College Board Tackles Big Issues

Troy Cornell

A candidate’s forum for the upcoming Glendale Community College school board elections was held Tuesday.

The forum included former board presidents Anita Gabrielian and Dr. Armine Hacopian, as well as Ann Ransford. Vrej Agajanian was not present.

In a round-robin style question and answer format, the candidates fielded questions ranging from the state budget crisis to how they would utilize their board positions to strengthen GCC and its constituent ties.

Ransford, who has been part of the college for 36 years, was given the first question of how she would help contribute to a system of checks and balances as a member of the school board.

“The role of the community college governing board is to develop policies, to establish a general direction of the college’s programs and services,” Ransford said.

Gabrielian followed by saying that it is the board’s responsibility to “set the policy, set the direction and have a fiscally responsible top-quality institution…. We need to make sure the buck stops with the president.”

“The board has additional responsibilities and that is to listen to the external and internal constituencies,” said Hacopian. “It is our responsibility to keep the doors of communication open.”

“We have some relationship-mending to do,” said Gabrielian. “Because we are in an economic downturn, we have increased in enrollment and less faculty. We need to make sure we’re not cutting back on support services that are allowing our students to succeed.”

The next question posed to the candidates was about the school governance and how they should inform the college about budgetary issues.

Ransford responded by saying, “It is the board’s job to make some broad decisions about budget. It is up to all of the college and all of the constituents to develop the budget with some of those parameters in mind, so you have everyone as a team developing that budget.”

The candidates all agreed that before all other things, keeping student services and students their number one priority would be essential to the growth of GCC.

“Making sure that we continue to support our students is going to keep us at the top,” said Gabrielian.