Academic Senate discusses future plans while coming to a stalemate on issues

By Alma Lizarraga

The District Academic Senate on May 13 remained uncertain of some changes on plans for next semester, while discussing future events. 

Many events on the school calendar were pending for spring semester 2021, with the next DAS meeting scheduled for Sep. 9. It is unknown if future DAS meetings will take place online or in person. 

Uncertainty was mostly due to COVID-19 effects, such as drop in enrollment rates by nearly 30% of first-time students and months of estimated loss in learning due to distance learning. Students of color, low-income households and any with learning disabilities are presumed to have lost more learning time. 

A new subject was approved by the senate and is soon to be added to the curriculum, called Game Art and Design. 

The DAS decided to recommend lifting restrictions on certain English and math courses previously limited by Assembly Bill 705 – used to maximize the probability of a student completing transfer-level coursework within a limit of time. This action would help combat the learning loss.

An educational plan for recovery is also at work by the DAS and stakeholders which would presumably work with students in recovering the effects of COVID-19 on their schoolwork. The DAS mentioned this would also include being more original and creative with the curriculum and offering more support services.

Usual updates in policies were discussed as well including student services, administrative procedures and financial aid. Many were left unchanged, but were planned to be more looked over by senate members for review.

Shower facilities for homeless students who are enrolled, have paid enrollment fees and are in good standing are now open after a legislature enacted in 2016 required colleges to make their showers available for homeless students. 

Anti-Asian, Desi-American and Pacific Islander hate was on the agenda with resolutions 

to address attacks currently ongoing against them. Pacific Islanders and Asian Americans make up nearly 9.8% of the LACCD enrollments and there has been massive waves of anti-Asian sentiment in the U.S.. The DAS modeled its resolution after other anti-Asian hate resolutions, using recent data about the issue. 

The senate openly condemned hateful rhetoric and xenophobia and supported and affirmed the resolution of the board of trustees denouncing anti-Asian and Pacific Islander violence.

 The senate also agreed with the resolution of The Academic Senate for California Community Colleges anti-Asian and Pacific Islander racism, and the resolution of ASCCC infusing anti-racism education into their community colleges. 

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