Academic Senate discusses possible return to campus

By Breanna Fierro

Inconsistent communication with academic members in returning this fall semester was the center of discussion at the Academic Senate Meeting.

Frustration was high among members in Tuesday’s March 23 meeting, as they advocate for a clear and efficient message on returning to in-person learning. Lack of communication among members led to questioning on how to conduct future decisions. What can be done in certain departments, how many students per classroom, what classrooms could comeback, what could wait, were among some of the questions asked at the senate meeting. 

Jeffrey Hernandez, President of the Academic Senate, spoke on the progress in returning onto campus when transitioning back to in-person learning. 

The original plan was to work towards returning certain courses in the fall semester to in person instruction. Different departments have been asked for information as to what President Alberto Román had anticipated.

 In some cases suggesting that in-person learning will make a return, Román informed Hernandez that it may be happening. 

Concerns arose between the committee members due to the lack of communication in making important decisions about returning back to in-person learning. 

The lack of invitation to meetings by some representatives called for more directness and guidance instead of confusion.

English Professor Khetam Dahi discussed the uncertainty on whether or not certain members were being left out of any previous meetings.

Dahi said more transparency and guidance from the President is needed to keep students on campus, and when meetings take place that all academic members have the opportunity to voice questions and concerns.

There have been requests from departments to come up with different plans about returning back to campus. “This task is difficult to create without more district or campus guidance on the type of protocols that will be in place”, dance instructor Kristin Reutimann said. “It is difficult to gage what classes might be allowed back on campus when there was not much new information about different safety protocols that might be expanded upon.”

The development of a schedule plan, gathering the specific safety guidelines needed and recommendations when returning to in-person class is still in question.

Hernandez stated that he has spoken to Roman about receiving direction from the district, although everything that has been happening so far has been inconsistent.

Sherry Davey, the Chairs Council said that the students sent a clear and concise message when returning back to school, especially since they rely on the guidance of the members. “The absence of additional information is unacceptable and stressful. The academic senate needs to go to Albert and say, ‘Stop. Get it together, figure it out, and have a concise and clear message to the department chairs about what you want,’ said Davey. 

Further questions arose about the fall semester regarding whether students, faculty and staff will be allowed to return back to campus.

Hernandez voiced confusion that he understood the concern among members, but there has not been any type of meeting within the comeback committee and hopefully more on this discussion will be addressed on Monday.

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