As we welcome El Camino College’s upcoming president, the Editorial Board wants to express our gratitude to everyone who took part in the event and explored our campus. The four finalists for president have suggested some innovative proposals that they plan to implement. However, as ECC students, we have some priorities for whoever becomes the next president.
It is important for the president to maintain open lines of communication with the campus community. Students must be informed of the actions and events that have an impact on their day-to-day lives. This includes anything from construction project deadlines to fee increases, fire risks near campus or any activities taking place on campus. When students have been well informed, they are better prepared. Being willing to communicate this information with students and student media is the best way to do so.
Openness with student media is beneficial not only to contributors of The Union, but also to the community, as student media at ECC serves to inform. Furthermore, we’d like the incoming president to encourage a transparent culture among campus officials, leadership, programs, students and faculty so that the aforementioned feel comfortable sharing their perspectives.
Time on campus
The next president will need to be familiar with the campus, and walking around ECC is a good way to start. The campus is currently mostly closed due to COVID-19 but some classes are held in person. Additionally, even more classes will be held on campus next semester.
A president who knows their student body is important for students to feel like they are heard and able to communicate their opinions on issues that impact them. It would be ideal if he/she invited students to sit down with him/her in open discussions. Spending time on campus demonstrates not only a desire to be open and available but also a deliberate effort to interact with and walk among students.
El Camino College is a diverse campus of students from all walks of life, values and perspectives. Students should be exposed to new experiences and concepts on a regular basis and should be able to express themselves, no matter their age, religion, gender, sexuality, race or ethnicity. The next president of the college should embrace student-led campaigns that encourage diversity and listen to students who want to share their experiences.
According to the California Community College Chancellor’s Office Datamart (CCCCOD) during the 2019-2020 academic year, the student body was 13.8% Black, 10.2% Asian, 49.04% Hispanic and 7.87% white. Having a diverse faculty and staff is also important to ensure that students are equally represented and that there is a wealth of viewpoints for students to learn from. For instance, critical race theory (CRT) should be taught to ECC students as a key prerequisite at the start of their college careers, much like English courses. CRT discusses how people of color face racial and cultural prejudice, and instilling this awareness in students will help them see the issues surrounding race in America more clearly.
The expansion of diversity should not only be seen in students, but also in staff and faculty members of ECC. According to the 2018-2019 annual factbook of ECC, there are 178 Black employees, 241 Asian employees, 305 Hispanic employees and 634 white employees at ECC. While we cannot speak for all students of color, and don’t intend to, we believe that professorial diversity will benefit students by allowing them to connect with professors who have dealt with similar experiences in the past. Additionally, diversity in staff and leadership, especially in positions of influence at ECC will help promote equity for marginalized groups.
A safe return to campus
As of standing, the majority of classes in the fall semester of 2021 will be taught online. However, the campus eventually will open and the next president should have a solid plan in place to ensure everyone’s safety. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, vaccines will help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and keep those who do acquire the vaccine from developing potentially life-threatening symptoms. The vaccine gives people’s immune systems a strategy for fighting the virus if it gets into their bodies. Spread of the virus should be minimized if people get vaccines, follow social distancing guidelines and wear masks at all times on campus. This is important because it provides students the assurance that they will be protected while on campus.
A vaccine mandate for people who will be on campus is imperative in the prevention and reduction of the spread of COVID-19. An all-vaccinated campus seems to be on the way, with an exception for students whose medical history prohibits them from receiving a vaccine. COVID-19 could be stopped in its tracks if on-campus students and faculty are required to get vaccinated. On-campus, there should be a place for people to get vaccinated to ensure that everyone who attends, works for or teaches at El Camino College has equitable access to the vaccine.
As we look to the future of the college, we are hopeful for the strides you will make, and we look forward to seeing what you have in store for ECC.