The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

Who can the El Camino community call for complaints, suggestions?

Angel Flores | Special to The Union

El Camino College needs a better way for students to contact the administration when they have questions or concerns.

It needs to be centralized, easy to find and painless to use.

The easiest way to accomplish this is by having a suggestion and complaint box, physical and virtual, both in places that are easily accessible by everyone.

It is then the job of the college to reach out and refer the sender to the appropriate office.

Depending on the question, students have different ways of reaching out to the college.

But do they always know who they can ask?

Some resources are easier to find than others.

They can call the El Camino College Police Department if they are worried about campus safety, contact the Counseling Office for academic help and visit the Student Health Center for Mental Health Services.

What about general questions or complaints that can’t fit into one category?

What if a student or staff member wanted to report a broken water fountain, a restroom that is always dirty or a lack of menstrual products? What if they wanted feedback on the recent updates to MyECC Portal?

It’s challenging to contact the Board at Trustees because its webpage doesn’t provide a phone number or email address.

In comparison, the Board of Trustees pages for Pierce College, Long Beach City College and Cerritos College have published the phone numbers for their members. While Santa Monica College does not provide these numbers, it has a phone number anyone can use to call its district office.

Students can talk to the division offices because their contact information is easily available. These are faculty and staff hired by the college.

Yet, at the same time, they can’t readily contact the Board of Trustees even though its members were elected by the community.

One has to have eagle eyes to find the email of Rose Mahowald on the Board of Trustees’ BoardDocs page. She is El Camino President Brenda Thames’ executive assistant.

The Academic Senate is also hard to reach because its contact information isn’t available online.

Unlike the Board of Trustees, which publishes the names of members, the area they represent and their term expiration date on the website, there is little to no information on who is serving on the Academic Senate, their position or even a general phone line or office location to drop in for a visit.

Students can only find information about upcoming Academic Senate meetings through a link on its webpage, which takes them to a BoardDocs page. The page isn’t updated with forthcoming meeting dates; the latest entry is for the last session on March 19.

One has to read the fine print on BoardDocs to find the email and phone number of Academic Senate President Charlene Brewer-Smith.

The Associated Students Organization serves as the bridge between students and the college.

ASO encourages students to meet and sit down with its representatives during office hours.

But can we shift the burden of listening to student voices to students themselves? The ASO can only do so much to address student concerns; it is ultimately the college’s responsibility.

El Camino needs to let students and the community know they are open to questions and suggestions.

Make it easy for students to contact the administration on a platform that is visible and accessible to all. This means, at the very least, adding reliable contact information on their respective web pages.

Otherwise, how can El Camino improve campus life when the community it is supposed to serve doesn’t know whom to reach out to?

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