By Stephanie Garibay
Although it was interrupted by protesters, East Los Angeles College’s Cinco de Mayo celebration officially unveiled two new buildings, the renaming of one of the buildings and the new Campus Quad.
“It’s always exciting to be back at East Los Angeles College, you never know what’s going to happen,” Ernest H. Moreno, member of the Board of Trustees of the Los Angeles Community College District, said, referring to the protestors.
Moreno, who was the former ELAC president, will now have the former Language Arts and Humanities, E3 Building named after him.
Moreno was president of ELAC on January 1, 1994. He served as the president until his retirement in 2011.
Shortly after, Moreno was elected to the Board of Trustees of the LACCD on March 5, 2013, after 42 years as a district employee.
“I feel so honored, they named the biggest building in the district after me. This poor kid from San Gabriel is now having a building named after him” Moreno said.
The construction of the buildings, which Moreno helped design, was a 10-year process.
“If me and you plan a building today, it doesn’t get built tomorrow. So student government and all the students who participated in planning all of this, envisioned this 10 years ago and they had a vision of what they wanted to have in the building,” Marvin Martinez, ELAC president, said.
“Many of the students who helped plan this came back today. It was a very special moment for them.”
Apart from unveiling the biggest and only five-story community college building in the state, the celebration also revealed the new Campus Student Center, which houses the Associated Student Union offices, the new cafeteria, the Student Health Center, the offices for the faculty senate and the Transfer Center.
“Prior to this facility, all of these offices were spread out across the campus, so students had to walk to every corner of the campus in order to get these services.”
“We are also unveiling the new campus quad. So when you combine the quad and the E3 building and everything else, now you have a campus life,” Martinez said.
“Every campus must have that because that’s where students come together, that’s where they socialize, that’s where they connect. We’re really excited to have that because students from this community deserve it.”
ELAC is still in the process of demolishing all the old buildings to make room for the new ones.
“The plan is to get rid of all the bungalows. We can’t do that yet because we need a place to put all the classes in,” Martinez said.
Although the event was only supposed to be celebrating the new buildings, it took a political turn after protesters interrupted the event, blocking the stage and carrying banners that read, “Undocumented, unafraid and unapologetic.”
“I don’t have a lot of concern with students protesting because I used to protest when I was a student, but I do have a problem when they come and disrupt, but this is America, you have the right to do whatever you want to do,” Martinez said.
Although the protest bothered some people, it did not bother Moreno.
“I can assure you I’ve sat in my office many times through many protests for various reasons. It used to be protests about clean bathrooms and that includes the faculty protests too,” Moreno said.