Academic Senate meeting Oct. 19 focuses on other committee issues

Blake Burton, Reporter

In addition to the usual business conducted, the Academic Senate meeting on Oct. 19 focused heavily on what occurred at the EODAC and Curriculum committee meetings, which were held the previous week.  

At EODAC, the Racial Climate Task Force was approved, but the charge wasn’t voted on, and the next EODAC meeting is postponed.

Public comments in the Senate meeting addressed the issue. Students Aaron Beal, Jordyn Davis, Hortense Taylor, Ariyana Craig, who had attended the EODAC meeting, spoke at the Senate meeting about feeling unwelcome when Professor Catherine Jones made a profane comment about their presence at the meeting. Jones also made a public comment and said she didn’t “recall” saying the F word, but if she did, she did not mean to. However, she stood by her assertion that she did not feel the students belonged at the meeting because she thought they were not there for the right reasons. (Editor’s note: students have the right to attend open meetings on campus.) 

Communication Professor Andrea Thorson read a statement from classified staff member Angela Williams who felt devalued based on comments made at that EODAC meeting. This came after it was proposed by another faculty member at that meeting that faculty should have more representation than classified staff.  

Professor Thorson later spoke on her own behalf said, “I have been accused of many improprieties since I was put in as chair of EODAC. They are categorically untrue.” She explained that she was disappointed in the faculty members who were trying to use processes and procedures to stall the EODAC task force’s work. According to the BC website, EODAC’s work “is to actively assist/facilitate Bakersfield College’s cultural and institutional policies and practices that demonstrate a commitment to greater diversity and inclusion for all students, employees, and the community at large.” 

Other comments at the Senate meeting addressed a separate issue with the curriculum committee meeting where a proposed noncredit course certificate program to explore the history of local farmworkers had been discussed. Professor Erin Miller said she was unfairly accused of racism after she tabled the proposed curriculum. (Editor’s note: the proposed noncredit courses and certificate program were ultimately passed through at the Curriculum Committee’s next meeting on Oct. 20. They await final approval from the KCCD board.)