On November, 22, 2021, the Pasadena City College Academic Senate, in violation of the Brown Act, voted to dissolve the 70-year-old Graphic Communications Technology Program at Pasadena City College (YouTube, 1:42:12). But that vote was held without notice to students, faculty or the public community at large.
By Kris Pilon
As with nearly all meetings conducted by the college, Academic Senate meetings must follow the Brown Act, a state law that requires prior notice and opportunity for public input. The senate leadership, however, failed to put the program’s dissolution on the agenda.
The PCC administration is already under fire with a second PERB (Public Employment Relations Board) charge from the faculty union for eliminating the winter semester without going through the campus-wide governance process, and this program elimination represents another alarming misstep.
During Monday’s Senate meeting, enrollment data was not presented to faculty senators, nor was any requested, before the elimination vote was undertaken.
Graphics Communications Tech courses are not fine art classes, but rather training in hands-on, practical graphics production: to create books, garments, posters, and nearly every kind of printed product, on glass, plastics, wood, metal, textiles, and paper. This vocational training allowed students to develop skills for small business opportunities and commercial employment in contemporary printing and publishing.
Now, not only won’t the courses be offered anymore, but the equipment has been prematurely liquidated and is no longer available to students for any future use.
Pasadena City College often emphasizes ‘critical thinking’ as a goal, but the closure of this long-standing program shows the college’s inability to comprehend the depth and breadth of its own programs, or to find that information within the body of the faculty consciousness or the college’s own rich history. The Brown Act violations may be a symptom of the rush by the college to strip itself down to generic pathways that eliminate all but the most common courses.
Robust job training program eliminated, disservice to students of color and the working class
The Graphics Tech courses served a large population of under-represented students and first-time college attendees. Students who may not have seen themselves as ‘college material’ found a place in this program to make friends and network, learn skills, build confidence and prowess. This often led them to enroll in other courses at the college, and eventually to graduate. Many of these students came from working-class families rooted in productive activities as found in hands-on and family-owned businesses.
No due process
With just ten minutes left before the end of the nearly two-hour meeting on Monday, Academic Senate President Gena Lopez suggested a vote to eliminate the Graphics program, even though it was not on the agenda. (YouTube Academic Senate Meeting Nov. 23, 2021)
Because the item never appeared on the public agenda, the Senate should re-vote in the form of a cure and correct when the Academic Senate reconvenes early next year. To follow the requirements of the Brown Act, it should be on the agenda 72 hours before the meeting, with the public properly noticed so they can attend and give public comment.
Kris Pilon taught screen printing at Pasadena City College for 33 years (1991-2019), and at Arroyo High School in El Monte for 7 years. She served PCC as an Academic Senate representative and as Vice President of the Senate.
> Present and former students of the Graphic Communications Program, and members of the community who supported this program are invited to send a letter or email to a Board of Trustees member for their district, or to the college President, and to copy Professor Pilon. Concerned individuals are also invited to attend any public meetings at the college where this item is being discussed for Public Comment:
Area 1: Sandra Chen Lau firstname.lastname@example.org Area 2: James A. Osterling email@example.com Area 3: Berlinda Brown, President firstname.lastname@example.org Area 4: Tammy Silver email@example.com Area 5: Linda Wah, Vice President firstname.lastname@example.org Area 6: John Martin email@example.com Area 7: Dr. Anthony R. Fellow firstname.lastname@example.org David Ramirez, Student Trustee ASPCCstudenttrustee@pasadena.edu Erika Endrijonas, Ph.D. Superintendent-President Pasadena City College email@example.com
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