Letter to the Editor: Academic Senate President responds

Editor’s Note: Students, employees and other members of the El Camino College community outside the journalism staff are also invited to submit letters to the editor for consideration as per The Union’s policy. All letters are subject to editing for length, grammar and style. They must be free of libel and in good taste. Publication or rejection of any column is at the sole discretion of the editorial board. 


I apologize for not reaching out sooner, I have been traveling the last two weeks and am just getting caught up with everything now.  But, I did want to touch base and give some feedback about the story “Tempers flare during presentation as Academic Affairs maps out new enrollment plan” that was published in the April 5, 2023 issue of The Union.  

To start, I wanted to express my heartfelt appreciation for your and your fellow journalists’ commitment to covering our senate meetings.  I really appreciate you spreading the word about our work and on the whole I think you all do a fantastic job with your writing.  

That being said, I did want to express a concern about the fact that I was not contacted for a comment about this article, as the title and caption led to many faculty colleagues who did not attend the meeting reaching out to me to ask about what was perceived from the article as an argument/altercation with another faculty member.

The reality was that I was doing my job as the chair of the meeting trying to keep order and follow California Education Code and Title 5 (state law) regarding what we are allowed to agendize and discuss at senate meetings. 

The point raised by the other faculty member was a contract issue, which we are not legally allowed to discuss at the senate.  

Thus, I am required to stop the conversation whether I agree with the speaker’s sentiment or not.  

I know the speaker was frustrated by this and responded emotionally, but I personally was not angry or emotional at all, I was simply doing my job, uncomfortable as it may be at times.  

I make this point because the article led to several emails, phone calls and texts that I had to respond to about what happened, which took time away from my work with my students and the senate during a very busy time to handle.  

While I was able to talk to folks and there are no ongoing issues, in the future I would really appreciate it if The Union would reach out to me or other senate leaders for comment before characterizing our interactions at senate meetings in provocative ways that lead to a lot of follow up work for us.   

I personally have never denied an interview with a student reporter, and The Union’s News Editor is aware I have talked to students at night, on weekends or whenever we can find a few minutes to talk.  

While I strongly believe in the First Amendment right to freedom of the press and will never try to tell a student or other journalist what to write or what not to write, sometimes I’m able to provide valuable context that can help frame a story in an accurate way (I think I may have been able to do that in this case).  

In the future, if The Union wouldn’t mind reaching out for a clarification from the senate leader to confirm facts, quotes and to check for accuracy, we would really appreciate it.  

I want to reiterate that I remain a strong supporter of The Union and all our student journalists and that I am in no way angry about what happened, I just feel that there is a teachable moment here and if I don’t say anything that moment may be lost. 

 Keep up the great work and I look forward to seeing you on campus and reading your work in the future.