California’s governor recall election, scheduled for Oct. 7, but challenged in court, will not only be a contest for governor, but also may severely limit the data the college can collect on students.
If passed, “The Racial Privacy Initiative” would prohibit any state and local government from using race, ethnicity, color or national origin to classify students for most purposes. This includes GCC.
Rachel Roos, a GCC student, is in favor of the measure, “Proposition 54 will allow for students to maintain their privacy about personal information like race.”
However, the proposition’s long-term effects do not end there. It could prevent schools from creating and encouraging diversity and it would also prohibit calculating statistics of how culturally diverse a campus is.
On the home front, that would make it impossible for GCC to evaluate certain programs and services effectively, including ones that are funded and supported by the Title V grants and the Alliance for Minority Participation.
Title V is a grant from the U.S. Department of Education that is given to colleges with over 25 percent Hispanic enrollment in an effort to develop educational institutions. It serves the 95 percent of the students on campus who are not only Hispanic, but come from a low income household, are first generation college students or immigrants, have a disability, or have skills in Math and/or English below the college level.
“It does a lot for the entire campus,” explains Edward Karpp, from the Department of Institutional Research.
Should the proposition pass, GCC would have to discontinue its application for federal Title V grants. Furthermore, any grants from non-federal sources that concentrate on representing those students that are conventionally underrepresented would be inaccessible to GCC.
GCC receives grants, in addition to Title V based, that relies on minority enrollment. Therefore, if the school is unable to determine minority enrollment, it cannot receive the grants.
Should the proposition pass, GCC would be prohibited from making sure its assessment tests or prerequisites complied with state laws against any bias over a student’s race.
Proposition 54 would also prevent the campus from knowing if there is a certain amount of students enrolled who are in need of ESL courses.
Many students are divided over the proposition, which if passed, would greatly affect students all across the state. Some are hesitant to form a concrete opinion on the proposition, given its delicacy.
“I kind of like the proposition in the sense that it could be trying to progress to basing certain privileges on economic status rather than race or ethnicity,” explains one such student, David Abrahamian, “but it also seems to limit some quality programs and for that reason I am reluctant to support it,” he adds.
The Academic Senate, representing GCC’s faculty group, is in opposition of the Proposition.
The Senate, which is composed of faculty members from each division on campus, voted in opposition of the proposition stating that it “would preclude objective measurements of evidence to show that the college is serving its diverse community equitably and effectively”.
As the senate deals with issues concerning classes, curriculum and other academic matters, this decision to lobby their stance was a top priority.
The motion was forwarded to State Sen. Jack Scott, D-Glendale; State Assemblymembers Carol Liu, D-La Ca§ada Flintridge; and Dario Frommer, D-Glendale, and GCC’s Board of Trustees.
Though passing this motion and forwarding it to these officials will not directly change any plans to pass the proposition on a state level, informing state representatives of GCC’s stance is chiefly a symbolic move to make known the college’s stance.