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Academic Senate Newsletter

Thursday May 21, 2009

Budget Advocacy - We Need You in Sacramento

You are all undoubtedly aware of the contents of the Governor’s May Revise proposal. In addition to an $85 million cut across-the-board in categorical programs for the current year (which has fewer than 40 days remaining), he is proposing an on-going $344.3 million cut in categorical programs beginning in 2009-2010. This is on top of almost $160 million in property tax shortfall revenue (which will not be backfilled) and other cuts, essentially taking the system back to 1982 funding levels (when adjusted for inflation). The Chancellor’s Office staff and system advocates are looking into how to take advantage of federal stimulus funds, but these are one-time moneys that do not address the on-going impact of these cuts. To make matters worse, the Legislative Analyst’s Office now predicts that the budget shortfall will be even worse than the $21 billion estimate used by the Governor - more in the $24 billion range. Declines in tax revenues are also projected which could result in a reduction in Prop 98 funding, a possible additional $150 million hit to our system.

In short, the state is in such a dire state that we are going to experience a cut of significant magnitude no matter what. However, how that cut is going to manifest is very important, and it is here that you can make a difference. The Legislature is planning a Conference Committee on the State Budget hearing in the next week or two. Atypical for this type of event, the initial hearing will focus on public testimony rather than discussion among the legislators. As I write this, the exact date and time are uncertain, but I will communicate with you as soon as I hear anything definitive. The California Community College System needs to capitalize on this opportunity to voice its concerns over the Governor's proposed budget changes, particularly his focus on categoricals and the disproportionate hit on the community colleges. Note that it is unlikely that many of us will get to speak since the hearing is focusing on all of public education - so there will be attendees and speakers from all segments. However, a strong showing before these legislators will send a powerful message, and all constituency groups are preparing to try and rally attendees at short notice.

With that said, if you live within driving distance to Sacramento or happen to be in the area for some other activity and it is convenient to be present, I would like to encourage you to join me and incoming president Jane Patton to be part of the show of concern. While opportunities to actually speak may be limited, you will be able to submit written testimony, so you may wish to prepare a statement in writing to bring with you if you have specific concerns to voice.

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Consultation Discussion of Accreditation

At the May 21, 2009, Consultation Council meeting, the group spent an hour hearing each constituency’s top five concerns about the current accreditation process and suggestions for how to constructively move forward. Each group echoed many of the concerns expressed by the others, and the most often repeated focused on providing better training for both colleges and visiting teams, improving communications both in quality and consistency, and changing the commission’s approach from punitive to supportive. The next step is to gather specific examples to document these problems that Chancellor Scott (and possibly a small delegation) can bring to a meeting with ACCJC President Barbara Beno in an effort to move the Commission in a more collaborative and supportive direction.

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Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Plan Update

With guidance from the Academic Senate’s Equity and Diversity Action Committee Chair, Beth Smith, I have communicated with Chancellor Scott on issues raised about EEO plans in Academic Senate resolutions. This includes asking the Chancellor’s Office to encourage colleges to move forward with their EEO Plans in spite of the on-going problems with availability data. Separately, the Chancellor’s Office EEO Advisory Committee is making progress in revising Title 5 regulations regarding EEO Plans to allow them to move forward. Title 5 changes in the works cover many hiring issues that have been discussed extensively by the Academic Senate. These include adverse impact, in-house and promotional hiring, the removal of references to availability data and projected representation and the unknown-at-this-time replacement for availability data, complaint procedures, and aspects of the screening and selection process. Title 5 changes should go forward for approval in September. We encourage colleges to plan to move forward with their EEO Plans in the fall as well. For more information on the topic, I refer you to the article The Sun Rises on Equity and Diversity Issues: Looking Ahead to 2009-2010 in the April 2009 Rostrum.

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New Executive Committee Members

If you were not at Spring Plenary Session, you missed an exciting election. We welcome the new members of the Executive Committee, and we thank departing Executive Committee members Shaaron Vogel (Area A), Barbara Illowsky (Area B), and Cathy Cox (At-Large) for their service.

2009-2010 Executive Committee

President: Jane Patton, Mission College
Vice-President: Michelle Pilati, Rio Hondo College
Secretary: Wheeler North, San Diego Miramar College
Treasurer: Beth Smith, Grossmont College
Area A: Janet Fulks, Bakersfield College
Area B: Jon Drinnon, Merritt College
Area C: Lesley Kawaguchi, Santa Monica College
Area D: Richard Mahon, Riverside City College
North: Dianna Chiabotti, Napa Valley College
North: Dan Crump, American River College
South: Stephanie Dumont, Golden West College
South: Richard Tahvildaran-Jesswein, Santa Monica College
At-Large: Phillip Maynard, Mt. San Antonio College
At-Large: David Morse, Long Beach City College

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Board of Governors Faculty Appointees

We are very pleased to have Barbara Davis-Lyman continue her service as one of the faculty appointments on the Board of Governors. She will be joined by new appointee Manual Baca, Rio Hondo College. Many thanks to Carolyn Russell, also of Rio Hondo College, who is stepping down from her role on the Board of Governors after many years of advocacy and strong service.

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In Closing

This is my last update to you as president, but I look forward to working with you and seeing you at Senate activities as part of my new roles under President Jane Patton. Thank you for your support over these last two years and for your work in support of our students, our communities, and our state. Even though rough months lie ahead, know that the Academic Senate will be working through the summer to support you.

Mark Wade Lieu

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