographer |

The University of California admitted a record number transfer students in the fall of 2018, most from California, bringing its California undergraduate numbers higher than at any point in its history.

According to data published online on the University of California office of the president website, From 2017-2018 UC systems saw an 8.14 percent increase in California transfer student admissions. Of those 28,755 total transfer students, over 26,000 came from California community colleges.

In an effort to expand access for California residents, the UC System anticipates it will surpass its goal of admitting an additional 10,000 Californians by end of the 2018-2019 school year, according to University of California office of the president website.

Research shows that for the fall 2018 semester UC systems admitted a total of 24,568 California community college transfer students. UC’s current transfer student enrollment is at an all-time high and will continue to grow, according to UCOP.

California community college students who are considering applying to a UC campus should begin a UC Transfer Admission Planner account their first semester in college, said Maristella Bacod, City College’s transfer coordinator, or as soon as they choose to pursue transfer admission into a UC.

According to the University of California’s admissions page, there are two different programs designed to assist students in the transfer process. The Transfer Admission Planner (TAP) and the Transfer Admission Guarantee (TAG).

The TAP is an online tool used to assist students in tracking their progress toward meeting UC admission requirements. Students log their coursework and grades every semester, and the TAP tool will calculate the GPA required to transfer and provides a summary of courses that satisfies minimum UC requirements.

The UC TAP tool is important because it’s also the application to submit a UC Transfer Admission Guarantee, according to Bacod. When the time comes for a student to apply to a UC, all coursework and grades from the TAP can be uploaded into the UC application, saving the student the time and trouble of re-entering their coursework and grades.

There are six UC campuses that accept the TAG: Davis, Irvine, Merced, Riverside, Santa Barbara and Santa Cruz, according to Bacod.

“Each UC campus determines their TAG criteria — such as GPA,” Bacod said in an email. “For example, UC Irvine requires a 3.4 UC GPA while UC Santa Cruz requires a 3.2 UC GPA.”

City College student Juan Alvarez Mendoza is currently studying two majors, communications and sociology, as well as a minor in Spanish and plans to transfer to UC Davis spring 2019. Mendoza has participated in the TAG program to gain admittance to UC Davis and is completing his final classes this semester. While there are a variety of different colleges as transfer options, Mendoza sees the UC route as a welcomed challenge.

“I learn best when I’m challenged, and I personally feel that I will have more opportunities upon graduating from a UC system,” Mendoza said.

There are many resources at City College for students wishing to transfer, according to Bacod, many student outreach programs aim to increase transfer outcomes such as MESA, Puente Project, Umoja-SBA, Extended Opportunity Programs and Services, and the Respect, Integrity, Self-determination & Education.

In addition to these programs, City College’s Transfer Center offers services for students wishing to transfer, including visits with UC representatives, various workshops and campus tours. In the fall, the Transfer Center coordinates “Transfer Day” where over 60 university representatives visit City College to provide information to students about transfer requirements and information about programs at their university.

The staff in the Transfer Center work together as a team to provide students with the information and support needed to understand the transfer process, according to Bacod, and welcomes all students whose goal is to transfer.

“The goal of the Transfer Center remains the same, to provide current transfer information to help students know their options and opportunities when transferring to a university,” Bacod said.

Knowledge is power, according to Mendoza, and he said he wants to use that power for the greater good. “I strive to change the world—that’s what I want to do,” Mendoza said.

“I want to empower my community, educate my community and unify my community. In order for me to be able to do so I need to be in a place which is diverse and a place that can help me get to where I want to be.”


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