Newly proposed rule threatens student civil rights

CN/ Steven Adamo

By Melisa Valenzuela (J-101 Staff Writer)

The East Los Angeles College Academic Senate meeting was held yesterday to discuss two recent changes happening both on campus and at the state level.

One important issue discussed was the need to address the culture and climate of sexual harassment on campus.

As part of Title IX, the education secretary recently proposed a new rule that would significantly reduce the obligations of colleges to investigate complaints of sexual misconduct.

Title IX of the Education Amendments is the federal civil rights law that prohibits discrimination based on sex and also includes sexual harassment, rape and sexual assault.

The Academic Senate agreed that the proposed rule puts student’s civil rights in jeopardy and must be stopped.

They have decided to start a campaign against its passage and plan to write multiple letters to the state senate.

Another significant issue discussed was the importance of having legislative liaisons.

Last year, assembly bill 705 was passed which requires colleges to take into consideration high school transcripts and records, and also requires students to finish transferable courses within a year.

It does not accommodate part-time students who are employed, which is a majority of community college students.

As a result of its passage, enrollment at Mount San Antonio College has dropped significantly.

Jeffrey Hernandez, president of the Academic Senate, said state legislatures have become more involved with educational issues in recent years.

He said this poses a problem because even though the state legislatures may have good intentions, they are not on campus often to know what is really going on and therefore might not make the best decisions. The academic senate has agreed that representatives from the school, or legislative liaisons, are critical in strengthening communication between schools and local senates.

These liaisons would attend local senate meetings and report about legislation and legislative issues, facilitate or act as a source for legislation and collaborate with local senate officers to create the most effective communication with faculty on campus.

“It is important for us to take responsibility,” said Hernandez. “Our community college system in California is one of the best in the world and to keep it that way we need to build allies with the legislature.”

The next meeting will be on    Dec. 11 at 12:10 p.m. in G1-301. Visitors are welcome and encouraged to attend.

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