A illustration describing the distribution of the $2.9 million dollar grant. (Illustration by: Daniel Valencia)
A illustration describing the distribution of the $2.9 million dollar grant. (Illustration by: Daniel Valencia)

Academic Senate President Eduardo Cairó has refused to sign a document that would secure a $2.9 million grant for student services unless the senate approves the report in a special session next week.

The grant money would be going towards the Student Success and Support Program (SSSP) plan. Interim Superintendent Robert Miller said that he had talked to the Chancellor of Community College’s office and they had said it “wouldn’t look good” without Cairó’s signature.

The senate had a mixed response on how to address the document at its meeting on Monday. Some senators thought that the document should be signed as soon as possible.

“I think we need to figure out how to get this thing signed,” Senator Mark Whitworth said at the meeting. “We’re talking about a lot of money here. Even if we meet next week, how is that going to get you to sign the damn document?”

Others were not against signing the document but raised objections to the manner in which the issue was presented to Cairó.

“Assuming this document is sent to [the Senate] and we read it in time and then we meet next week and all agree that it is something that our president should sign, then fabulous,” said Senator Lynora Rogacs.

“But I would like to remind this body that our jobs are not to sell our souls for $2.9 million,” she continued. “Presumably there are all sorts of nefarious, disgusting ways that we can get our hands our money, but coercing our president to sign something which this body may fundamentally disagree on should not be one of them. We can go whore ourselves out in some other rodeo.”

Cairó argued at Monday’s meeting that he would not sign a document that had his name attached to it as an author, saying that none of his input was used. However, the question of authorship seemed to be resolved Wednesday, with Cairó observing that the language he had objected to was absent from the latest version of the document.

He indicated that the decision to sign now rested with the senate as a whole.

Cairó said Monday that he was upset because he was only given 24 hours to sign the document by Cynthia Olivo, the associate vice president of Student Services. But Olivo said Cairo was notified about the report months ago and that Cairó’s feedback did impact the report.

Olivo had wanted to purchase a retention product called Starfish Retention Solution in the original SSSP plan for counseling help. Cairó said at a summer Counsel on Academic and Professional Matters (CAPM) meeting that it would be too much work. Olivo decided to take that recommendation and delete the product from plan.

“I told [Cairó] that the counseling faculty are expecting him to sign it [since he is] their president,” Olivo said. “He said ‘have them sign it.’ I did collect the full-time tenured faculty signatures to ask the chancellor’s office if they would accept their signatures instead of Cairó’s… The report specifies that it needs to be the senate president.”

The goal of SSSP would be to increase student access and success by providing counseling, advising, and other education planning services, among other things. According to Olivo, the money would also help in hiring 24 adjunct counselors.

On top of that, the grant would be able to give the counseling department a texting feature that would send a text message to tell students what time they should to return to the L Building for Drop-In Counseling. This would eliminate those 90-minute plus waits to see a counselor.

“This only benefits our students,” Associated Students President Jordyn Orozco said. “It would let them be able to do other things while waiting to be seen by a counselor… It would be a tragedy for students if this document wasn’t signed.”

The special senate meeting is scheduled for next Monday, November 10 at 3 p.m. in the Circadian. The deadline to deliver the SSSP to the Chancellor’s office is sometime next week.

 

This version corrects an earlier version that misrepresented Senator Lynora Rogacs’ comments as being opposed to signing the SSSP document. Her full, unedited remarks are now included and the Courier regrets the error.

One Reply to “Students stand to lose millions”

  1. “Notified” =/= seeing the final draft of the letter that Cairo allegedly participated in writing. Senator Rogacs has it right: Cairo was being coerced into signing off on the plan with a “Won’t somebody think of the children?” ploy. It’s unfair and manipulative.

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