By Rodolfo Trujillo
ELAC needs to stop carrying the rest of the Los Angeles Community College District on its backs.
With the school operating on limited money and the District having all but invited the entire Los Angeles community college population to ELAC to obtain the education that they cannot get on their own campuses, local students are not sure anymore if they are going to be able to graduate before their mid-twenties.
People come in with lots of motivation to graduate or transfer and begin careers.
Some come here after years of struggle, not sure if they even have what it takes.
That’s the job of the community college: to take those who would otherwise not go to college and provide them with the means to do so.
Due to a community college’s mission of serving the whole community, there is no cap on enrollment.
The end result is what was seen in the last few weeks at ELAC, and is reminiscent of movies about the Great Depression of the early twentieth century, with people running, sometimes arguing for a spot in a class, except that the prized possession is not a loaf of bread or a chance at a day’s labor…or is it?
The prized possession here is an education, something that has the promise of ending cycles of poverty and ignorance, of fulfilling dreams of being somebody.
Instructors have to hold lotteries, sometimes delaying adding students for at least a week in order to settle their class size and weed out those students who will become frustrated and just quit altogether.
Students have to stress out about not being able to get a class that may be holding them back from graduating, and it adds further frustration to an already stressful situation of finding a parking space, navigating through a whirlwind of construction, finding a class, spending, borrowing or hustling money to pay for books before they even have to think of the academic rigor that it takes to successfully pass a class at the college level.
Sounds like a long and tiring sentence?
It exemplifies a student’s daily experience in trying to achieve an education at this campus, and ELAC is a good one.
It operated well within its budget for some time and has a good chunk of change stored up in the LACCD’s vault.
In these dire times, when we struggle to offer classes to all of the students that are enrolling at ELAC, it would be wise to release some of those funds in order to meet the mission of the college and educate students, especially considering that students from many other campuses are beginning to come to ELAC because their schools are falling apart.
The students demand an explanation from the Board of Trustees and Chancellor Daniel La Vista. Without one, ELAC might as well venture off on its own and take its money with it.