Trustees Work Toward Increasing Enrollment, Efficiency

El Vaquero Staff Writer

Would-be students are turning away from GCC because they feel it is too pricey, Vice President Steve White told the Board of Trustees Monday.
“I’m convinced there are still a whole lot of students out there that shy away because of the sticker shock (the per-unit cost) and don’t have enough information about financial aid,” said White. “They will be back if the legislature will leave us alone for a couple of years on the tuition issue; I think they’ll come back quicker then.”

Besides White’s address, the board approved construction of a new addition to the Los Robles building that would create four new faculty offices and a pantry/storage area.

In an effort to streamline elections for the workings of both GCC and the city of Glendale, Resolution No. 14 was adopted in a unanimous vote. The initiative would combine the general community election and the election for the college’s Board of Trustees into a single day — April 5, 2005.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s proposal of consolidating the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office into a single office representing community colleges, the University of California and the Cal State University, was also opposed unanimously. The resolution called for board members to dismiss the idea because “it eliminates the voice of each of the segments of higher education … and severely impacts the role of the boards of trustees of the 72 community college districts,” said GCC President John Davitt. (Dr. Davitt is also superintendent of district.)

Associated Students President Armen Kiramijyan reiterated one of the primary goals of student government this semester: to bring more culturally diverse events to the campus. Kiramijyan also mentioned that he will be working closely with the Secretary of State’s office on a campaign to register students to vote.

There was a special presentation by Michelle Cuevas, associate director of the “Campaign for College Opportunity,” a non-profit organization devoted to the success of the “California Master Plan for Higher Education” established in 1960. In short, the plan promises a college education, at the community college level or at a university, to all Californians who qualify.

Cuevas alluded to the projected 1.3 million college-age residents who may be turned away in the next 10 years due to limited space at community colleges as a result of “a lack of resources and lack of funding for higher education in the state of California.” The solution, said Cuevas, involves raising public awareness, more financial contributions from the well-to-do parents of college students and bringing people together for the purpose of developing a plausible way out of this quandary.

“You can help us,” she told the Board of Trustees, “by contacting your local media and helping us raise public awareness … we need your ideas on potential solutions … and possibly by making a donation to the campaign.”

Board member Ara Najarian said: “We have competing interests at the time. We’re fighting for those dollars out of the education budget. Obviously you know we do the best job we can in educating students so if you’re trying to get more students into higher education then those dollars would be better spent on the community colleges.”
White expressed concern in regard to the feasibility of these goals. “I think you’re preaching to choir here …there are very powerful forces in this state that oppose our efforts for everything and if they can’t be beat back, this will just be more money down the drain,” he said. “I’d like to see some of these business interests (who help fund the non-profit organization) stand up and say, ‘taxes in California are too low.'”