El Camino College Academic Senate votes to add three holidays to the academic calendar

The El Camino College Academic Senate voted to add Indigenous People’s Day, Cesar Chavez Day and Juneteenth to the academic calendar.

The vote was held during the Dec. 7 Academic Senate (AS) meeting. The proposal will still need to be negotiated with staff and faculty unions.

Darcie McClelland, Academic Senate president and associate professor of biology said the goal is to begin recognizing the holidays during the 2022-2023 school year.

“We are going to push as hard as we can,” McClelland said.

The El Camino College (ECC) Board of Trustees (BOT) and the AS have faced criticism for not recognizing the holidays sooner.

Indigenous People’s Day was pushed by generations of tribal leaders, and first officially enacted by South Dakota in 1989 when that state replaced Columbus Day with “Native American Day” and required that the holiday be added to the state calendar starting in 1990.

Cesar Chavez Day was first signed into law by then CA Governor Gray Davis on Aug. 18, 2000 and quickly spread to several other states.

Juneteenth – first celebrated the Black residents of Galveston Texas at the end of the Civil War in 1865 – was just enacted as a federal holiday in June, 2021 by Congress and President Joe Biden.

The Academic Senate vote was 22-1 in favor of this change.

In a related vote, the AS unanimously passed a land acknowledgement syllabus introduced by Senator Analu Josephides, ECC librarian and AS vice president of equity, inclusion and diversity and by Senator Yun Chu, human development professor.

Editor’s Note: Story updated to include author byline on Dec. 9 at 12:23 p.m.