Confidence lost in State Chancellor Oakley

By Noe Ortega

The Academic Senate joined other colleges in California with a vote of no confidence in State Chancellor Eloy Oakley yesterday.

ELAC’s no-confidence vote echoed the votes of other college academic senates notifying the Chancellor of their disapproval of him.

The vote came in response to the Chancellor’s lack of consultation with the Academic Senate of California Community Colleges about recent state initiatives like AB 705 (a bill that requires students to complete Math and English courses within one year) and his decision to launch a state wide online-only community college that will compete with online courses offered at ELAC.

“I don’t think the chancellor has left us any choice but to follow through with the other colleges that have done this first and vote no confidence in the chancellor’s leadership,” Steve Wardinski, Chair of the Curriculum Committee, said.

The Governor’s proposal for the 115th Fully Online Community College states that the online college is not to compete for students and that it will not impact traditional community college enrollment.

But faculty weren’t on board with giving students the liberty to learn from a computer rather than physically coming to class and being instructed by a professor.

“(The online college is) one more way to make us all more and more isolated from each other. We sit in our cars, we don’t communicate, the kids are playing on an xbox all day and we’re not interacting with each other,” Adjunct Faculty Representative Linda Doran said.

Other Academic Senate members in the ASCCC expressed their opposition to the chancellor. Santa Barbara City College‘s Academic Senate opposed the 115th Online College and the medical coding program because it interferes with their current programs.

The Academic Senates of Allan Hancock College and San Diego Mesa College were two campuses that approved a vote of no confidence. They sent their resolutions to the California Community College Board of Governors, Los Angeles Community College District Board of Trustees and to the Chancellor’s office.

“I’m glad that colleges are backing up others that are starting to make this motion. I think it’s beyond time for the colleges to work together to stand up to the powers that are in the state to have a voice in this,” Secretary Julie Bernard said.

“We are so frequently struggling and scrambling to try to implement the changes that are being made from the top. This is a crucial time for us to band together and make sure that we’re being listened to,” Bernard said.

An article from EdSource  stated that unlike traditional community colleges where students interact with professors who are preparing them for associate or bachelor’s degrees, the online college would be a short-term training with industry standards.

The proposal made by Governor Jerry Brown has until June 15 to be approved.

“It’s up to us as individual campuses to have our voices be heard in a louder and more effective way than just relying on the state senate leaders to do it for us when they’ve proven to be not capable of doing so,” Wardinski said.

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