Students have the right to go to open campus meetings

Joceylnn Landon, Reporter

There are various matters that happen at the Bakersfield College campus throughout the year, and students and faculty can go to the board meetings and bring up things that they are concerned about or would like to see implemented on the campus. 

On Oct.11 there was an EODAC (equal opportunity and diversity advisory committee) meeting hosted on the Bakersfield College main campus. Even though these meetings are public and are open to students, a staff member overheard a member of the faculty state “what the f* are they doing here?” as the students walked into the meeting.  This is why students should attend more board meetings and start speaking up. 

Later that week, on Oct. 13, there was a Kern Community College District meeting at the Weill Institute located in Downtown Bakersfield. KCCD has frequent district board meetings to talk about things going on at Bakersfield College, Cerro Coso, and Porterville community colleges.  Board meetings are important because they are voting on matters that deal with the budgets of the schools, school programming, and other subject matters that concern the student body. 

Angela Williams, a Bakersfield College early college advisor, spoke up regarding how she felt at the EODAC meeting. “I was basically traumatized,” stated Williams as she explained to the board how she felt disrespected at how chemistry professor Ximena Da Silva Tavares said that classified staff should not have as much say when it comes to deciding certain campus matters, because of the possibility that they can be influenced to vote certain ways.

So why does all of this matter? Because these meetings are deciding on campus matters that affect the students. Some staff members who are trying to help make changes around the Bakersfield College Campus are being told that their voice and vote doesn’t matter, or should not matter as much. Some of these staff members have been advocating and helping students for over 20 years. 

The EODAC meeting has had serious structure issues that staff members are starting to complain about.  With the toxic dynamic that the meeting has, it makes the committee not able to vote on some issues as well, making it harder for things to get done, passed, or even discussed. 

 These meetings should also be recorded so that committee members can be held accountable for their actions and so others can be informed on what is being said and what is going on around campus. I encourage students and staff to continue to speak up regarding matters going on at Bakersfield College and bring them to the respective committee meetings. It is their job to listen and advocate for Bakersfield College as a whole, and no one should be  silenced by those who tell you that your voice doesn’t matter.