The campus community has spoken, loud and clear. It is time for the administration to actively listen.
An outpouring of discontent greeted members of the Board of Trustees last week, mostly as a result of the change to the college calendar and the way it was handled. The damage has been extensive and unnecessary, but it is not irreversible. Winter session must be reinstated.
In a thoroughly documented proposal, the Calendar Standing Committee recommended a calendar with winter session be adopted for 2013-14 to support the needs of the PCC community. It cited statistical data showing that enrollment, retention and success rates are significantly higher with a winter session in place.
Separately, the Ad-hoc Faculty Committee presented the results of its poll showing that over 90 percent of surveyed faculty had no confidence in the administration, mostly because of the calendar change which is said to have â€œimpeded student success, violated student and faculty trust, and, in general, brought about destructive rather than constructive change at the college while consistently ignoring the concerns of students, staff and faculty members.â€
The presence of a winter session is crucial to all students, granting them a balance that cannot otherwise be achieved with the three-semester calendar. Winter gives students the opportunity to continue taking courses to speed up their transfer time, or students could enjoy an extended break. Additionally, many students could fully dedicate time and energy to working, without having to worry about a hefty academic schedule. These benefits have been lost because of the calendar change.
The college calendar has been in an ongoing state of flux as terms like â€œsummer oneâ€ and â€œextended springâ€ are tossed around. Following the elimination of winter the administration has continuously struggled to create a concrete calendar. Questions have arisen about these classes and whether they will be transferable for fall admission at CSU and UC campuses. Students, faculty and staff are unsure when classes will start, and what classes will be scheduled. It seems like even the administration is unsure of what is going on.
Not only have students been deprived of a stable and concrete schedule, faculty are impacted as well. Some faculty members work as adjunct instructors at other colleges, and cannot plan their schedules accordingly, depriving them of a major source of salary.
In addition, at last weekâ€™s Board meeting, the Associated Students Board presented two resolutions it had passed expressing no confidence in the administration and seeking the removal of the President. The resolutions also stated that staff and students have endured significant problems because of the removal of winter session and the way the change was implemented.
At an extensive two-hour Academic Senate meeting on Monday, President Mark Rocha failed to adequately answer almost any of the dozens of questions put to him by Senate members and visitors alike.
Rocha evaded a direct question about whether he considered the elimination of winter an error of judgment.
The proposed 2013 -14 â€œofficialâ€ calendar without a winter session continues to be a great source of distress to the campus. The relationship between the college community and the administration and Board of Trustees has become very strained.
The quickest and least painful way for the administration to defuse this crisis of confidence would be for it to immediately propose an official 2013-14 college calendar that includes a winter session. We urge it to do so without delay.