A three-semester calendar for the 2013-2014 academic year, excluding any winter intersession, was presented to the Calendar Standing Committee on Jan. 31.
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The spring 2014 semester would start on Jan. 6.
The absence of a winter session on the proposed calendar ignited passionate discussion from committee members and other attendees alike.
â€œThe Board should reconsider based on the input of faculty and students,â€ said committee member Cynthia Smith. â€œThere is overwhelming evidence that [winter is to the] studentsâ€™ advantage. We are here for the students â€” for them to be successful.â€
However, Senior Vice President and committee co-chair Robert Bell continually refocused discussion to the present. â€œThe Board of Trustees â€¦ made a decision for an academic calendar at [PCC] which includes the fall, the spring, and the summer term â€” thatâ€™s where we are now,â€ he told the committee. â€œThe calendar before us is a Board approved calendar.â€
â€œNow, we can talk about the advocacy of a winter term, but I donâ€™t know if that is the singular purview of this committee.â€
Committee co-chair Krista Walter commented about the outrage that committee members felt. According to Walter, the committee felt a great sense of dissatisfaction from simply being handed a calendar that it has never seen before. â€œThis is not the calendar we worked on. â€¦ This is the Boardâ€™s invention.â€
Committee member Glenna Watterson was upset and felt that the role of the committee was undermined. â€œWe are to support the pedagogical and operational needs of the students, so we should have more to say,â€ she said. â€œThe Board doesnâ€™t approve a calendar before we recommend a calendar; this has never happened before.â€
After the meeting, committee member Matthew Henes questioned the point of having a committee when its deliberations are not even considered. â€œIt feels like we are just rubber stamping whatâ€™s given to us,â€ he said.
Committee member Loknath Persaud shared this sentiment, and remarked: â€œThis whole [process] is upside down.â€
Although discussion of a winter session dominated the meeting, Bell said that he did not think that a recommendation from the committee for another calendar would change the current predicament.
â€œI completely understand that members of this committee â€” clearly members of the [public and college community] â€” have a lot of concerns and disagreements with this calendar: one, the calendar itself, two, the process we came to arrive at the calendar, and three, the fact that we are in the position of having to make decisions with this calendar that is presented to us now,â€ Bell said. â€œPlease hear me when I say I hear that and I understand that. Again, our charge as a committee is to consider the operational dates under the calendar.â€
Towards the end of the meeting, the committee approved to identify Aug. 26 as the start of fall 2013.
Faculty Association president Roger Marheine was present at the meeting as a public attendee. “That meeting revealed great anger at the District’s tactics to bully the faculty and staff and railroad a 2013-14 calendar that faculty, staff and students have emphatically rejected,” Marheine said, via email. “PCC is the only District to eliminate its Winter entirely. All other Districts prudently waited for Proposition 30 to pass, and then offered a full slate of classes.”
“PCC failed in its educational responsibility to students, violated the trust and confidence of its faculty, and undermined the long-term academic program of our college.”
Academic Senate president Dustin Hanvey was not present at the meeting, but saw the calendar document. “I would rather have no comment at this time,” Hanvey said, via email.