The California of Community Colleges, Chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley, hosted a teleconference call via zoom, on Sept. 24, for California Community College Student Newspaper and Radio Representatives.
This quarterly teleconference is a way to help students stay up to date with current events going on within the system. Chancellor Oakley took this time to provide information involving the census count as well.
“That count reflects the need of our communities and so that the federal government can provide us adequate support going forward in the future,” Oakley said.
He encouraged students to vote on Nov. 3 and shared the significance of Proposition 16, which would repeal Proposition 209.
“The only way we are going to change the narrative going forward is if each of us shows up and votes. I’m just here to make sure you all are aware of the importance Proposition 16 is to our future as our student body continues to be diverse,” Oakley said. “We want to ensure that we can do everything possible to support every student from every background and ensure that faculty and staff represent the diversity that you bring to the classroom.”
Chancellor Oakley also discussed that enrollments across the country are down in community colleges as well as Universities.
“The fall enrollment is much softer than we had hoped for. While the gap continues to close every week that we’re open, we’re seeing around a five to seven percent decline so far,” he said.
As the semester goes on and we head into 2021, they hope to see that gap close as enrollment numbers are collected in California and continue to work towards making school a very flexible environment for students and employed adults.
“We need to get the word out to as many students as possible to stay enrolled,” he said.
Moving forward with his discussion, Chancellor Oakley wanted to bring light to the racial reckoning that is happening throughout the country and how the California Community Colleges will continue to do their part in making a change.
“We have to take hold of this moment and make sure we are doing everything possible to change the direction of systemic racism in our system and in our communities,” he said.
He ensured that the California Community Colleges are having that open communication with students, staff, and faculty.
“We have challenged our college leadership, our faculty, and our staff throughout the system to have an honest dialogue and reflection about where we are with race and ethnicity in our colleges and our classrooms,” Oakley said. “To take stock and audit our classroom culture, to look at our law enforcement training and education programs, and to begin to identify areas of the curriculum that we need to reform.”
Students will be getting more information about these issues and changes on their college campuses.
“We feel very strongly that students should be at the center of these conversations. It is you that are experiencing most closely, the unrest that everybody is experiencing right now,” he said.
California Community Colleges will be hosting their annual event for Undocumented Student Action Week this October and will highlight the importance of the challenges undocumented students and their families face.