DACA removal looms over trustees meeting

By Noe Ortega & Giselle Palomera

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals was a major discussion point at the board of trustees meeting on Wednesday.

Los Angeles Community College District President Sydney Kamlager and East Los Angeles College President Marvin Martinez spoke about President Donald Trump’s decision to eliminate DACA.

“That decision is cruel, uncomfortable and contradicts the American dream. Today I want to remind us all the importance of leadership, now more than ever,” said Kamalager.

Martinez assured that all DACA students are welcome on campus.

“I would like to acknowledge all our DACA students who are here, and we want to let you know that we stand with you. Rest assure we are here to comfort you in this time, and we want to make sure that you will earn your degree,” said Martinez.

President of the Associated Student Union Oscar Cruz spoke out about the student fees policy and how the prices per semester affect students, especially international students.

“International students pay $2,886 per semester. That’s almost twice my rent. That’s unbearable, and if you are trying to increase your enrollment entries, I suggest you reconsider this,” said Cruz.

Cruz also talked about the food vendors’ rise of prices this semester compared to last semester’s, saying that the prices don’t benefit the district or the students enrolled. 

Cruz thanked LACCD Chancellor Francisco Rodriguez for sending an email to all students in the district last Tuesday to show his support for DACA students.

Rodriguez wanted to emphasize that all DACA students should continue to go to school, work and to not do anything to jeopardize their status.

Martinez announced a partnership between ELAC, the Vincent Price Museum and the Smithsonian Office of Fellowships and Internships.

Faculty at ELAC and the VPAM negotiated and conversed with representatives from the Smithsonian that they would accept ELAC students as interns.

“This is an opportunity for ELAC students to go out to Washington D.C. and to intern in the incredible museums we have in the National Mall in Washington D.C.,” said Martinez.

Hope Flores, Melissa Marinero, Gabriela Padilla and Vanessa Quintero will go to Washington D.C. in January.

There were 26 requests to speak to the board. Each speaker was given two minutes to address the board.

Multiple staff members of the LACCD spoke to the board about the Health Reimbursement Arrangement and to continue its support.

Bridgette Thompson, Child & Family Studies department professor, spoke out about her support for the HRA.

“I depend on the HRA to pay for my costs. I take 11 medications and I need to depend that the HRA will cover those costs,” said Thompson.

An adjunct professor of the Los Angeles College Faculty Guild, who did not provide his name, went up to the board to express his concerns with the reserve amount for LACCD.

“LACCD has twice the recommended amount of money on reserve. This is why I believe it is absolutely possible to get the health coverage we need through a contract,” he said. 

Student Ernesto Yanes Arnold said he was struggling to find a place to live at one point.

“As the Largest community college district, the board should offer more tangible solutions to change how we are being treated. I hope that this change happens. We are the future. We need better connections to resources. Resources that everyone should have available,” Arnold said.

An earlier version of this story incorrectly listed Daniela Camilla as one of the ELAC interns set to go to Washington D.C. in January. The actual person is Gabriela Padilla. 

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